Author Options:

Notes on Specific Laws - the First Law Answered

First Law

On the Instructables website, the use of correct spelling and grammar shall be a constant criterion.

Note: Edited Law

There are several reasons for using correct English in all of our work on this site, but the most important ones are:
  • It shows that you have taken time over your project, put some effort in and are proud of it. Like a smooth finish is the sign of a careful craftsman, a well-formed sentence is a sign of an Instructable that is worth trying.
  • Clarity - the use of poor grammar or spelling can completely mangle or disguise the meaning of a piece of work, causing problems and wasting time as readers seek clarification.
  • Inclusiveness - Whilst it may be cool to use the most current street slang or message-board abbreviations, there are those (myself included) who do not move in the internet circles where these terms originate. Excluding part of the membership by making the slang impenetrable also cuts you off from a deep well of information and advice.
  • Time - slang dates, and changes rapidly. For instance, the word "gay" originally meant "carefree", then "happy", then "homosexual". Now, to the pupils at my school, it means "annoying" or "sad". Imagine what your latest slang could mean to future generations of readers.
  • The web is a multi-lingual place. It would be conceited of us to assume that all readers speak English as their first, or even their second languages. There are a growing number of members and casual readers that rely on translation software to read this site. Translation software cannot deal with poor spelling or new abbreviations, and will render our words as gibberish.


I'm not a big stickler on this point. Slang is quite fun. And it is one of the tools I use to get my message across in an otherwise toneless medium.

. From my POV there's a big difference between using slang and poor English (or whatever one's language is). Slang can be an effective technique (as you point out), whereas poor grammar/spelling is confusing, at best.

Oops one moment, I have to see a man about a horse again ;-)

Scrolling through the comments and I come across this. Twice. Do you know how annoying this is? Do you? Really? Well I bet you don't. Just because you do know what it means.

*cocks gun*

Fair well, confusing slang!

And more to the point, I don't think you should be criticizing an older gentleman about problems of urgency.  Someday, when you start having nice medical professionals making you think you've been abducted by aliens, you'll understand how we feel.

 I was criticizing? No, no! I did not mean to come across that way. I was merely expressing my annoyance at not knowing certain terms of the English language.

It's old-people talk.  You're just too young :-)

Evidently so.

Meh, I'ma go Bebo your Yahoo while I Google your MySpace.

I'd have to check, but I think Lira would slap you for that.

Ooh, you guys should have said "rub off" before she slapped you like that.

If you were to slap my hand, that would be a hi-five.

Just thinking about your name, how did that come to be? Just sounds cool? I'd love it if Lithium fell out of the sky like rain, but if you ask me, I'd be inside.

No, no !   Don't shoot yourself !!!  (especially not in the foot  LOL)

 On Youtube there's a video of a police officer, training others about gun safety. He then shot himself in the foot with an "unloaded pistol".

Ah, a literal occurrence of the age old slang phrase....
"it" doesn't follow, or you are having troubles following? ;-)

*reads my previous comment*

Argh god what happened there?

It should have read And still, it is not followed.

I don't think that well is fair at all!  In fact, it seems awfully unfair to me.

>cocks gun<

Farewell, bad grammar!

 One word. One simple word and you pick on me. I call troll!

Hey, you walk under the troll's bridge, and the troll has every right to a little snack :-)

Damn, I was going for the bridge pun!

And who's bridge is this any way?

*I'm not going anywhere; what is this supposed to be, a hint?

Hey, up your pedantry!  Or you'll be hoist by your pedant :-)

Last word in the third paragraph, Inclusiveness. Advice or advise? In this context isn't it advice? :D

Gosh, you're right!  Two years this has been posted, and nobody noticed!

lol u tk him 2da bar|?

I have to wonder... is there anyone in the world who actually talks like that (normally)?

Should this law be modified to allow the use of other languages? Officially, Instructables is not English-exclusive ( ref.).

Would replacing the word "English" with the phrase "spelling and grammar" be an acceptable change?

. Personally, I think it's required. I have no problem imagining Ibles being multi-lingual in a few years.

I think that would be great if they were either seperated into different categories in the website or made into a copy, translated to English.

That would work. I can't tell you what to do, they're your laws. I'm simply suggesting a modification.

For a minute, I thought you all were going to get into the 3 laws of robotics LOL

There's a Kiteman's Law now?
Whatever happen to the freedom to exercise bad english guaranteed by the constitution of the interweb..? =)

can i just ask you something? everywhere ive seen you make a comment, you always put a period at the beggining. why is that?

Good luck in trying to find out. Many have asked and failed before you. It's either an ancient curse or secret, Nacho may have been involved in inventing the internet and may be the only one who knows its origins. Or he has a bad keyboard with the . key stuck on it.

Actually, he has explained it so many times, I think he has it recorded somewhere, and at the press of a button......whoosh, out comes the appropriate post LOL

Linky? I too seek this unobtainable knowledge of the ancients...

Awwww, man, this is like opening Al Capone's vault.