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Today is Friday, May 29, 2020

The Last Word - A spelling crisis?

Some responses to the spelling and grammar faux pas from our readers on Facebook

I may be a little late to the party, but I want to give my opinion on some things that have been going on in town over the past year. One of the biggest topics in town is the splash pad, and where it should go. My question is: why does it matter? To be honest, if I was Brett Todd I would have just cancelled the project. The entire town was given a chance to state their opinion, and then people did what people do; they argued. And argue Prescott did. It just kept going, people saying it should be here or there. Again, I ask: why does it matter? Prescott is not a big town, so no matter where the splash pad goes, everyone will be able to access it.

The thing I don't understand is why people are so quick to get so nasty about a splash pad. With everything else going on in the world, their biggest concern is where a splash pad is going to be. Writing this gave me an idea, so I decided to conduct a little experiment on our Facebook page. I posted a poll about the garbage in the Philippines- but I purposely spelled a few words wrong and used no punctuation. I wanted to see how many people would ignore the garbage question and instead attack me for spelling, as they have on other posts. In just over an hour, we had comments and messages telling us that it was spelled so badly and things like that. People went to such an extreme that they felt they HAD to message Joe (our editor) personally to have it removed. After another 15 minutes, we had 14 votes and six comments; every single comment was about spelling and none of them voted on the post. By this point, the post was deleted and re-uploaded. I already had more than enough evidence to prove my point, but I wanted to wait and collect more data.

I would like to state that I would follow up every comment with 'check out the Last Word this week for a follow up to this post.' As you can see in the photo, I made sure people could still read and understand what I was saying but still the angry comments kept coming. A couple people even stated that we should not call ourselves journalists and that five-year-olds can spell better than us. One person even was so outraged that they kept coming back to the post to comment over and over.

I decided at this point to look into our page stats and found that this post was becoming one of our most engaged posts of all time, and it was all just people commenting on spelling and very few actually voting on a topic of importance. It got to the point that we had people unfollow our page in anger. After a few hours people caught on to what I was doing and the comments stopped.

Now, the reason for all of this is to prove that people are way too focused on the little things that don't matter, compared to something that actually has a real world impact. I think the outcome of this proves that if you give people the chance to argue or disagree; they will take it. So I will leave you with this: why would you go out of your way to purposely belittle and argue over the littlest minuscule issues, such as spelling? I would like to thank the people who commented for helping me prove my point. In my opinion, people need to stop caring about things that don't matter and put the same effort into something that can change the world.

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