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Automatic Spelling Corrections On Github 105

Posted by timothy
from the wye-wood-enny-wan-wan-thatte? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Github projects may be seeing a different kind of contributor than normal: a small bot is now crawling through projects, contributing spelling corrections. It builds on top of the github API and existing documentation style-checking code. Future directions for the project look beyond spelling mistakes and at automated bug fixing on a large scale."
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Automatic Spelling Corrections On Github

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  • by icebraining (1313345) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @08:04PM (#37237474) Homepage

    It's not like it can autocommit - the original project owner has to accept the patch.

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @08:10PM (#37237500) Homepage
    Wikipedia has similar bots and has been using them for a long time. For example there's Bibcode Bot http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Bibcode_Bot [wikipedia.org] which cleans up citations. That bot is smart enough that it can even extract bibliographic information from a linked website and put it into the citation. The bots used do occasionally go awry but by and large end up saving a lot of time. Of course, Wikipedia has the advantage that one isn't modifying code so if a bot screws up a page will just look a little wonky. They'll need to be careful with this. But it looks like for now it is restricted to readme files and requires approval of the changes by the user, which should help prevent things from going too drastically wrong.
  • by cratermoon (765155) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @08:20PM (#37237552) Homepage

    Don't confuse what a spell checker does when auto-correcting with what something like T9 or smart phone predictive text does. The latter is the cause of the cell phone headaches.

    While a spellchecker will check a string of characters against a dictionary and attempt to correct misspellings (like "misspell" with only 1 s or 1 l), predictive text auto-correct is both more clever and more stupid.

    Predictive text makes certain assumptions about the keyboard arrangement and tries to fit typos to possible words that could have been intended had the user not been smashing 3 tiny buttons at once on a cell phone or screen keyboard. While a spellchecker would recognize "danm" as a typo for "damn" with just transposed letters, it would never try to correct it to "calm" on the basis that the letter c is close to the letter d and n and m are nearby or some nonsense as that.

    A plain old spellchecker, like the one under discussion here, makes no attempt to guess what word was meant and assume a typo is a result of accidentally pressing keys near the intended ones. It just looks at what words could have been intended based on close matches with the dictionary.

    By the way, auto-correct will frequently fail to guess a replacement when the misspelling involves letters that are not nearby on the keyboard.

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