In the past I have written to RGM complaining about people who complain about typos, misspelling, poor grammar, etc. After all, not every contributor to RGM is a native speaker of English. However, I let ATN have his fun, as I did not see the need to yell at him for noticing this particular boo-boo (colloquial English for a mistake). In fact I have been having doubts about whether I should be defending the poor spellers and writers of the world.
As an ESL teacher, I have searched the Internet for interesting supplementary material for my students. The poor quality of the British ESL textbooks is a primary reason for this, but that is an article for another journal. Since the Internet connection at CVUT is very slow, I often do not find any suitable material until right before class. Thus, I can only print the page from Netscape or Opera (the only browsers I will currently use) and make photocopies1. Unfortunately, the grammar and spelling in the WebPages are often not very good. I have come to notice that English is being butchered on the Internet.
I myself am guilty of this crime (maybe even in this article). I used to believe (like many people) that the primary goal of the Internet was to quickly provide information around the world. Therefore, I quickly wrote the WebPages and published them on my server without much thought. It was the ideas that mattered not the grammar and spelling.
However, since I am using WebPages as teaching material, other teachers around the world are probably doing the same thing. Therefore, WWW authors should take more care in their writing. Bah! Many of you are saying. My WWW pages are just for fun. Who cares about grammar and spelling when it´s not a serious topic. Well, teachers like me do care about it. Who knows, your "only for fun" article about your favorite rock group could be in a classroom full of eager (well, perhaps mildly indifferent) students right now.
Although I still think that people subscribed to a Usenet newsgroup should not be overly critical of grammar and spelling mistakes, which occur there, WebPages should be written with the knowledge that the WWW is no longer an informal medium for publication. I am not saying that people should write their WWW pages like they would a research paper, but they should at least run them through a spellchecker and look for grammar problems. This will save time for the teachers who wish to use WebPages as extra reading material, and this will give the world an example of good [INSERT YOUR NATIVE LANGUAGE]. Now that I have written this article; however, I will have to go back through all my WebPages and fix the tyops, mispelled words, and grammer mistakes. What fun. :-(
1 Usually, I prefer to load WebPages into a Word Processor and edit them before giving the pages to my students.