About the Fowlt Reddit bot
The Fowlt Reddit bot is a synthesis of three observations:
- On Reddit, comments correcting common language problems (like then instead of than and your instead of you're) often get a lot of upvotes.
- Spelling checker Fowlt is really good at identifying exactly these language problems automatically.
- Reddit bots can be really useful.
The result is a Reddit bot that automatically corrects Reddit thread titles and comments. A few times a day, it asks for the most popular threads and their comments, gives them to Fowlt, and generates a reply out of Fowlt's results. We also have a Twitter bot that uses a similar approach.
Fowlt is an online, free-to-use context-sensitive English spelling checker. It follows the setup of the Dutch spelling checker Valkuil.net. Both Valkuil and Fowlt are unlike the typical spelling checkers: whereas the latter mostly try to find errors by comparing all words to a built-in dictionary and flag the word as an error if they can't find a match, Fowlt is context sensitive. This means that it also takes into account the context, which is the words around every word. For example, the context for the word "account" in the previous sentence is "also takes into _ the context ,". If, for a particular word, Fowlt expects another word based on the context, and it is quite certain about this, the word is flagged as an error, and Fowlt's alternative is presented as the suggested correction. This means, for example, that Fowlt is able to replace the incorrect "there" in "there really nice people" with "they're" simply because "there" usually is not followed by "really nice people", while "they're" is. To be able to make these kinds of correction suggestions, Fowlt makes use of language models. These models are created by giving lots of texts to machine learning software (TiMBL and WOPR). On the basis of the 'training' texts the model knows "there" mostly is not followed by "really nice people". See this page for more info.
The bot made a mistake!
Yes, that happens. All Fowlt knows is based on the training texts we give it, it doesn't know everything in the world. We tell the bot only to reply when Fowlt it very certain, but things might go wrong. If you feel the bot consistently misses the mark with a particular error, let me know at stoopwessel [at] gmail.com. It might be easy to fix.
I don't want the Fowlt Reddit bot on my subreddit!
The Fowlt Reddit bot can be added to any subreddit for free, by everyone. This might mean we added to a subreddit where it does not belong... sorry if that happened. For now, please send an email to stoopwessel [at] gmail.com, and he will fix it immediately.
Add the Fowlt Reddit bot to your subreddit
We would love to add the bot to more subreddits, so please contact us if you're interested! For now, requests for new subreddits to be added can be sent to stoopwessel [at] gmail.com. Thanks!