In another wording: Do we have to apply every single rule that the Rat für Rechtschreibung (the de facto German authority on spelling) conceives to all posts, even past ones?

Most importantly, if the Rat für Rechtschreibung changes its mind on, say, quotation marks, do we comply by adjusting all the quotation marks?

Or more drastically, things like PhysikFüsik and friends.

  • I edit your question a bit further to focus it what I understand to be the core question. Please check that everything is still according to your intentions.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Oct 25, 2015 at 6:37
  • 1
    Note that the official spelling rules do not make any statement about the shape and spacing of quotation marks as well as the shape of characters represented by horizontal bars. The spacing of z. B. is only implied from the absense of a rule allowing to remove the space; but there is no rule as to whether it should be a regular or a narrow space (narrow spaces aren’t mentioned in the rules at all).
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Oct 25, 2015 at 6:56
  • but still allows for another shot at the topic – So you are trying to bring up the topic for its own sake? — wasn't it yourself who said that there is nothing such as an authority on German orthography (bureaucracy excluded)? – Well, I said this, but I fail to see why it is particularly relevant to this question.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Oct 25, 2015 at 13:46
  • Maybe you should use "typographic" instead of "spelling" rules. Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 1:26

1 Answer 1


I do not think that there is a point in discussing this situation as long as it is hypothetical, as the answer depends very much on the specific changes we are talking about. For example, we must consider:

  • Can the changes safely be applied automatically?
  • How confusing are the changes to language learners?
  • How many posts are affected by the changes? A handful or thousands?
  • Do the changes meet some acceptance? For example, if the Rat für Rechtschreibung issued changes that even people who are not dogmatic on this case consider insane, we would have to consider that they will never be established.
  • Also of importance, though in a sense covered under the first bullet: Might the changes affect the meaning of some Q/A posts? (e.g.: Posts asking why one word is spelled one way, while a similar word is spelled differently.)
    – Iszi
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 20:05

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