While writing StresStimulus documentation, I ran into situations where more than one correct spelling of a term exists. Being not a native English speaker, I am especially careful with my spelling choices. Not only do they affect aesthetic feelings of readers, but they also can be an obstacle to quickly search the content. Not all search engines can find spelling variations, so if not the most common spelling is used, finding information can be more of a hassle.
Recently MS Word spellchecker demanded to change a term “queueing requests” in one of the StresStimulus help boxes to “queuing requests”. Google however was fine with both spellings. In further research I found that both forms are OK. "Queuing" is the American spelling, while "queueing" is the Canadian one. It's interesting that the latter form is the ONLY word in the English language that features five vowels in a row. You never know when you come across a record-breaker. Anyway, I checked the number of StresStimulus downloads from Canada and the US and quickly removed letter “e” from the queueing .
This dilemma was a piece of cake compared to a quadrilemma ("quadrilemma" will not be in the StresStimulus documentation :D) that I ran into recently. When we developed parameterization I discovered that this word has four legitimate spellings: parametrization, parameterization; parameterisation and parametrisation, where the two latter forms are British spellings.
To pick the best form I first used the same criteria by comparing the number of StresStimulus users from the US and UK. This allowed me to narrowed down the choices to two Americans spellings. The next step was to determine which of two is more common, but I could not find a definite answer to this question. I googled each of these words and compared the number of occurrences in the search results. It turned out that "parameterization" was used 2x as often than "parametrization" , so I picked the first one.
There was a small issue with my choice. This feature was originally suggested by Joe Fawcett who is in London. I felt that I needed to do something nice for him, so I cheated a bit. When I dropped him a note informing that the feature is ready, I used "parameterisation" in the message while calling it “parameterization” everywhere else.
I would like to hear if a spelling variation was ever an obstacle for you to quickly find information.