I was lucky enough to receive a high quality education until I was eighteen years old, after which, due largely to not ever properly engaging in my excellent education, I did not attend university. Nevertheless, my secondary education definitely equipped me to be able to pass for someone with an adequate number of functioning neurons, if not exactly being in the Stephen Hawking category. I've managed, so far, to be able to make myself understood both verbally and in the written word - even if what I have to say is not always what people wish to hear or read.
One slight pitfall of having been lucky enough to be well-educated, is that it tends to throw into sharp contrast how little some people (in particular native English-speakers) seem to have picked up during their own education. usually, it's quite straightforward, for example, to detect whether the mistakes that a writer is making are simple typographical errors, are the product of not having English as their first language, perhaps struggle with dyslexia, or are merely ignorant of correct spelling and basic punctuation or grammar.
I don't pretend to be a linguist or a master of grammar - and I'm sure I've already a few errors here which will have attracted the attention of such people - but there are some very common and simple screw-ups which set my teeth on edge. I'm thinking of the classic mix-ups involving 'too/to', 'your/you're', there/their/they're', 'were/we're/where' and so on. Some of these - especially coming from the keyboard of native English-speakers, can be infuriating, accompanied as they so often are by opinions about foreigners or immigrants which can generate a maelstrom of unconscious irony. It's so prevalent, there are websites and social media pages devoted to exposing racists who cannot successfully communicate using their own first language.
I freely admit to huffing and puffing at such things - sometimes the apparent level of ignorance is enough to make me yell at the computer - but typically, I manage to restrain myself and not point out any errors. Sometimes, it's obvious that pointing out the mistakes would be a waste of effort due to the lack of literacy at hand. Sometimes, stupid wins. The vast majority of the time, I step quietly away and do not return.
There is, however, one major exception to my rule: social media pages for writers. I think it's reasonable to give them a nudge when they make an obvious error, isn't it? Well I do...so, I do.
What I can't adequately deal with are the people who surface from time to time to point out minor errors, in doing so entirely missing the message that is being communicated. I suspect that such people may defend themselves by suggesting that the errors are an enormous distraction from the successful conveyance of the message, but I in turn suggest that it's bullshit. It's a power trip, plain and simple; one of the myriad of games that we humans play with and against one another as we try to swim against the stream of time and make ourselves feel better about whatever is in our path.
In particular, online pedantry is, like so much on the internetwebthing, usually the kind of interaction that would never take place face-to-face. It's rather pathetic.
It happened to me two days ago. During a typically light-hearted exchange with an old friend of mine, I mistakenly (if you wish to look at it that way) used a North American rather than an English spelling of a particular word in a humorous and friendly jibe - the kind of thing that he and I exchange on an almost daily basis. It was the following day when I read his response, which was, very abruptly, a correction of my spelling. In doing so, he'd completely cut dead the conversation by ignoring the subject in order to 'correct' me. I was surprised, both by this response, and also by my emotional reaction to his response. Thinking about it, I realized that I was being affected in precisely the way that prevents me from correcting other people's spelling.
He was, unfortunately, behaving like an arsehole (that's the English spelling of 'asshole', by the way) - spelled 'p-e-d-a-n-t'.
The result has been - again: surprisingly: profound. It's changed my opinion of him a little - enough to wonder whether or not to stay in contact with him, because I'm not at all interested in that kind of game. I'm not interested in trying to make other people feel less than me in any way. Apparently, though, that's what he's doing...