Recently I found this phrase in a site by NOAA (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/wesley/):

All spelling errors are property of the finder.

Is this a joke? I could not get the gist of it.

  • 7
    It means that if you find a spelling mistake on that page, it's considered to be your spelling mistake. In other words, don't bother the owner / admin of the web site with it.
    – oerkelens
    Jun 6, 2016 at 13:46
  • 6
    It reminds me of one of my favorite signature lines - "This writing is hand crafted using natural products. Slight irregularities in spelling and punctuation add to its character and uniqueness."
    – Phil Sweet
    Jun 6, 2016 at 13:57
  • 2
    There are some real gems buried deep in government reports. Someone is saying "I am a real human being and I have a sense of humor."
    – ab2
    Jun 6, 2016 at 19:30
  • 1
    Regarding gems hidden in formal documents: "Despite these words, this page is blank" (netfunny.com/rhf/jokes/01/Jan/blank.html)
    – DyingIsFun
    Jun 7, 2016 at 20:06

2 Answers 2


Let's say you find a wallet on the street. It's not your property, so you find the owner and tell them about their lost wallet, or at least that's what you should do. If the wallet was your property, the (previous) owner wouldn't hear from you.

The person writing "All spelling errors are property of the finder." doesn't want to hear from you if you find a spelling error. Pretend it is your property and don't tell the person responsible for the error about it.


It's clearly a joke, meaning that he's not going to take responsibility for fixing spelling errors.

It looks to me like this page was a personal project of an NOAA employee, not an official product, and he's using this opportunity to be witty. The line in question is in a section titled "Unofficial disclaimer" (contrast it with the link before it to the real disclaimers).

Also notice the news article from 2002, about replacing the server with one that has 10x the CPU power and 4x memory, and stating that users may notice a "minor" speed improvement -- that's obvious sarcasm.

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