Rails adding dashes to text field in db

are you calling debug() in your view anywhere? or to_yaml?

you can just tail your development log and watch it as you post the
data to the server. that should indicate where the problem is coming
from. if you see -- - in your params hash (posted data) then the
problem is in your view. if it's not, then the problem is in your
controller method

Unfortunately no. Unlike Smalltalk and many other languages, in Ruby
Symbols are not strings.

The value in params[:note_body] was apparently a symbol not a string.