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Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Last Tuesday, I got a couple e-mails with similar problems. One was from a friend of mine promoting her daughter's photography sessions. The deadline for contacting her for a Mother's Day photo shoot was Monday, May 1. Of course, May 1 was not on a Monday this year, so I wrote back to the mother with this info, and she wrote: "You are correct. My daughter's photography skill trump her day/date skills apparently...." Well, swell, but I STILL don't know the correct information, and I was a bit put off, frankly, and was disinclined to pursue the issue further.

The second was a .jpeg attachment to an e-mail for a cultural event from a member of my church. There was all sorts of information about the organization, and what events would be taking place. It contained the location, but lacked a couple things: the date and the time. So, I wrote to that person, and she gave me the date and time, but I was so distracted by this fundamental error that when I was telling this story to my wife, I forgot what the benefit was for, so focused was I on the lacking information, especially when the sender seemed lackadaisical about fixing it.

I bring this up because I realize that sometimes, I've gone to some of your blogs and made suggestions about things that I thought needed to be changed. It tends to be, to my mind, substantial issues of fact, which, if left alone, might put the writer in a less than favorable light to other readers. I'm not talking about opinions here. Nor am I talking about typos (teh); in fact, I've totally given up even mentioning its/it's errors. I am inclined, though, to correct misspellings of proper names, if only because someone Googling will be unlikely to find the page otherwise. And I almost always mention dead links within a post, primarily because I'd like to know that if it were happening with my post.

This is not to be a nudge. It is because I think that other people will take you less seriously with uncorrected errors. It's also, I suppose, a librarian's curse. I've made similar suggestions to governmental and association blogs.

A couple of non-Internet examples:
Some time ago, I was reading an article about the Beatles' white album. The author said something like, "Only Paul McCartney could get away with the sentimentality of the closing tune Good Night." Well, OK, except that I knew that it was John Lennon who actually penned the song. I totally dismissed whatever else that writer had to say because of that egregious error.

At a conference about ten years ago, the featured speaker was talking about waste in government, and he was focusing on studies paid for with federal funds. He noted that there was money spent for finding out why more people don't ride their bikes to work. He proclaimed, "Everybody knows that; it's because it rains!" Well, having ridden my bicycle to work and being reasonably knowledgeable on the topic, I knew it had as much to do with distance, safety, time, coming to work sweaty and other factors than just this simplistic response. And I was so furious that I just walked out of the meeting. Of course, there were several hundred people there, and I seriously doubt that anyone noticed, but I so didn't want to be in the room with this dolt... Thing is, he may have had some legitimate points later on, but he lost me early on.

So, if I have corrected you in the past, and it has annoyed you, I'm sorry. I just want you to look good.


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