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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wrong - A to Z Blog Challenge #atozchallenge

This is a repost from back in December, but I feel it's a good one for "w". (read: I'm spending the rest of tonight's energy to figure out what the hell to do with X!)

People are wrong all the time, myself included. I'm wrong more often than I'm right, and I'm well aware of it. I don't mind being wrong, it's how we learn to be right. If I'm wrong, I expect to be made aware of it, because that means that there's something I believe that's not true. If I'm wrong on this blog I give anyone who reads it a formal invitation to let me know; I want you to.

It's amazing to me that wanting to know when one is wrong seems to be a unique thing. Why would anyone be offended to be told that they're wrong when there's clear, concise evidence of it? Why would someone prefer to go about life, not only being wrong, but actively professing whatever they're wrong about? Either they're just going to make a bunch of other people wrong, or they're going to damage their own credulity by giving false information to people who know it's false!

Have you ever been in a situation where you tell someone they're wrong and they steadfastly disagree, presenting all kinds of arguments to prove that they're right, but their logic is flawed, or they perceived something incorrectly, and when you actually prove that they're wrong they get angry?

That same person who condescendingly explained why you don't know what you're talking about will then say "Yes, ok, fine, YOU ARE RIGHT, everyone give a great round of applause for the human encyclopedia here, for being right. You're so wonderful and learned, please enlighten us with your volumes of vast wisdom."

Don't you just want to say, "Look you f*cking idiot, you were wrong, I was (and am) right, and now you have the audacity to try to belittle me for being right?? I have made you're life better by helping you look like less of a numbskull. Next time, I'll let you go about your life in an ignorant bubble, and let everyone else believe you're the dullard you deserve to be perceived as."

Typos happen all the time. I'm sure that when I'm done with this rant, I'll have at least a couple dozen to handle myself. But this is a blog, and moreover, this is my blog. The purpose of this web space is simply my own enjoyment, and if someone else gets some enjoyment out of it, all the better. Heck, the title of the blog is =]V[=. It's not a word. It's not even a letter! (Although it's supposed to look like an M... Stands for "Monogram". ;) ) Typos in a professional setting, where information is presented for the sake of the information itself, are worse, and depending on that setting, can really frost my ass.

I cannot stand when a note comes home with my daughter from school, and there's a typo on it. A simple slip of the fingers can yield an errant letter here or there, or maybe a stray apostrophe that got hit when they were looking for enter, and that's not really such a big deal. What gets me irritated is when a statement is sent out saying "...there is amble evidence that reading to your child...blahblahblah..." Amble? First, this letter is trying to explain to me that my child's development in reading and writing is greatly impacted by me as the parent, and it's using words incorrectly? How ironic is that?

Second, this establishment is teaching my kid how to read and write, and kids are going to be graded on their use of the English language and spelling and either they don't proofread their own announcements, or they don't know the difference between ample and amble.

This morning, I was reading this article about the artificial creation of a mini-big-bang, and the second paragraph said "bidto" instead of "bid to". Again, not a big deal, but that should have been picked up by a spell checker. (Don't worry, I posted a comment pointing it out. It was corrected in a matter of minutes.)

I'm gradually becoming discouraged about web publishing because of mistakes like that though. It seems that either everyone is so rushed to get information out because the longer it's out there, the more traffic it creates, which translates into exposure / profit for the website. The information takes a back seat to the profits, and typos are slipping through. Either that or the writers / editors just don't care enough to proof their articles.

I've recently been writing for a website called Brighthub.com about Dungeons and Dragons type information, (That's right, I'm a bigger geek than you may have realized. :) ) thanks to Eric at working my muse, a great guy and excellent writer, though I think most of you know that already. This has really been my first experience with any sort of "professional" writing, and I'm having a great time... but at the same time, it's been a telling experience.

There have been a couple of instances where I've been reading through someone's article, and there have been typos. I've always let them know, because if he or she fancies him or herself a writer, they'd want to know. They've always been receptive and grateful for the heads up. Once or twice, I've come across an article (about Dungeons and Dragons, mind you... MY realm of knowledge on the site!) and the information's just been plain wrong. I sent a message to the writer about it, but the article is still there, and still not quite accurate.

We get paid to put out these articles, and the website makes money when we generate traffic. I'm disappointed that it almost doesn't matter what we publish, as long as someone clicks on the page and sees the google ads. Obviously, I'm going to continue to make sure my information is correct, but I feel like the fact that there is information at the same site, about the same sort of thing that isn't completely accurate reflects on me indirectly, simply due to my affiliation with the site and the topic.

Am I over-reacting to the sudden (or maybe not-so-sudden) emergence of all these typos in professional or scholastic writing? Should a typo mean less to me than it obviously does?