Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Speak now or forever hold my peace?

I'm reading a lot of articles, reviews and such on the internet these days. I mean those published by established news organizations, websites and writers. Which is why I find it somewhat disappointing that I come across as many typos, or more commonly, word omissions as I do. One would think that they would have someone proofread their material before putting it up for all the world to see. Maybe they do and the proofreaders/copy editors miss them as well.

Whatever the reason, my dilemma is what I ought to do about it when I do find mistakes? What's the proper etiquette? Posting a comment pointing out the error seems a bit rude, but I have seen people do that with the preface of "I hate to be that person but.." I would do this as well, if there were other comments on the page and/or the article in question is a recent one. However, some of these articles are somewhat old and have hardly any comments. It seems akin to bumping an old thread on a forum to point out a typo, which is just plain wrong. Except there is a difference between a post on a forum and an article that will be read long after it has been published. 

If I were the author, I would definitely want to be told so I could correct it. Actually, this happened with this very blog. A friend of mine mentioned in an email a silly omission of mine (thanks again, M!)  and I fixed it. She actually said she wanted to comment on it but didn't want to be nitpicky. In this case, being a friend, she was able to tell me in private, but I wouldn't have minded even if she had commented on the blog itself. Though, I guess, given a choice I would probably prefer being told in private. So then is that the way to go? Contact the author/editor in private and respectfully tip them off? Would they appreciate this or find it weird and intrusive? Am I only even thinking of this option  for selfish reasons, i.e., to not make a fool of myself in public? 

I'm totally overthinking this, aren't I? I know this must make it seem like I have a bad case of OCD, but I really don't. I will admit that I do have an uncanny ability to spot the mistakes, bugs, what-have-yous. However, I will have you know that I try and use my powers for good always. Really.

Anyway, I am only thinking about this so much because I respect the authors of these pieces and it pains me to think that someone else will see their slip-ups. Otherwise, I'd just shrug and think a little less about whoever wrote it and move on. Maybe that isn't such an awful fate to befall these writers and I should stop being so touchy on their behalf. I hate being inaccurate more than anything else (case in point: I actually spent a good 15 minutes or more trying to find out if "proper etiquette" was a tautology), so maybe I'm just projecting. 

For the record though, I would definitely appreciate anyone pointing out any errors in my own posts. Also, is "proper etiquette" a tautology? I never found out. :(

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