I have been forced to reach the conclusion that this planet is full of persons whose self-appointed task it is to find errors, large or small, in the writing of history or science blogsites. These individuals crouch before their screen all day, and possibly all night, watching for some unintentioned mistake to appear, like a titmouse for the circling kite’s breakfast.
“Aha!” says the Blogger’s Kite, it says here that SoandSo died in the early days of 1817; a rush to consult the National Dictionary of Biography. Frenzied fingers tear at the already over-thumbed pages. Here she is! And she died in the last months of 1816! OHO!
Pausing only to take their sharpest teeth from the drawer and insert them, the blogger’s kite takes up the ‘mouse’ and finds the Comments section of the appropriate website. In a few seconds it is done: “You must take more care over your facts. You purport to be a history site but you get your facts hopelessly wrong. SoandSo did not die ‘in the early days of 1817. She died in the last months of 1816. Please ensure that you get your facts right.”
I am not sure the time of her death actually mattered to SoandSo. It certainly will have mattered to her dear ones. The fact that the rest of the little article seems to be error-free is not interesting. The Blogger Kite has swooped down on the helpless titmouse. He or she is not yet satisfied however. He or she is never satisfied. The magnifying glass will soon be out again.
A good recent example of this kind of nit-picking came up recently. Nothing is really accurate on the Net, but I wished to illustrate an article with a pic of an important young Oriental in military uniform. I found one repeated several times in Google Images, with a caption describing the subject of the photograph as ‘The young ……’ A Comment instantly descended from a Blogger Kite. The pic was wrong. It did not depict ‘The young . . . . .’ I should have known that. In a site which purports etc. etc. I found another pic of exactly the same young Oriental, but in a different uniform, and slotted it in to replace the ‘wrong’ one. I now await another Kite’s comment that the young man pictured is not . . . etc. ad infinitum.
What a shame it is that these Kites do not take up their laptops and organise their OWN blog, which admittedly takes up endless time and presses one’s patience. I am sure there would never be even the slightest hint of a mistake, as it is obvious from their tone that they are word and number perfect, and that no error would ever pass to us from their fingers.
I do wish, notwithstanding, that they would take more care over their own grammar, punctuation and spelling. Sometimes the Commens are illegible. More often they have little or nothing to do with an article. The obscene, offensive or insulting ones must be a waste of time, but they do provide a source of endless amusement for my friends.