One of the things in life I’ve come to be fairly attached to is correctness. Â When I’m wrong, I love it when people inform me that I’m wrong, as long as I am actually wrong and they can tell me why I am wrong. Â I mean, just yelling “You’re wrong!” over and over without explanation doesn’t help anyone. Â But when I post my thoughts here, if I’ve made an error, if I’ve got bad data, I want to know. Â I tend to do the same with other people. Â Most times when I post a comment on another blog it’s either to say “I agree!” or to point out somewhere that I feel they’ve made an error. Â Sometimes, even when I point things out that I think are wrong, it can turn out that I’m wrong.
Tami Baribeau works in the gaming industry, specifically the social gaming arena. Â I read her blog because I want more insight to that world and she provides it (she’s not the only one I read, to get all my info from one source would be wrongheaded). Â She posted a list of 10 reasons why Facebook Game wall posts are not spam. Â Reading her list, I felt that three of her points were in error, based on my experience, and posted a reply. Â It turns out that two of my points were addressed with changes in Facebook policy I was unaware of and so were not errors. Â In one case, however, I was correct and Tami acknowledged that. Â This is the sort of stuff I love.
Of course, on the Internet, this sort of discourse is rare. Â Well, rare-ish. Â I see it quite often, but only because I stop reading blogs where the authors just want to spew and don’t care about being correct. Â But it means I do filter a lot of blogs out. Â The main reason, I think, for this is many people still believe that the Internet is separate from “Real Life”. Â Even when they are in a forum where their real identities are well known, they act as if their online persona is different from themselves. Â It leads to a lot of waving off errors under the belief that “this doesn’t really matter… it’s only the Internet, it’s not Real Life.” Â And most often it is that they don’t care about the details. Â If you still agree with their main thrust argument, why should the facts and figures matter?
If a politician were to give a speech and state “We need to bring our troops home from Iraq!” he would probably get a lot of support. Â It’s an idea that many people can get behind. Â If he were to follow that up with “We need to bring them home because thousands of our boys are dying every day! Â And thousands of woman and children are being cut down in the crossfire every day!” … well, both of those things are completely not correct. Â Yes, soldiers have died and are dying, and yes, civilians have been injured and killed because of the war there, but those numbers are just way way off. Â Thousands are not dying per day. Â For me, that politician would lose my support (unless his opponent was a raving loon who was insisting that we needed to leave Iraq now… so we could nuke it into oblivion). Â If I really wanted to support that politician, I’d write a letter, or even stand up right then and try to get a correction. Â Because worse than someone making an offhand error is someone fully believing that the error is true and correct. Â I’d want to know where that politician stood. Â Was it an honest mistake? or is it more than that?
Or maybe, just maybe, I’m wrong. Â If I am, I want to know. Â And I suppose that that is the main thrust of this post… owning mistakes. Â If I make one and it is pointed out to me, the very first thing I want to do is acknowledge that, and then either explain why this new information doesn’t change the point I am making or adjust my position based on the new data. Â But the acknowledgement is important to me. Â And it irks me when people don’t do that, when people just wave it off and don’t admit to having been mistaken.