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Correcting Errors
Periodically, people will write to me saying that what I have is in error. There are a few things which should be born in mind if you are efforting to get Gregg to change something that he has written.

1. Gregg has posted information far and wide. Without some indication given by you, he will likely have no idea which particular presentation you are talking about.

2. Gregg has posted to Rootsweb lists, GenForums, Ancestry Forums, guestbooks, WorldConnect, his personal website, and elsewhere. He has authority to change what he has written in some cases (his website and WorldConnect database(s), for examples), and in other cases, he has no authority to do so, and thus cannot change the contents even if he had a mind to do so (Genforum, some RootsWeb lists, etc.).

3. Gregg is a pretty smart guy, yet he is still not smart enough to read your mind.

So let's presume for the moment that you want to get Gregg to correct a record that he has the authority to correct. Here is an example of a right way to do it, and some examples of the wrong way to do it (each with explanations).

A Right Way

Hi Gregg, I noticed that you had in your WorldConnect database the brother of my great great grandfather. His name was Joel Schmoe, not Joe Schmoe, as you have it. Also, while his will was probated in Columbus County, he actually died while visiting relatives in Sparta County. I hope that you can correct these errors. Cya.

Now why is this the right way?

1. The note mentioned the WorldConnect database, and thus the location of the error is identified.

2. The note mentioned the name as I have it "Joe Schmoe", so I can find that person in the database.

3. The note mentioned the value which was in error (the spelling of the name, and the place of death).

4. The note mentioned the correct values that were previously identified as erroneous.


The Wrong Way

Hi Gregg, some of your information is in error. Cya

Now why is this the wrong way?

1. The source is not mentioned. Therefore, the error could be anywhere, in any of the thousands of posts Gregg has written. Note: Gregg is not a mind-reader. Gregg will need to know the location of the original for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Gregg will need to satisfy himself that the original was indeed his work, and not the post of someone else. Secondly, Gregg will need to identify whether it is a site where he even has the authority to make changes, as noted above. Again, Gregg is not a mindreader.

2. The name of the person is not mentioned. Since Gregg's posts are predominantly about people, they usually mention names. Gregg will find it helpful for you to mention the name. Remember, Gregg is not a mindreader.

3. The correct value is not specified. Gregg is not a mind-reader, and thus cannot scry for the correct value based on a vague hint that something might be wrong. Gregg has 70,000+ plus people in his database, and he is NOT going to review every single entry on the vague suggestion that one might be in error.


Another (partially) Wrong Way

Hi Gregg, you have listed my great great grandmother, Jane (Smith) Doe with the wrong birthdate, cya

Now why is this the wrong way?

1. Gregg is not a mind-reader. From this post, Gregg is still unable to divine what the correct value should be. Gregg simply cannot guess the correct value. If you want the correct value displayed, and you know it, then you will just have to tell Gregg the correct date if you expect him to correct it. At least the person mentioned the name of the person whose information is incorrect, which is more than some people seem to be able to do.

Conclusions

1. Gregg is not a mind-reader.

2. Gregg is not going to read the entire internet and fact-check every post he has ever made simply because someone made a vague suggestion that something might be in error in one of them, somewhere.

3. If you expect Gregg to change a value, then you simply must provide him with the tools to enable him to accomplish this task.

4. Gregg cannot guess which website you are thinking about, you must give some indication of it yourself.

5. Gregg is unable to guess which person you are talking about - you must tell him.

6. Gregg can't divine the correct information. You must provide it to him if a change is likely to be made.

7. Gregg is only too happy to correct his information provided that he is able to identify the change to be made, and the corrected value, and that the assertion of the correct value is the product of coherent thinking.

Final Thoughts

There are those who for some perverse reason delight in emailing others the vague suggestion that something about their database is in error, but don't give any hint about what specifically is in error, or the correct information. I can only guess a couple of reasons why this might be, and both of them are bad. So suffice it to say - don't do this. Do not email me telling me that some of the information is in error if you are not going to tell me what the error is. Further, it would be helpful if you gave me enough information to actually make the change so that the the correct information may be displayed.

If you email me telling me some of my information is in error, but fail to tell me where the error is, let alone what the correct value should be, then you have succeeded only in wasting my time and yours.

Do NOT do this.
Last Update: 03 December 2011