I got an email from a person who provided a correction on one of my cases, which I hadn’t updated in nearly a year, but didn’t say where she got her info. I wrote back inquiring of her source (I was wondering if she knew his family or something, as the info she provided made it seem like she did), only to receive in reply a tirade about how poorly researched my site was and it was my job, not hers, to find sources, and if I was going to “insert myself into the investigation” by publicizing this person’s disappearance, I ought to stop putting out falsehoods about him, etc etc etc.
Oh-kay. One relatively minor error in one case out of 9,000 and apparently I’m some lazy layabout who doesn’t know what she’s doing.
She did, at least, provide her source, and I will make the correction. Sheesh. (And no, she didn’t know him or his family.)
Actually, inaccuracies of any kind on Charley really bother me when I find them out, especially when others have to point them out to me. But there are so many contradictions out there and I have learned that for the most part no particular type of source is more likely to be more reliable than any other. (The only kind I NEVER trust without independent verification is anonymous internet board postings. Or even many non-anonymous ones.)
A police department website’s profile of the MP is not necessarily correct, although you’d think it ought to be guaranteed. Newspapers and television can provide biased accounts, misquotes or outright wrong info. I will generally post whatever an MP’s family member tells me is the truth, but I am not usually in touch with the families (and I never cold-contact them; they write to me instead), and even when I am, sometimes they are mistaken. A lot of times sources diametrically oppose each other and it’s a matter of weighing which is more likely to be correct, or I have to post both accounts and mention that they contradict each other. I suppose any journalist — and that is, in a sense, what I am — has this problem.
I do the best I can, which is the only thing there is to do. I think most of the time I get it right, but I’m always trying to improve my average.