Two Piddling Comments

First comment:  this has to do with the word “blogger” and to whom it ought refer.  I know: the convention is, as the Babylon translation site has it, to define the word as “the person who keeps a blog.”  I personally believe,  however, that at least loyal participants in/contributors to a particular site should also be referred to as “bloggers.”  Some established “officially” as “bloggers” do indeed (such as Tammy Stephens on this site) tend to their own sites also.

Do you prefer the term “reader,”  or “commenter,”  or “contributor” perhaps?   Or perhaps “accomplice”?

Second Comment:  “Lolly” and “Jeff Thompson” have in particular kept alive a discussion about the merits of the “AP Stylebook” as a guardian of the writer’s workplace and the public’s interests.

My concern about the standards is that I find errors of usage and diction in AP-sanctioned stories about as often as I find them in reports by “Observer” staffers.   Here’s another example that appeared in Thursday’s story from the AP about the pit bulls rescued in a huge raid on dogfighters in the Midwest:  “About half were found to be shoe-ins for adoption, such as Jet, a scarred male who’s social and friendly with cats and other dogs.”

Seen anything questionable?



29 Responses to “Two Piddling Comments”

  1. Tammy Stephens Says:

    “(such as Tammy Stephens on this site)”
    I resemble that remark.

    I use the term readers, but like your term bloggers, because it sounds more personal. (Like our blogger breakfast.) They are loyal, as you mentioned, and keep our blogs going.

    Forest, Marshall, CC, Frank, Marena, Tom, and a few others ones. 😆

  2. Jeff Thompson Says:

    Dr. Rundus, I’ve long wondered whether the Observer has editors whose job it is to study, proof and/or re-write articles before they go to press. It appears as if the writers are just turned loose with no editorial oversight, and that certainly is not the mark of a good newspaper. I’d like to see some of the paper’s bloggers chime in on this…..

  3. Tom Says:


    shoo-in AS A SURE THING

    who’s POSSESSION

    Who is SUBJECT “WHO” VERB “IS” sentence structure

    Hey “Doc” am I close on this one?

  4. Daryl Cobranchi Says:

    Do you prefer the term “reader,” or “commenter,” or “contributor” perhaps? Or perhaps “accomplice”?

    “Commenter” is a sub-set of “Reader” as “Reader” also includes “Lurker.” Commenters are the folks who hang out here and make comments. You, of all people, ought to make sure to use the language properly.

  5. Daryl Cobranchi Says:

    “Who’s” is uncommon but I believe it’s 🙂 a legitimate contraction of “who is.” Think Sidney Poitier movies.

  6. Forest Crump Says:

    I am a blogger, currently I maintain a blog on two different sites I average 150-200 reads per post and 10-20 responses. I find blogging more entertaining than watching TV and presently it is a bastion of free speech.

    If you are posting blogs or commenting on someone else’s you are still a blogger.

    I’m a scarred male who is friendly with cats, dogs, children and some adults—anyone care to adopt me?

  7. Jeff Thompson Says:

    No Daryl, it’s the wrong whose!

  8. Raymond Rundus Says:

    Brief retorts:
    Daryl Cobranchi–I use language quite often, and I hope responsibly, particularly as it relates to accurate information and justifiable opinions. In the sciences, as especially in biology and botany and zoology and similar sciences, scientists are devoted to careful classifications into subcategories of members of the entire species. “Genus” and “family” are examples that are widely used. I’m not very good at remembering much of this.
    But when it comes to labels and similar definitions that are applied to human beings, there is often very little “science” to base a classification on. So I believe that “commenter” and “reader” can’t really be placed clearly into a category and sub-category relationship.
    One danger here also, if one is not careful, is to apply to an individual or even a large number of people labels that have highly negative values or emotions attached to them. We need only look back to human history in the last century to find some horrible wrongs being done under the aegis of “cleansing” or “purification.”
    Commenting on the example of a boner in the AP story about the rescued pit bulls: the word “shoe-in” is not an established word. My college dictionary labels “shoo-in” as informal and used in the sense of (as Tammy S. points out) “a sure thing.”
    Nothing wrong with “who’s” in the sentence, though some editors might object to the use of a contraction in this context. “Whose” would be incorrect.

  9. Raymond Rundus Says:

    My bad. It was Tom Cain, not Tammy Stephens, who pointed out the difference between “shoo-in” and “shoe-in.” And we are glad to hear from this gentleman.
    While dawdling here just a bit more: An example of rather an amusing verbal gaffe in the story in Saturday’s “Saturday Extra” section. The correspondent was reporting on the national award in teaching western equestrian skills at St. Andrews College (Laurinburg) and had written that the horse trainer and education was a native of Boston who “moved with her family to Lumberton in the 1960s when her father, Carl, was sent to North Carolina to help open a BF Goodwrench plant.”
    Did you catch the booboo then? Or do you see it now?
    Keep them there good comments acomin’–OK? (We’re not bad people just because we find mistakes in other peoples’ word usage; no doubt all of us have sinned, even the highest and mightiest and prettiest of us.)


  10. Raymond Rundus Says:

    Yeah, I just sinned again. I produced “education” when I intended to produce “educator.” Bah, humbug!

  11. Tammy Stephens Says:

    E-mail me a link to your blogs, I didn’t know.

    “anyone care to adopt me?”
    One man is hard enough for any woman, lol.

  12. Tammy Stephens Says:

    “all of us have sinned”
    Don’t read my blog, lol. Have bloopers daily.

  13. Lolly Says:

    I’m not sure why errors in an AP story would lead to concerns about AP style.

    People are going to botch a word here and there; but the answer is not to abandon standards altogether. Does not compute.

    It’s like saying that if one person forgets to RSVP for a dinner party, we decide that all common etiquette is for naught.

    And of course the people who comment on a blog (even regularly) should not be referred to as bloggers. We don’t refer to people who write letters to the editor as reporters, do we? In both cases, they are merely responding.

    You can call them commenters, readers, fans … maybe even contributors, if you feel they’ve truly advanced the discussion in some way. But they are not bloggers, except in the context of a blog they may have written.

    Finally, I would love to see an Observer response about the state of (or existence of) their copy desk.

  14. Raymond Rundus Says:

    A reply to “Lolly”–

    In a highly structured environment, such as that in a typical large regional or state newspaper, I believe that a reporter or staff writer fairly far down the “chain of command” would have–and does have–his work closely monitored by at least one editor every time he or she submits a piece for possible publication.
    If that newspaper claims to present itself as abiding by the AP Stylebook or any other guide, then it ought to be evaluated by its successes or failures in doing so.
    Since the experienced writer is permitted to use a “byline,” then he or she is indeed more likely to be held responsible or culpable. With more freedom comes more personal accountability.
    And, since nearly all AP stories printed in the “Observer” have bylines attached to them, well, we can all “do the math.”

    As a postscript we ought all to wish Tammy Stephens well in her quest to be elected an “Alderman” (Tammy: should that not be “Alderwoman,” or perhaps “Alderperson”? I don’t think, as with the “cosa nostra,” that I would “go to the mattresses” about that distinction just now). Tammy has kept a blog site about Spring Lake active for quite some time and has been a valued and supportive “commenter,” “responder,” or “reader” on this site not very long after its launching three years. I am greatly impressed by her community activism, her volunteer work, her vitality in spite of serious health concerns, and her devotion to her family She has my vote, or would if I were a Spring Lake resident eligible to cast one!

    RJR (redux)

  15. Lolly Says:

    Well, of course they have editors. I’m not disputing that.

    But a line editor or section editor is not the same thing as a copy editor. Copy editors are there specifically to check the grammar, diction, spelling and usage bugaboos that pop up in all writing — not to mention good old-fashioned typos, and even errors in statistics.

    A section editor would give great feedback on what info is missing from a piece. Or whether adequate research was done. Or which sources might help complete a story. Those same editors, in my experience, are utterly clueless on the difference between “phase” and “faze,” or why an independent clause after a colon always begins with a capital letter.

    The copy editor has always been the one to enforce those rules. The “shoe-in” error suggests to me that either the AP or the Observer (perhaps both) are relying less on copy editors — and more on the ignorance of readers. It does not suggest that AP style is an unworthy standard.

  16. Jeff Thompson Says:

    Thanks Dr. R.; I misread the line inlcuding the contraction who’s.

  17. Tammy Stephens Says:

    Thank you so very much! That was sweet of you. It’s Alderman until a woman gets a chair, then on the agendas they are called Alderwoman.
    Since I coach baseball, really can’t say too much, lol.
    Can you move here until Nov. 4? 8)

  18. Marshall Faircloth Says:

    I respectfully differ on the term ‘blogger’ not including all who write on a blog. defines the verb ‘blog’ (or ‘to blog’) as, “to write in, add material to, OR maintain a weblog.”

    If I do 2 out of 3 of the above, am I not a blogger?

  19. Raymond Rundus Says:

    Blog on, bloggers, or whatever you wish to have yourselves called. Being attentive to, and observant of, other’s desires as to how they prefer (or insist upon) being called or addressed is a matter of social courtesy. R E S P E C T: of which our culture quite obviously needs more of. (I do like the definition that Marshall F. has found online.) Agree? I always keep in mind a simple but quite profound statement I came across years ago as I was striving mightily to become a worthy, serious semanticist: “He who defines, enslaves.” (By now the source has escaped from my memory’s lunch pail.)

    And thanks to Lolly for her continuing and challenging quest to define and defend the helpful applications of the AP Stylebook. Doesn’t anyone have a copy at hand? Guess I could check for such on

  20. Lolly Says:

    “of which our culture quite obviously needs more of.”


  21. Lolly Says:

    “If I do 2 out of 3 of the above, am I not a blogger?”

    But you aren’t doing ANY of the three, at least not on this blog. You are adding comments to an existing blog post. That is all.

    When there are several authors of one blog (as with the Observer’s “Two Chicks, a Guy and a Blog”), each of them is a blogger when 1) writing in it, 2) adding material to it (e.g., a photo), or 3) maintaining it (e.g., tagging or categorizing posts).

    Adding your own commentary to a blog post does not count as any of those three things.

  22. Marshall Faircloth Says:

    Mama said life is like a box of chocolates, and don’t argue with anyone who has ESPN. 😉

  23. Mike Mitchell Says:

    Blogging? What’s all this stuff about? I’m just a green horn. 😈

  24. Tammy Stephens Says:

    Good pic of you, in your comment. 8)

  25. Raymond Rundus Says:

    Lolly did well in exposing how (I must be a real oaf at times to do so) I neatly placed double “ofs” (especially the second usage being the forbidden preposition ending a sentence) in one of my otherwise more coherent sentences. For both uses “which” was the object. But fear not the ancient admonitions from the strictest old grammarians. They are bits of nonsense up with which I will not put.

  26. Marshall Faircloth Says:

    So then, we are in agreement that, even though we don’t host a blog, since we write in and add material to a blog, we are therefore bloggers.

  27. Raymond Rundus Says:

    I concur, agree, and fellowship with Mr. Faircloth.


  28. Marshall Faircloth Says:

    Hear, hear! One for all, all for one (and every man for himself)!

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