Saturday, April 01, 2006

How to Call the Police

I liked Blair's anecdote.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for an excellent blog!

Your link to Blair on "How to Call the Police" was certainly made in good faith, but Blair may not have done his homework. Snopes (urban legend tracker) states that the story is not true, but their methodology can be confusing.

Each explanation at begins with a Claim statement. They then assign the Claim statement a true or false Status. Then a sample story is presented with a detailed explanation.

In this case their Status assignment was "True, and was followed by the sample that Blair quoted. However, the detailed explanation demonstrated that the sample story was false!

I learned that it is the *Claim* to which they assign a Truth Status, NOT the story. Their approach, rationalized in their FAQs, is that the Claim and Status statements are about the general *kind of* story, and not about the example. Unfortunately this readily leads one to believe a particular story is true, when it is not. These ought to form two types of legends -distinguishing the True and False types. Each could then have accurate examples of each.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Amit Ghate said...

Thanks Richard, I hadn't ever really looked at the snopes site in any detail, and wasn't aware of the distinction you point out.

I don't normally blog on this type of item, but just thought it was amusing when I saw it on Blair's site.

Generally the point you make is very important though, as overall I've realized that I'm too quick to believe what I see on other blogs and will have to do more source checking in the future. So thanks again for commenting.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever the truth or falsity of the story or claim, the police have priorities and I believe you can get a quicker response by what you say. If you want them to come, motivate them.

5:58 AM  

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