Questions in a moment; first a bit about how the questioners are getting here.
People tend to get lost on the Internet and I do not mean lost in thought or mindless drivel, though these things are undeniably true, too. No, I mean lost as in they don't know where the heck they are.
If you click on this link, you will travel from Buzzblog to Snopes.com, which is a significantly more famous place on the Internet -- no disrespect intended toward me, Buzzblog or NetworkWorld.com - as well as the go-to source online for separating fact from urban legend.
Oddly enough, confusion between our two sites has arisen in the minds of some, no doubt because, at least in part, yours truly wrote a blog post about Snopes headlined -- "Fact-checking the fact-checkers: Snopes.com gets an 'A' " -- back on April 13, 2009.
That post was circulated widely on social-bookmarking sites, generated robust discussion (much of it inane) and - here's the most important part pertaining to the confusion - settled prominently on the first page of search results returned by Google on any query for Snopes.com.
And query they do, as even though that post of mine is now approaching its first birthday, a steady stream of between 75 and 100 visitors a day stumble upon it, the great majority of them having arrived at Buzzblog via Google.
Only problem is that somewhere between Google and Buzzblog they forget where they were going, or, once landing here, they somehow become disoriented and convinced they're at Snopes. (Reaction from Snoptes in update below.)
I know this because they leave questions in the comment section; Snopes-like questions; questions readers don't normally ask me. And I see all of these oddball questions because every comment on this blog generates an e-mail alert that lands in my inbox.
A William Perry writes shortly after the Snopes post: "Is the email re: Obama's handling of the pirates situation true? Did he not give permission for the Navy Seals to take action, and the Seals commander finally had enough and gave the order to shoot."
I didn't know then and I don't know now.
Dottie writes: "I RECEIVED AN EMAIL FROM A FRIEND, SAYING THAT SONY ERICISSON IS GIVING AWAY A LAPTOP COMPUTER IF YOU EMAIL 8 FRIENDS, A DIFFERENT MODEL IF YOU EMAIL 20 FRIENDS. IS THIS TRUE?"
Not a clue, though I seriously doubt it. (And I presume Dottie wants a new laptop because the one she has types only in capital letters.)
Anonymous inquires: "I am checking to see if these dent removal methods really work. First is the dry ice method, and second heat and compressed air cans turned upside down."
Anonymous not only doesn't know where he is one the Internet, he doesn't know how comically little I know about cars.
Phil M asks: "Is it true that the ACLU is trying to remove all the crosses from the military cemetery in Washington , D.C.?"
Huh? How do the Snopes people stand this stuff?
Linda wants to know: "Got an email that says that margarine is like plastic, and very harmful, and that real butter is the only thing people should eat. Is this true?"
On and on they go: Did Obama say (fill in the blank with something unimaginable)? Is this Web site that sounds like a scam really a scam? Will I get a $50 gift certificate for forwarding this e-mail to my equally gullible friends?
And then there is the latest, offered by Bob R8 on Tuesday: "Is Elin living with Tiger? If not where is she living?"
OK, finally, allow me to take a swing at this one: The last time I spoke with Tiger, he said ... No, BobR8, I don't know whether Elin is living with Tiger and I doubt the folks at Snopes would be interested in answering either. Try TMZ.com ... Just don't go through Google to get there.
(Update: I e-mailed Snopes co-founder Barbara Mikkelson and asked if other journalists who have written about the site have then been similarly mistaken for it. Her reply: "I can't say I know of any other journalists who have had that problem after writing about our site, but for what it's worth, those who write to us sometimes mistake us for the folks or businesses that were the topics of our articles. A number of representative emails of that sort can be found in our "Are you talking to me?" thread on our message board.")
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