Is fighting ignorance no longer the mandate in General Questions?

Based on the recent GQ thread about the Queen of England’s cell phone.

Corrections to the factual error in the thread title, about the proper way to refer to the Queen of the UK, have been barred as nitpickery.

But that’s what GQ is about - imparting accurate factual information and correcting errors.

AK84 was perfectly correct: there has not been a Queen of England since 1707. It is a factual error to continue using that term.

The reason given for the bar was that “everyone knew who the OP meant”
(my paraphrase).

That’s not the point.

The point is that a Board that says it’s dedicated to fighting ignorance should welcome corrections of factual errors, especially in GQ. Apparently that’s no longer the case.

So is everyone okay with me referring to Donald Trump as the President of the Continental Congress? It may not technically be right, but everyone knows who I mean, right?

I haven’t even read the thread, but I presume that the mistake was deemed corrected and any further bickering about it was deemed a hijack.


“Queen of England” and “Union Jack” and and “Chief Justice of the Supreme Court” and “a chimpanzee is a monkey” are errors that require correction only if the topic is something specific (e.g., formal titles and taxonomic nomenclature).

For the purposes of non-specific discussion they are all generally understood acceptable terms that present no apparent ignorance that requires fighting.

I’m with Northern Piper here. While the nitpick wasn’t necessary, it was correct and an interesting bit of trivia. And that’s part of what makes this board entertaining. IMHO it did not deserve snide responses or moderator action.

I’d say that the main purpose of General Questions is to answer the questions that people ask. Knowing the Queen’s correct title doesn’t address the issue of whether she carries a cell phone. Other posts, including those that correct errors, may be interesting - but they shouldn’t distract from the main purpose.

It might be an interesting bit of trivia if this annoying nitpick had not already been made fifty billion times previously. As said, no one was confused about who was being referred to. So why bring it up? Are we going to nitpick every misunderstanding or misstatement made on this board? If so, it’s going to get really lonely around here.

No, but Trump is the President of Utah. Just as QE2 is the Queen of her dominions, which include- England.

This is not a matter of being right or wrong, it’s a useless pedantry, and it has been repeated on this board time after time.

People have even gotten warned for useless pedantry.

And should I correct everyone every time they use the term “sunrise” or “sunset”? After all, the Sun doesn’t “set”- the Earth rotates so as it appears to set.

I think if people keep making the mistake, it’s worth repeating the corrections.

Again, it’s not a mistake. That’s why nitpicking it is pointless pedantry.

Merely referring to “the Queen of England” is not an error. We all know who that is. It’s perfectly legitimate to make that reference.

Saying that “Elizabeth II’s formal title is ‘Queen of England’” is an error. Unless that specific error has been made, then there’s no error to correct.

Equating the UK with England is a pretty lazy, shitty thing to do. Sanctioned by a mod too!

As a GQ moderator, I basically agree with this. There’s a fine line (perhaps no line;)) between nitpicking and annoying pedantry. The correction was not relevant to the question being asked, and was leading to a hijack as people disputed it. I agree with engineer_comp_geek’s handling of it.

The point of GQ is to obtain answers to questions, not to nitpick to death every inadvertent misstatement made by another poster. If you wish to regard this as not “fighting against ignorance,” you’re welcome to, I guess, but I think that the majority of posters find this tedious and annoying.

What he said.

If a thread refers to the woman in question as “Queen Elizabeth” without any “II” following, is that also an error that needs to be corrected? Because there’s at least one other woman who might be the one being referred to. (Two, actually. Wasn’t the mother of the woman in question also “Queen Elizabeth”?) Do those of you who support this needless nitpick invite similar nitpickery of your posts?

Just call her Queen Elizabeth II. That’s pretty unambiguous, and shouldn’t be beyond the smart and hip people here. :rolleyes:

Moderator Note

The snark and eyerolling are unnecessary. Let’s keep the discussion civil in this forum.

There was a reason I used that particular example. Even the pedant who started this thread has referred to the woman in question as simply 'Queen Elizabeth". Did anyone climb all over him for this?

But the Queen Elizabeth II IS the Queen of England. She’s also the Queen of a number of other places. She’s smiling back at me on all my Canadian $20 bills for example.

Exactly. The correct and proper list of her titles would be long (and interesting, at least once*) but wholly unnecessary to ask the question.
*Her correct title in New Zealand is Kotuku (Maori), which translates to “The White Heron”.

There’s “small but important correction” and there’s “nitpick”. This was the former. “Queen of England” versus “Queen of the UK” is a live political/cultural issue that’s significant for millions of people, because it’s a honking great marker for not knowing the difference between England and the UK in general. That pisses off a lot of Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish, not least because they deeply suspect that most of the English also frequently forget that there’s a difference between England and the UK in general.

There’s lots of tiny trivial things in the world that it’s nonetheless important to get right. For instance, I find it hard to remember that it’s ok to call a US politician a Democrat, but bad to say they’re in the Democrat Party. If I started a thread “how many people belong to the Democrat Party?” and five people jumped in to say “actually, it’s Democratic” that would be fair dealing, not nitpicky, because it’s culturally and politically important.

If you say “Queen Elizabeth” and someone pops up with “don’t you know it’s Queen Elizabeth II” feel free to bop them for nitpicking. Or start a long digression on whether she’s really QEI, whichever takes your fancy

I’ll go one step more. IMHO someone who comes into a thread only to nitpick is threadshitting. It’s condescending and serves no purpose except to demonstrate the poster’s pathetic need to score points in some imagined “World’s Smartest Doper” contest.