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Mr. Know-It-All: Hi-Def Etiquette, Facebook Friends-in-Law, Wiki Errors

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Old 01-27-2009
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Mr. Know-It-All: Hi-Def Etiquette, Facebook Friends-in-Law, Wiki Errors
My only friend without an HDTV has invited me to his Super Bowl party. Hi-def sets have gotten pretty cheap. Is it rude to ask him to upgrade?Building bridges that can withstand anything.
Ask away, but remember that in these financially brutal times, even the gainfully employed are living lean. You might soften your approach and start by inviting your pal over to witness hi-def sports in all their glory. (You do have an HDTV yourself, right?) Maybe he'll see the light and pony up for an HD rig right before the big game. He wouldn't be the first.
But if your friend still resists dropping the cash, don't back out on his shindig. Yes, it's tough to revert to standard-def fuzz if you're accustomed to seeing every blade of grass. But, come on—has the splendor of all those pixels really made you that antisocial? The attraction of the party should be camaraderie, not the quality of the screen.
Joseph Whip of puts it well: "While I love HD, I do prefer friendship and human interaction." Plan on soothing the pain by knocking back a few extra beers before kickoff. Once the cheering starts, your technological hang-ups will be quickly forgotten.
When her mother recently friended me on Facebook, my girlfriend freaked and demanded that I defriend Mom at once. Should I comply or hold firm and risk hurting our relationship?
Your darling's dismay seems excessive, but you need to gather some intelligence before taking a stand. There could be a painful backstory here—an instance, perhaps, in which maternal interference ruined a promising romance.
Ask your girlfriend if her reaction is due to past meddling. If she has a tragic tale to relate, reassure her that you won't stand for such shenanigans. Make it clear that you'll instantly defriend Mom if she starts getting up to her old nosy tricks. A Facebook message with the subject line "Wedding Plans?" Buh-bye.
But the request might have less to do with Mom's misdeeds than a feeling that parental presence sucks the fun out of Facebook. "Using Facebook is a little like going to a party, and who wants to go to a party where their mom is standing in the corner?" says E. A. Vander Veer, author of Facebook: The Missing Manual.
By accepting Mrs. Girlfriend into your inner circle, you tacitly agreed to keep things on your profile rated G—or at least PG-13. Your gal simply may not relish the prospect of censoring her Wall posts to you.
If that's the essence of the gripe, gently resist her demand. Explain that preserving your right to Facebook raunchiness isn't worth hurting her mother's feelings. And point out that, hey, it's only Facebook—it's not like you let Mom install a webcam in your bedroom.
There's a serious error in the Wikipedia entry on me—they totally botched my birthplace. I want to correct the mistake, but I know you're not supposed to edit your own entry. What to do?
Congratulations on being deemed notable enough to merit a Wikipedia article. This implies that there are independent news sources out there with biographical information about you. Do these pieces have your birthplace correct? If so, create a note on your entry's Talk page with links to this evidence; with any luck, a Wikipedia contributor will notice it and make the necessary fix. If time is of the essence and you seriously believe the fate of the free world hangs in the balance, go ahead and edit the entry yourself. Just be sure to record everything on the Talk page, to avoid charges of sock puppetry.
Be ready, however, for some back-and-forth if the article's creator has a source for the misinformation. If this contributor won't relent, drop an email to and explain the situation. Be brief and provide links to reputable sources that have accurate data.
In a worst-case scenario, the erroneous birthplace may have been bouncing around the World Wide Echo Chamber for so long that no linkable news articles have it right. "In cases like this, we suggest individuals try to correct the sources rather than insert unsourced information to our project," says Cary Bass, volunteer coordinator for the Wikimedia Foundation. That means your beef isn't with whoever created your Wikipedia entry but with the lazy journalists who've been flubbing your life's story all along. Rain your fury upon them.
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