OK, I admit it. I suppose it's got something to do with my age. I'm a pedant. I get extremely irritated by stupid spelling errors and incorrect punctuation drives me potty. I have very little tolerance for a failure to realise that "criterion" is the singular form of "criteria". The distinction between "its" and "it's" seems to be disappearing from written language. And don't get me started on those who believe that "could of" or "would of" is a legitimate verb form.
Do I not make mistakes? Of course I do. But I try to avoid them. And I am deeply embarrassed when they surface.
Generally speaking, I am tolerant of my blogging colleagues. Few of them claim to be professional writers and Blogger at least does not offer a spell-check (as far as I have been able to discover). And, if they are anything like I am, it's a question of getting the text up in a hurry. That is not to say that I will excuse our rougher-edged brethren who have yet to learn that continuous upper-case text is the equivalent of shouting and that full stops are not an optional extra. But the ethos of blogging is that people do their own thing. In these circumstances, who am I to point out their own thing may not conform to the accepted norms? Besides, if I did point it out, I'd probably be flamed - and rightly so.
Professional journalists are a different matter. They have the advantages of spell-checkers and sub-editors and they are supposed to be professionals. But, hey, anybody can make a mistake. If bloggers take pleasure in pointing out those mistakes, then it is a minor cross for the journalist to bear. It is amazing, however, how many senior correspondents (especially on their pseudo-blogs where, presumably, they are less closely watched by sub-editors) are stumped by the use of apostrophes.
My deepest ire, however, is reserved for the Scottish Executive press office. In recent weeks, I have picked up two or three of their errors (and I'm talking about serious errors, not the occasional split infinitive). There is no excuse for punctuation or spelling errors in an Executive press release. Such a release would usually be drafted by the departmental official with responsibility for the subject matter, cleared with the relevant press officer, then put to the relevant Minister's private secretary for clearance by the Minister. Accordingly, at least four people will have seen it before it is issued. If errors get through, then it can only be because they are not paying sufficient attention to what they are doing (or they are incompetent). And it damages the Executive's standing, with both their 'partners' and with the wider world. It's deeply unprofessional.
Glad to have got this off my chest. Rant now over.