My Week as a Scold

Sometimes writing this blog I feel like a bit of a scold: constantly reminding the Ether of the threat of landmines and their impact upon the lives of individuals.  I also get deeply offended when I see people casually toss of the words “minefield” or “landmine” for dramatic effect.  Two weeks ago I saw a story from Forbes entitled, “Traversing Personal Brand Management While Avoiding Company Brand Landmines” and thought company brand landmines must surely be the least dangerous form of landmines and by using the word “landmines” in this context the author really cheapened the lives of people killed or injured by real landmines.  But I held my tongue.  Over the following weekend, I resolved not to.  I decided that every story I came across during the week of March 17 to 22 that used the words “minefield” or “landmine(s)” would get the following response:

 

Dear …

Every day, a dozen people are killed or injured by landmines around the world.  Your casual use of the word “minefield / landmine(s)” is disrespectful of their fate.  If you want to learn more about the impact of real landmines, please visit www.the-monitor.org or www.LandminesinAfrica.org.

Sincerely,

Michael P. Moore

www.LandminesinAfrica.org

 

And after posting, I would track the responses and provide additional details to anyone who sought them and avoid internet firestorms and trolls.  I commented or emailed the authors of the following articles, retrieved by Google news searches.  Any responses I received are in italics:

 

Suu Kyi Walks Through a Minefield

Traversing Personal Brand Management While Avoiding Company Brand Landmines

Citizens is political minefield in Capitol debate

 

Navigating the Emotional Minefield When Giving Performance Feedback

Response:

Hi Michael,

No disrespect intended. I really only meant to use the term in the second sense listed here [from www.Merriam-Webster.com: Minefield, Definition 2: something resembling a minefield especially in having many dangers or requiring extreme caution].

I apologize for sounding cavalier. I only meant that supervisors are proceeding into “something resembling a minefield especially in having many dangers or requiring extreme caution.”

Guy

 

High-speed rail project beset by political mine fields

Call to let juries know criminal past ‘a justice minefield’

Cultivating Sources Can Be A Minefield For Women Reporters

Mumbai driving ‘like hopscotch in a minefield’

Where Obama’s visiting in Israel, where he isn’t, and why: Why is the president spending hours at the Israel Museum but not going near the Western Wall? What’s he doing in Bethlehem? A primer on a tour through a diplomatic minefield

Flash support is increasingly a minefield

Land Mine Attachement: OPT13 (the mis-spelling is in the original; I was tempted, but did not mention it)

The minefield of social media metrics

Obama heads into Mideast minefield

Offensive material on social media proving legal minefield

Spiers on Sport: how the SNP have made policing fans a minefield

Congressman Talks Political Landmines To Manage Cuts

Coping With the Minefield: Confronting Investors

LETTER: Technology minefield

 

Background Checks and the EEOC: Navigating the Minefield

Response:

I sincerely apologize to amyone who found the title offensive in any way. That was not my intent.

 

Insurance Policy Conditions (a/k/a/ Land Mines): Part 21 – “Intent” and the Fraud Condition

Danger! Beware of Legal Landmines in Your Company’s Records

 

In the event, not much changed.  Two authors (out of 21) will hopefully think twice before using terms like “landmine” and “minefield” in their writing, so I’ll call those wins, but the vast majority of comments went either unanswered or were not even posted by the moderator.  I did register new accounts with BDLive, the Huffington Post, the Yorkshire Post, Sunshine Coast Daily and Forbes.  I still feel like a scold, but I will embrace that role in the future.

 

Michael P. Moore

March 25, 2013

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3 Comments on “My Week as a Scold”

  1. PK Read says:

    I think notifying writers of words that have become used in a generic manner is always a good idea, and the ones who respond to you are really to be commended for paying attention and taking time to give more thought to their word use.

  2. Dear Michael,

    Ordinary people, caught up in their own lives, often need reminders about the overall world’s “big screen.” Thank you for being a scold.

    Warm wishes,
    Laurel Anne Hill, Moderator of the Minds Clearing Land Mines WordPress Blog

  3. Mike Kendellen says:

    Video gamers forum discusses whether landmines should be added to their game.

    http://forums.station.sony.com/ps2/index.php?threads/who-thinks-they-should-add-landmines.111170/

    Also, a forum was discussing whatever happened to Minesweeper, the game Microsoft used to install on every computer with Windows. One forum said Microsoft changed landmines to flowers after an anti-mine campaign in Italy complained. How many computers still have Minesweeper as a pre-installed game?


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