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Be aware of errors


When seeing or hearing information on the internet, or anywhere else for that matter, there are some errors you should be aware of and learn to watch for so you are not misled.

Basic errors

Some basic errors you may encounter.
  • Error of exact quotation. This error may cause misinterpretation due to a writer's mistranslation, translation set in an incorrect cultural context, or a translation by a person who was not the originator. This error may be found in histories that delve into taekwondo's ancient, poorly documented past.
  • Error of selective compilation. This error arises when a writer's personal beliefs cause a stressing of certain points, sometimes unconsciously. Ideas may be taken out of context and opposing views may be diminished or eliminated. This may be seen when a writer is justifying the reason his or her art does things, such as a stance or kick, in a particular way.
  • Error of fiction versus fact. This error arises from accepting information from reputable sources as fact when it may be an elaboration or even a lie. Just because a person is a "master" does not mean the person knows what he or she is talking about.
  • Error of cultural bias. This error arises when a writer attributes one culture's values to another culture's actions. This may be seen when an American taekwondo writer is commenting on the way Korean taekwondo students are trained.
  • Error of false assignations. This error arises from a writer incorrectly attributing or misplacing sources. Writers should always try to correctly identify sources of information.
  • Error of attributions of purpose. This error arises from a writer attempting to determine the reasons or purposes for the information, and in doing so, interjects opinion. It is difficult for a writer to eliminate opinion when discussing a subject that he or she is interested or passionate about.
  • Error of observer bias. This error arises when a writer attempts to determine bias on the part of the originator of the source. This error may be seen when a writer discusses how another writer is showing bias in his or her martial art.
  • Error of mixed homonyms. This error arises when the writer confuses homonyms by thinking that a word means the same thing as another word that is written or sounds the same as the first word. For example, the story of a master who killed boars with his bare hands was actually a story about a martial arts psychopath who killed inconsiderate boors at a bar using his bear shaped hands.
  • Error of fallacious grouping. This error arises when the writer clumps persons or ideas into a group and then attributes special values to the group. This error may be seen when a writer clumps all practitioners of an art into a group, such as sport tournament fighters, and then makes derogatory remarks about the group.
  • The Secular Web. [Online]. Available: [2005, October 4].
  • Downes, S. Stephen Downes Guide to the Logical Fallacies. [Online]. Available: [2005, October 4].

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