Dear National Geographic: Help us help you


Yesterday morning, we pointed out a mistake on your site. Later in the day, you fixed the error — more than three weeks after it first appeared. (Here’s the cached version from December 12.)


Which makes us think you read our post.

First, thank you for caring about the quality and accuracy of what our Society is publishing, and for responding so quickly — once you realized you had a problem.

Second (as we noted yesterday), you didn’t post a correction note. In fact, you never do — not online, anyway. The pros do , and you should too.

Third, we know Society Matters has become regular reading for many of our friends at headquarters, so we know how to reach you. But what about other folks out here who spot an error at Where can they send their corrections? (Your site is an imposing, impenetrable, albeit very nice looking wall that continues to separate all of us from you.)

Here’s a simple solution: Join the Report An Error Alliance (RAE). It’s simple. You just install a little RAE graphic (or a button of your own design) on each page of the NGS site… link it to a Google form… and you’re in business. When someone spots a mistake on National Geographic’s site, s/he can click on the graphic… fill in the form… then you evaluate the information, and make whatever corrections might be necessary.

In the process, readers are encouraged to contribute, and have an easy way to do so, while they help improve the site. They’re empowered. Meanwhile, you get more engaged visitors, a higher quality editorial product, and email addresses of people who really care about the National Geographic Society. Everyone benefits. A “win-win,” as they say.

(Trying to practice what we preach, we just joined the Alliance. You’ll find our Report an Error button in our right sidebar, just below the search box.)

So, what do you say, You in?

NO NEW POSTS will be published here after February 6, 2014. THIS IS WHY.