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A note[edit]


I removed most of this entry. It was largely a combination of a less than fruitful attempt at a general-purpose definition of "error" and random trivia from a number of disciplines. Some particular comments:

An industry, insurance, has grown up to protect both victims and perpetrators from the baleful effects of error.

Removed this silly claim. Many kinds of insurance are designed not to protect you from error, but from "acts of God", such as fires and floods. Unless you mean to call God and/or "the Universe" a source of "error". Insurance protects you from many things that are not error, including chance and intentional malice.

Errors occur naturally, for example, an error in the replication of genetic material will result in a mutation, probably an unfavorable one.

Removed. Not NPOV. Whether errors occur "naturally" is entirely a matter of philosophical perspective. There is certainly a perspective from which anything natural is, by definition, free of error. In the case of genetics, you can only regard mutation as an "error" if you take as given that nature "wants" its replication processes to be exact replication processes.

Irrespectively of their inevitability, at law the fiction is maintained that an error is a wrong, negligence, a tort, for which anyone who suffers damage as the result thereof must be compensated by the perpetrator.

That's nice. Why can't this be in an article about law?

--Ryguasu 09:16 Nov 12, 2002 (UTC)

How about a section for Human Error? I would base it on the book of the same name written by James Reason. I may try it soon, but I don't currently have a copy of the book (an article on the book and its author would also be nice), but if anyone else wants to take a crack, give it a go. Spalding 16:01, Oct 10, 2004 (UTC)


Accidents are often caused when a chain of errors occur that bypass safety countermeasures.

This applies most particularly in the fieds of transportation.

Syd1435 06:04, 2004 Nov 11 (UTC)

Software Engineering[edit]

I've never edited the wikipedia before and so don't know the protocols ... so when in doubt communicate (and be gentle with me if I have done wrong :-) The prior discussion described the term "fault" to be a bug. This is (a) wrong and (b) and ignores the critical distinction (widely recognized in availability engineering) between design elements that predispose a system to error (defects) and the conditions or events that exercise the defects (faults). The distinction is important, not merely for precision of communication, but has very practical value in that some things (that are technically referred to as defects) are nearly impossible to eliminate, and it is more practical to deal with the risk of failure by preventing the faults (which while less robust can be equally effective). For example, it is (in reliability parlance) a "defect" that human beings are so easily killed by bullets, so we attempt to reduce the likelihood of error (people being damaged by bullets) and failure (death or disability) by reducing the likelihood of fault-events (regulating fire-arms and wearing body armor).

There is another discussion that I only started ... but chose not to take deeper for fear of doing more harm than good. In hierarchical systems, we often use the term "error" to describe behavior that is entirely within specifications. When a degraded signal makes it impossible to recover data from a disk, the software in the controller detects this failure (through error detecting data encoding) and includes, in the request completion information, a description of the data read error. The disk controller is functioning exactly as specified ... which means that this does not (technically) qualify as an error. I mentioned that in hierarchical systems an error or failure at level N can turn into a fault at the next level up. I did not (for fear of muddying the waters) say that such faults are also usually referred to as errors.

MarkKampe 17:50, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Headings should not be links[edit]

Don't all these headings violate this guideline? Shouldn't we move the links into the sections? Spalding 03:28, 24 February 2006 (UTC)


I suggest merging gaffe into this article. --Dangherous 09:16, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

  • Whoever put the picture of the train wreck, I think that is a great illustration! Oops!
    • I nearly soiled myself! Dorfl 17:55, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

I hate to bring up things not related to improving articles...[edit]

but the first impression when this article loads, with that picture of the train wreck at Montparnasse is priceless. —Dylan Lake (t·c·ε) 00:55, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. Nothing quite says "Gosh, it appears we have an error here!" like that picture :) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 02:51, 9 January 2007 (UTC).

Oluwasegunjeg 18:03, 7 February 2007 (UTC)segun

That picture[edit]

I just had to laugh when I saw that train picture at the top of the page! It was funny, and it also made me think of Uncyclopedia. Good job, whoever did that! (But in all seriousness, it clearly tells the reader what and error is.) - dogman15 01:57, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

I loved the picture but it led to the neglect of error in the sense "the error of your ways", human moral error or departure from social norms. The article had stated that error was predominantly about a gap between intended and actual result. That didn't even fit statistical and experimental error or some of the other technical, scientific, and engineering uses, e.g., in control theory. DCDuring 17:57, 12 September 2007 (UTC)


The pronunciation "'erə" was cited for the word. A pronunciation guide for such a basic word doesn't really need to be there at all, and it is only one of a couple of very common pronunciations of the word. The one given is also one pronunciation of "era" and is used by r-droppers.--Jeffro77 22:30, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Other Senses of Error[edit]

Error does not just derive from a gap between intended and actual consequence. (experimental error and gaffe didn't fit.) It can also be a gap between actual behavior and the norm or expectation for that behavior. Expectation needed for something like experimental error; norm needed for social gaffes. Also, I don't want to make this article into a discussion of moral error, but there was a problem IMHO because we had excluded a class of errors in human behavior. (Not just human, in principle: It could be any morally responsible entity, but I can't think of others outside of fiction.) Departures from socially given or religious norms are errors, too. I don't see how we can sensible have gaffes included and "moral" error excluded. I would want to continue the practice of referring to other articles for fuller explanations. I'm not sure that I would know how to get citations if parts of this article were challenged. Is this article even encyclopedic? DCDuring 18:10, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Cardinal Error[edit]

not jet described ? -- (talk) 12:55, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

I believe it to be a mistake to label this page as the error page, as I believe the word mistake to be a better choice; however, it is no mistake to think differently about this. Wise Raven) 3:43 31 August 2013 —Preceding undated comment added 02:43, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Error in the article (?)[edit]

The article first describes "error" as being opposed to mistakes (disambig link BTW), and then start to speak of gaffes as mistakes. I'm not actually sure that mistakes aren't errors (more citations needed), so the article confuses (is a confusion an error, or is it a concept that causes errors?) errors and mistakes by providing two taxonomies, first by explicit definition:

  • something:
    • error,
    • mistake,

and then by implication the incompatible:

  • error:
    • mistake
      • gaffe

... More sources needed! Said: Rursus 10:03, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

I think the problem could be solved thus: since error per psychology might reside in a different position in a different taxotree in f.ex. psychology, in comparison to in f.ex. linguistics, in logics and philosophy, it might be possible to find what X-ology uses it how. Said: Rursus 10:18, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Here's what the first paragraph now says:

An error is any difference between actual behavior or measurement and the norms or expectations for the behavior or measurement. The concrete meaning of the Latin word error means "ramble" or "misconception", although the metaphorical meaning "mistake, misapprehension" is more common.

I think this is nonsense. That may be the meaning of the word "error" in some fairly specific contexts, but it is wrong to say that all other senses or the word or instances of errors are merely metaphorically errors. Michael Hardy (talk) 23:28, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

I thought of replacing the current nonsensical first paragraph with the latest older version that was different. That's from all the way back last October, and it's so completely philosophically one-sided POV bullshit that that would be unconscionable. Michael Hardy (talk) 20:00, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

File:Calendar error.jpg Nominated for speedy Deletion[edit]

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Error & Failure Wikipedia articles[edit]

Anyone notice these two articles have the same image in the same place?-- (talk) 20:11, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Error is not crash[edit]

Error is suppose to mean that something has been a major problem Instead it showed a train crashed and is not supposed to make sense in the sentence. the word crashed is not a reference to error when is supposed to mean like to fall or to break something or anything else that caused major problems. or it can mean that the operating system (you can call them "OS" for short) had crashed here's a wiki page about crash screens (or screen of death or SoD) and all about them in consoles or in OS's File:Screens of deaths