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Wednesday, May 04, 2016

An Error That Was Not an Error

This is Steven Petrick posting.

We got to the point in the Captain's Log #51 process where I needed to do the final review of the Federation Commander battle groups. These had all been submitted months earlier, reviewed, formatted and placed into a file just for this moment.

So what could possibly go wrong?

As I was re-reading the first one (to thus confirm that any corrections Jean had called for had not somehow changed the meaning), I ran into references of about the use of phaser-4s.

Wait a minute, phaser-4s . . . on a mobile base?

How had I failed to catch that when I originally formatted the file? Maybe Federation Commander mobile bases have phaser-4s? A quick check of the card and . . . no, no phaser-4s.

So I had to go to SVC and tell him that the a battle group was wrong, and if I could not get the author to submit a replacement by Saturday, we were going to have to drop a couple of pages of the article and  have to find something to fill those pages.

I went back to my office, asking myself over and over again how I had not noticed those references to phaser-4s when I formatted and reviewed the article six months earlier. I had a vague memory of checking the mobile base ship card back then for some reason; had I noted the error then and forgotten to ask the author for a revision when there was plenty of time?

With the battle forces obviously going to be a problem, I chose to skip ahead and read the battle force scenarios. And in the scenario for the battle force article was a note that for purposes of the scenario and to make sure everyone was facing the same problem, the mobile bases in the scenario would have 360° phaser-4s in their two option mounts.

In short, I thought I had found an error, but I was mistaken.

At least I got to go back to SVC and tell him there was no problem with the Federation Commander battle group article. Better having seen the mention of the phaser-4s in the option mounts, it triggered my memory that I HAD looked at the mobile base card back then, it was why the phaser-4s were there because I had noted the option boxes and settled on the phaser-4s as a simple solution for the scenario (rather than telling each player to pick some weapons and then having to tell his opponent what weapons he had picked).