Everyone’s got a pet peeve when it comes to grammar, but one man’s quest to rid Wikipedia of the phrase “comprised of” has made him into something of an Internet sensation.
The story comes courtesy of Medium. Wikimedia Foundation employees did an extensive search to find their elusive hero: Giraffedata.
Turns out “comprised of” is technically grammatically incorrect. More accurate is “composed of” or “consists of.”
“I don’t think he wakes up in the morning and says, ‘I’m gonna serve widows in Africa with the sum of all human knowledge,’ ” said Wikimedia’s Steven Walling at a 2012 conference. “He wakes up and says, ‘Those fuckers — they messed it up again!’ ”
Sort of a Wiki-Superstar, Giraffedata is 51-year-old software engineer Bryan Henderson, and is one of the site’s top 1,000 most active editors. He’s made more than 47,000 edits since 2007, virtually all addressing the misuse of “comprised of.”
“I’m proud of it,” Henderson told Medium. “It’s just fun for me. I’m not doing it to have any impact on the world.”
How does he do it? Every Sunday, he has a routine, including a software program he wrote himself, that helps him fix about 70 to 80 new errors every week. It takes about an hour.
Talk about attention to detail. Hats off to you, Giraffedata.