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 Forum index » Meta » Glossary
Red herring
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Valfreya
Boot

Joined: 07 Jan 2005
Posts: 23
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

 Red herring

Would someone better - at english than I am - please describe this?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 4:50 pm
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Dorkmaster
Unfictologist


Joined: 27 Jul 2004
Posts: 1328
Location: The People's Republic of Dork

A Red Herring is a trail or a theory that is mildly supported, but incorrect.


A Herring is a fish. My understanding of the origin of this term is that when dogs were used to hunt down criminals, if they threw a red herring (a fish) down one path, but the criminal went down another, the dogs would falsely follow the scent of the food, not the criminal. So the idea is that a "red herring" leads you the wrong way...

Does that make sense?

EDIT: If I'm wrong here, please correct me and I'll be glad to clear this post. I don't have time (at work) to investigate the origins, but that was what I had been told long ago.
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"The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet." -William Gibson
"Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it." - PJ O'Rourke
"ACADEMY, n. A modern school where football is taught." - Ambrose Bierce


PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 5:23 pm
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Varin
I Have No Life


Joined: 02 Dec 2002
Posts: 2456
Location: South of where I used to be

Dorkmaster wrote:
A Red Herring is a trail or a theory that is mildly supported, but incorrect.


Also, a misdirection or distraction sometimes included in the puzzle by a PM. This is sometimes intentional and sometimes the result of the puzzlers just obsessing over the wrong clues Wink Also, in a few of the puzzle hunts I've played, players have posted red herring theories with the intention of throwing their competition off track of the correct answer so that they have a better chance of winning.


Quote:
A Herring is a fish. My understanding of the origin of this term is that when dogs were used to hunt down criminals, if they threw a red herring (a fish) down one path, but the criminal went down another, the dogs would falsely follow the scent of the food, not the criminal. So the idea is that a "red herring" leads you the wrong way...

Does that make sense?


Wow, I never knew that. Makes sense to me.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 5:50 pm
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Dorkmaster
Unfictologist


Joined: 27 Jul 2004
Posts: 1328
Location: The People's Republic of Dork

Ok, work died down, so I did research. First topic googled under "red herring origin" and I get this, so I guess I was right.
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"The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet." -William Gibson
"Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it." - PJ O'Rourke
"ACADEMY, n. A modern school where football is taught." - Ambrose Bierce


PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 6:20 pm
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Arbitrary_Moss
Decorated


Joined: 05 Feb 2005
Posts: 175
Location: At the moment? Here

Please, do correct me if I'm mistaken, but... I beleive that the herring was indeed red because it was cured?
~Mossy
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'Life is distracting and uncertain,'
She said, and went to draw the curtain.
~Edward Gorey, The Eleventh Episode

... what can I say? I'm a Gorey girl at heart.

Life's just a bowl of... syntax errors.


PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 10:20 pm
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SpaceBass
The BADministrator


Joined: 20 Sep 2002
Posts: 2701
Location: pellucidar

Dorkmaster's link appears to agree with you.
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 1:45 am
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Arbitrary_Moss
Decorated


Joined: 05 Feb 2005
Posts: 175
Location: At the moment? Here

Oh wow. Didn't even see the link. Embarassed I think I'm going blind... No, wait. I know I'm going blind.
~Blinded Mossy
_________________
'Life is distracting and uncertain,'
She said, and went to draw the curtain.
~Edward Gorey, The Eleventh Episode

... what can I say? I'm a Gorey girl at heart.

Life's just a bowl of... syntax errors.


PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 11:17 am
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addlepated
Unfictologist


Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Posts: 1885
Location: Austin, Texas

As long as your palms aren't hairy, you should be okay.

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 10:01 pm
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MageSteff
Pretty talky there aintcha, Talky?


Joined: 06 Jun 2003
Posts: 2716
Location: State of Denial

Arbitrary_Moss wrote:
Oh wow. Didn't even see the link. Embarassed I think I'm going blind... No, wait. I know I'm going blind.
~Blinded Mossy



You were warned about that by your parents.

.
..
...
..
.


I was talking about reading without good lighting!
Sheesh!!! Wha'd ya think I was talking about?
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Magesteff
A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead


PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 4:46 pm
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Dorkmaster
Unfictologist


Joined: 27 Jul 2004
Posts: 1328
Location: The People's Republic of Dork

Ah Magesteff! I love that you come into a months-old conversation, and continue the line of juvenile joking. (I'm totally being serious, by the way... I'm a total dorky joke fiend, as my sig illuminates...)

Yay for jokes! Yay for Magesteff! Yay for "red herring" having (hopefully) nothing to do with the rest of this thead beyond the first couple posts!
_________________
"The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet." -William Gibson
"Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it." - PJ O'Rourke
"ACADEMY, n. A modern school where football is taught." - Ambrose Bierce


PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 7:21 pm
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oliverkeers13
Entrenched


Joined: 23 May 2005
Posts: 917
Location: London, UK

THis is exactly the sort of situation where the beating vagina emoticon would be useful to fight back the onanists! We Are WOman, Hear Us Roar! Meow!
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 7:29 pm
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Dorkmaster
Unfictologist


Joined: 27 Jul 2004
Posts: 1328
Location: The People's Republic of Dork

Ok, was I the only person who tried to figure out the anagram of:

THWAWOHURM

? Rolling Eyes
_________________
"The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet." -William Gibson
"Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it." - PJ O'Rourke
"ACADEMY, n. A modern school where football is taught." - Ambrose Bierce


PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 7:48 pm
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Rolerbe
Unfettered


Joined: 01 Mar 2005
Posts: 330
Location: North America

Curious useless factoid: In the world of finance, a 'Red Herring' refers to the stock prospectus sent out by a company on the verge of an IPO. This comes about (I think) because some of the key info (ie. very specific financial details) are printed in red ink and are subject to change right up until the IPO event.

Seems to have nothing to do with the traditional usage of the phrase as listed above, but then again, in today's world of dubious corporate values, maybe it does?!
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:00 pm
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