What Should Bloggers Apologize For and How?

Filed as Uncategorized on June 21, 2007 10:22 am

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Have you been put in a position to apologize for your blogging? For what you’ve written on your blog?

It’s important to many bloggers to never write anything that will be controversial or put them in a place to apologize for what they’ve published. Yet, many bloggers don’t get the point of the world “publish” when they hit the button and their posts are released to the world for all to see.

The thrill of getting the news out first or getting your thoughts out now seems to be more important than the consequences of your words visible on the screen for all to see and search engines and other services to cache and save forever.

So have you ever published something and then regretted it and had to apologize for your actions?

I believe there are times to apologize and times to not apologize for what you’ve written on your blog. Unfortunately, putting those down on paper is a little more difficult.

I do not believe you should apologize for publishing anything that you firmly believe in unless it meets the following conditions:

  1. Your intent was to purposely mislead others.
  2. It does harm.
  3. You want to publicly acknowledge a mistake.

I’m a huge advocate of the Star Trek Prime Directive, abbreviated to Do No Harm, but I’m also a big fan being the first in line to admit they screwed up, whether I did or not. I’ll take the heat.

If you say something that will harm someone, directly or indirectly, whether or not that was your intent, I think it’s best to take the hit instead of placing blame, but it’s a tough call to make. It usually means you have to be the “bigger” person in the decision process.

However, if you honestly believe in your opinion, the facts, the situation, and your stance on the subject doesn’t do harm, then do not apologize, even though others do not believe in you or your position. It’s your stance. Stand on it.

I believe, in general, never apologize for your writing. Fix it. Edit it. Make sure it always says what you want it to say, no matter how long ago it was published. But always apologize for being disrespectful.

Be the bigger blogger.

How to Apologize on Your Blog

How you apologize for your blog and your actions on your blog is also a difficult question to answer. Again, it depends.

The bigger the mistake or offense, the bigger and more public the apology, is the general rule of thumb to follow.

If you offended someone directly, then apologize directly to them privately. Edit the blog content accordingly.

If you offended a group of people, then apologize publicly in a new post, and edit your original blog post accordingly.

If you made a mistake, edit your blog post for the mistake and make no public comment. Thank the one who pointed it out privately.

If you made a mistake that has a big impact, edit your blog post and apologize on that post, not a new post, at the top or bottom of the blog post content.

To fix a mistake an error or reference on your blog post, you can either edit it directly, deleting the invalid information or reference, or use the strikeout or s HTML tag:

...as I was telling <s>Susan</s> Jane about
this yesterday...

or

...as I was telling <strike>Susan</strike> Jane about
this yesterday...

Different WordPress Themes and blog designs use one or the other, so test which one is set for your CSS stylesheet.

If the strikeout content has a link, remove the link if that is part of the error.

What do you think about this subject? Have you had to apologize for something you published on your blog, whether or not it was your fault?

Do you have any tips on how to apologize for your blog and blog writing?


Lorelle VanFossen blogs about blogging and WordPress on and author of Blogging Tips, Tips Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging.

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