08 February 2013

Hosting An Ethical Blog Part 2 - Mistakes

A blog can be a personal diary, corporate communications, journalistic news, opinion articles, product reviews, advice column, etc.. No matter what topic is covered in a blog, it is important to do it ethically. With the impermanence and alterability of text and images, it is more important than ever to be ethical in handling mistakes on your blog.

These three tips will help you be ethical in managing mistakes:
  1. Admit mistakes. Humans are fallible, so we all make mistakes. It may be momentarily embarrassing when an error is pointed out to you, sometimes repeatedly by blog commenters, but instead of reacting defensively and insisting you didn't make a mistake, gracefully accept the correction and admit you made an error. If someone blasts you for making a mistake and you respond in a professional manner, he will look bad, not you.

  2. Correct mistakes. Based upon the ethical guidelines of your industry, fix your mistakes. Sometimes you can simply directly fix the text or image, such as a misspelling or wrong image link. I've seen some bloggers use the strikethru strikethrough font style. If the mistake requires an explanation or seriously changes the content or context of a post, it is better to add an "Update" or "Correction" paragraph at the beginning or end of the post. Magazines and newspapers have an "Errata" section where they make corrections to previously published articles, but I don't recommend this method unless you make many corrections and it is both prominent and frequently used by you and your audience.

  3. Don't hide mistakes. You don't have to shout mea culpa for every small error, but pretending you didn't make, then correct, a mistake will negatively impact your believability and the trust your audience has in you. Also, hiding a mistake will make comments pointing out the error seem out of place.  If you correct a mistake, don't delete comments relating to the error, otherwise your commenters may accuse you of being deceptive.