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Mar 29 2013

How to Apologize

Really, this is how you do it:

We made a mistake. It’s important as a website that readers can trust that we are up front when this happens, and willing to admit to our failings, and promise to address them. And as recently as last week, Rock, Paper, Shotgun let a woman write an article. We would like to apologise to our readers for any offence caused.

Well, it’s how you do it when you don’t mean a word of it, anyway.

10 comments

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  1. 1
    Claus Larsen

    Stephanie,

    What would you consider an appropriate apology, for a given offense?

  2. 2
    Stephanie Zvan

    Claus, I’m approving this so people can see the kind of question people think it’s appropriate to ask me and expect me to answer. Just off the top of my head, I see that your comment (1) has nothing to do with the post linked; (2) comes from someone who doesn’t value my opinion and is, thus, asking for some other reason he did not see fit to share; (3) indicates that I’m expected to stop what I’m doing and provide you information about the inside of my head for no benefit to me; and (4) is meaningless. What is “a given offense” that I could possibly come up with any sort of reasonable answer?

    Don’t answer that question, by the way, Claus. I didn’t ask it for your benefit.

  3. 3
    Stacy

    That “apology” is a satiric gem!

    Claus, protip: playing “gotcha” based on key words makes you look really stupid. You don’t want to look stupid, do you? So don’t do that.

    If you can’t help yourself from playing “gotcha,” at least, next time, read the link first.

  4. 4
    freemage

    As a complete non-reader of game websites, I was vastly amused by that column–magnificent satire. And going on to the comments below, I can see what motivated it.

  5. 5
    oolon

    Wow, first comment… I was thinking this would elicit a dumb response but that is pretty impressive.

    He should read the linked to post, that was a great apology, works for all offences imaginable :-)

  6. 6
    Randomfactor

    don’t do that.

    Do you have any idea how much trouble you can get into with those three words?

  7. 7
    Jacob Schmidt

    Cripes, Clause, it’s not even a good gotcha question. “I fucked up, I’m sorry” will cover most of them.

    But yeah, the RPS article was hilarious.

  8. 8
    Eristae

    @Stephanie Zvan/2

    No, no, no. Don’t you see? You need to read Claus’s question charitably; to say that his post is off topic, that he doesn’t value your opinion, that he wants you to stop doing what you’re doing to provide him with information, and that his post is meaningless is simply not true.

    “A given offense” is clearly “letting a woman write an article.” Claus wants to know what you would consider an appropriate apology for letting a woman write an article, something I think we are all wondering.

    . . . what? Why are you all looking at me like that?!

  9. 9
    Marcus Ranum

    When I was a kid my mom told me (a couple times) “apologies must utterly omit the word ‘but’.” I love my mom, she’s awesome.

  10. 10
    left0ver1under

    See also: Ben Carson and his not-pology this week after equating gay marriage to bestiality. Carson didn’t regret saying it, he regretted getting caught and called out for it, and said “those who were offended” were at fault.

    Off the top of my head, this is what an apology is and what an apology isn’t.

    1) An apology is an admission of error, not an attempt to excuse it.

    2) An apology involves accepting blame, not shifting it.

    3) An apology is saying “I shouldn’t have offended you”, it is NOT saying “You shouldn’t feel offended.”

    Can anybody add to, amend or improve that list?

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