When You Need to Recant a Post

Posted by on March 5, 2011 in Articles | 6 comments

We talked before about what to do when you make an error in a post, but what if the entire post is a mistake? There was recently an issue with someone in the author blogosphere that made some waves. No names or links mentioned, but the post was obviously written in a rant of wounded ego. At least, I hope that’s what it was, because anything else is just silly.

So how do you handle when your entire post turns out to be a failure? You’ve got angry comments coming in by the stacks. It’s being Tweeted, shared, and sent via smoke signal to everyone on the planet.

And deep down, you know you were wrong.

Some people will choose to stick to their barreled weapons. But be honest with yourself. Did you really handle the situation at the best of your ability?

Probably not.

First, turn off the comment feature. You are just fueling the heat-emitting combustion if you let people continue to converse about it on the board. Links are shared not just because of content, but because of the comments. People like controversy. Everyone wants their say.

And that’s fine. Up until a point. But when it’s time to clean up the mess, turn off the comments.

Now the next step is a bit debatable. Some people will say to remove the entire post, comments and all. Honestly, I think this continues to leave a bad image. Now we’re back to trying to cover the evidence.

But the evidence has already been slung around the globe. So you’re just coming off as someone who can undo everything with a delete button. And that’s not how it works.

I suggest doing one of two things. Either edit the blog post and write at the top, in bold, your formal apology. Or, if the post is really that destructive, edit the post, remove the previous article and write your formal apology and the reason you removed it.

Give a brief paragraph on what you had hoped to achieve with the post, why it failed, what you learned, and an apology to the specific people injured by the post as well as to everyone in general.

I’d suggest sending a formal one on your social network as well. These are the people who support you.

Of course, the best way to handle the situation is to never let it arise to begin with. We’ll talk next time about bad blogging behavior, but remember that the character of an Overlord isn’t always shown by what happens, but how they handle it.

If you were the object of an unjust negative post, how would you expect the blogger to make amends?

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  • http://plbjourney.blogspot.com/ Patricia Beaudin

    Wow, never much thought about this. I like your advice though, very wise and insightful. Will keep in mind incase I ever stick my foot in my mouth.

    • rainy

      Thanks :) Hopefully no one will need any of that post, but there’s been a few that really should’ve read and, uhm, followed it 😀 I think most bloggers are fine if they don’t let their, eh, passion, get the best of them.

  • http://annemhairisimpson.wordpress.com Anne-Mhairi

    Well said. The best option is to not rant in public at all. But your suggestions above would definitely be the next best thing. If you screw up, own up. Take responsibility for your actions. End of.

    • rainy


  • http://quenarth.blogspot.com Anne

    I have not had any cause to do this yet, but this is my ‘game plan’ if I should ever need to recant something:

    At the top of the post, I’ll issue first an explanation of why I shouldn’t have said what I said. And then an apology.

    I would then use strike-through, and put lines through all of the offensive sentences of the post.

    This way, readers can still see what I did wrong. But they can also see by my strike-through that I no longer agree with it.

    • rainy

      Thanks for the comment! Sounds like a good plan :)