6

In my previous question, I asked about how to deal with the Streisand Effect as a community. This is how to deal with it as a single community user. A brief summary of the situation:

A user in my community did something that brought the wrath of the internet down on the community. From my point of view, it was a simple wording mistake. This was pointed out to the user, who then edited their word choice. The community provided a few simple responses and the topic faded off our radar. Two days later the post was linked on multiple external sites with commentary on the original version of the post, not the changes that had been made and posted for nearly 36 hours. These comments were not flattering at all. To make matters worse, it was pointed out that the post had "been changed since this was reported", which drew even more traffic and negativity.

While much of the responses were directed at the community for "covering up" for the original user, this didn't eliminate several responses from going directly after the user. The user's email, Facebook and Twitter accounts were filled with awful, vile, posts and threats. There were non-subtle attempts at intimidation by posting home address, phone numbers and names of family members. The user is legitimately scared and has decided to not utilize the internet for weeks at this point.

As a community, I suspect we can continue to whether this internet fury better than a single user can. How can a single user, who made and corrected a small mistake, properly deal with the Streisand effect without further angering the internet at large?

Meta: I think this one needs something like 'streisand-effect' as well.

6

Given that 'the internet' seems to be very sensitive to anything resembling 'censorship', simply editing the original text may not be enough.

I would leave the original text in, strike it through, add the new text, and then add some sort of 'disclaimer' specifying why you did so:

It recently came to my attention that some rotten tomatoes overripe vegetables*, in an attempt to ...., .....

* I realize that my usage of the words 'rotten tomatoes' may come across to some people as racist. In no way did I mean to suggest there is anything wrong with these kind of tomatoes.
We even have an entire website dedicated to them.

Whether this will actually prevent the backlash, you can never tell. There will always be individuals that feel offended and think they must react. But at least you will have some sort of 'full disclosure' that shows you realized you made a mistake, corrected it, and are willing to show the relevant 'history'. This will reduce the number of knee-jerk reactions.

The same goes for my example of putting some humor into the correction: there will be a subgroup that has a negative opinion about that.
But anything that reduces the indignant group size is what you need.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.