The Thing About Apologies and Being a Dick

Sometimes I act like a dick. We all have at some point, but that does not excuse nor lessen dickishness.

I did this pretty recently (as in a couple hours ago). Oh Internets, how you shorten time so drastically.

It all began with someone on Twitter appearing to claim that I recommended his website:

kendawes: RT @ArachneJericho: @mightymur #wordpress The Web Mechanic’s “10 Steps to WordPress Security Protection” http://nn.nf/1bfop [link]

I never tweeted that to Mur Lafferty (who had a site hacked, unfortunately). The RT above appears to claim I did. Perhaps it was an innocent mistake; some Twitter client software (like Tweetdeck, which Ken Dawes used) like to automate things a little too much.

So I asked Ken Dawes why he had done this:

arachnejericho: @kendawes I never tweeted that. I don’t know why you’re claiming I did. @mightymur [link]

Which was fine, sort of; I shouldn’t have acted like he meant it when it was quite possible this was just a misunderstanding/mistyping/whatnot.

And what really wasn’t fine was when I went immediately off the deep end, for reasons I’m not quite sure of—though regardless, if they were there, they were neither relevant nor good reasons.

Here’s me, a complete idiot with over-aggressive tendencies, going off the deep end:

arachnejericho: .@kendawes OH, I get it. You’re a spammer. I never recommended you for WordPress security advice, much less payment for such. I never will. [link]

arachnejericho: OH FFS. Now other people are claiming I RT’d you, @kendawes. I would not recommend you if you were the last guy on earth who knew this stuff [link]

(Context for the second tweet: a retweet bot had picked up on the keywords involved in Ken Dawes’ tweet.)

To which Ken Dawes replied:

kendawes: @ArachneJericho Yep I don’t know you either… However I don’t speak poorly of those I don’t even know [link]

kendawes: @ArachneJericho Nor am I responsible for what others retweet … By the way… The wordpress tips are offered for free Get a life! [link]

And really, I deserved all that he said. I made assumptions that were grossly incorrect (e.g., that he charged for his services, when he didn’t; although web traffic driving is another concern, but not anywhere in the same league) and assumed he was spamming, when he wasn’t. Even if he had mis-represented me earlier intentionally, he did not deserve that heap of abuse I heaped upon him.

Big failure on my part. I sent him the question again (why the claim) and an apology as well, although it is really a half-arsed one, but 140 characters is occasionally difficult to deal with:

arachnejericho: @kendawes I don’t take kindly to others putting words in my mouth. You did. You never apologized even when I brought it to your attention. [link]

arachnejericho: .@kendawes However, I do agree that I took things too far and insulted you for no good reason. For that, I apologize. [link]

However, note that I still acted like a dick. Which, no matter how justified it might actually be—and there’s a possibility it’s not in this case, everything being a mistake and all—is a dickish thing to do. You’d think I’d have learned from previous, vicarious observations of Internet conversations… but no, I had to be a dick multiple times, even with an apology.

So here is a real apology for my over-responsive dickishness:

Dear Ken Dawes,

My sincerest apologies for acting like a dick to you for one single tweet, which was most likely a mistake. However, whether or not that was the case, I completely over-reacted and made idiotic assumptions about you from that single tweet.

If I had thought about it further, I should have just shrugged and let it pass, because, you know, it’s not a big thing.

However, I chose instead to act like a dick. And that was stupid.

I am sorry I acted like a dick. I will keep this in mind next time, and do my best to not be a dick in similar situations.

Of course, it would have helped tons for me to not have over-reacted to little niggling things in the first place.

Sincerely,
Arachne Jericho

And perhaps I’m over-reacting, but hell, I over-reacted in the first place anyways. And perhaps someone will claim that this is all just an attempt to bring about attention on myself, because I’m just an attention whore and sick in the head; well, all I can say is that I’m not, and I simply just feel horrible whenever I over-step and act like a dick. Maybe over-horribly.

Anyways, there are two more tenets about Internet conversation I should keep in mind (and should have kept in mind):

  1. Bringing about a situation in which another party feels you did them harm, whether or not it is “true”, whether or not they would care about your apology, is being a dick.

  2. Even if you apologize, you should never expect the apology to be accepted. Because you were being a dick. But not making the apology in the first place… is being more of a dick.

However, that all still boils down to: “Don’t be a dick.”

And there we are.

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4 thoughts on “The Thing About Apologies and Being a Dick

  1. Woah

    You mean you’re not perfect? You’re like, human, and flawed, and tryint to muddle along like the rest of us and do you best?

    You did good. Feel better, OK?

  2. Yep, none of us is perfect… Though for some reason I always like to think I’m more perfect than I am.

    When I saw your conversation with Mur Lafferty about his hacked site, I wanted to offer him some tips to help keep his site from being re-hacked.

    I was lazy…

    In Tweetdeck I just clicked on “retweet” for a tweet between you and Mur, stripped off the conversation and tipped in my message and link to my WP protection tips…. I neglected to strip out both the “RT” and @arachnejericho.

    That was an error on my part… and I do apologize to you. No excuse for being lazy.

    Re “Website driving” Yes, I do that with posts like these. I know that. Working on websites is my business and for better or worse twitter is part of my marketing.

    However, I never send a tweet to anyone about content on my website and then give them a “bait and switch” with information that will cost them to get it… I hate it when that’s done to me and I don’t want to to it to anyone.

    If folks look at what I have offered, and then decide that it’s over their head and want me to do work for them… Well, that’s business. And I welcome it.

    I try to provide good content for WordPress’ers. There are many who get overwhelmed with getting their WP going and just need a little assistance.

    One of the Tweets I do send regularly is my “WordPress Wednesday” tweet. On Wednesdays I ask for folks’ WP questions or if they have problems and if I can solve it in 15-20 min, I do.. Gratis.

    Once again, besides being a “nice guy” and trying to help out, which I honestly enjoy doing, it’s marketing too. I may not get any business from them… but they will mention me to their acquaintances who may have need to hire me… I see so many screwed up WordPress installations done by “professionals” that I need to fix…

    So, with the hatchet buried, I offer my hand to shake…

  3. Hello Ken Dawes,

    Thank you for your apology, and I’m glad you accepted mine. And I’m glad you’re a good guy.

    *shakes your hand*

    Another thing: Mur is a woman :) she writes cool fiction and podcasts.

    I know what you mean about WordPress installs going wrong and suchlike; and security tips are always important.

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