Friday, June 21, 2013

On Admitting Mistakes

I'm sure you've heard about the Kickstarter crap that blew up in the last couple of days.  Namely, that Kickstarter was funding a "seduction guide" which, at heart, boiled down to a guide to dating which advocated sexual harrassment and sexual assault.  My only note on this part of the issue is this: under no circumstances should you ever assume that touching someone or resorting to "physical escalation" is okay without first actually obtaining consent.  Some people don't even like being touched, let alone being pulled onto a stranger's lap, having their hair pulled, or any number of the displays of "dominance" this guide suggests.  Do not act first and ask questions later -- "physical escalation" without freely-given consent isn't "awesome" or sexy; it's sexual assault.

What I'm posting about is something that Microsoft did earlier in the week and Kickstarter did today: admitting they're wrong.  In the aftermath of a horrible backlash to the announcement of the DRM requirements on the new Xbox One console, Microsoft very publicly admitted their mistake and, after advice from gamers and users, removed the DRM from the console release.  And today, Kickstarter posted a public apology on their blog and made a $25,000 donation to RAINN in an attempt to reconcile their bad decision to fund the project mentioned above.

Is there a skeptical part of me that thinks these actions were only driven by the need to keep potential investors and users from refusing to spend money?  Absolutely.  But do I think there's something very brave and admirable about a company publicly admitting that they "done goofed"?  Absolutely.

My family and many of my friends will be the first to tell you that I am horrible about admitting when I'm wrong.  The thing is that many people (I have even heard this about the two previously-mentioned incidents) consider apologizing or admitting mistakes as a sign of weakness.  Which I don't understand.  The mistake may have been a weakness, but admitting that it happened and trying to make up for it is not.  If anything, trying to hide from those mistakes is a sign of cowardice, which is probably an even larger weakness.  And the ability to listen to criticism, change your course of action, and come forward and say "our first idea wasn't great and we're trying to do better" is not only admirable -- it's something I want to get better at.  Everybody has faults and makes mistakes, and it's about time we start respecting people for admitting they were wrong.

Faultily yours,
Rachel Leigh

3 comments:

  1. Solid read. Microsoft still needs work.

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  2. People suck but you my dear are not all that bad at being wrong.....and besides you so rarely are!

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  3. Thank you both so much! I always appreciate some feedback. And as for my anonymous friend -- thank you, I'm definitely trying to be better about it!

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