Alister Cameron // Blogologist

Changing the world. One blog(ger) at a time.

I really screwed up and I’m sorry.

Blogging is a strange beast sometimes. I posted a while back about “blog rage” only to personify the spirit of it myself a few days ago with my post about getting others to write blog comments on your behalf.

I think I was wrong with pretty much every angle I took with that story, and I want to apologise sincerely to anyone and everyone who was in any way offended. I am aware I have caused offense and I deeply regret that.

Specifically:

  • I burned someone to make a point. That’s not my normal approach at all and I don’t know why I did it this time. The point could have been made without highlighting the blogger in question. Perhaps I felt some sense of justification out of the fact that I would teach someone being silly a lesson… not that that is my place, anyway. What I subsequently was told was that the guy is innocent, and there was no solicitation of proxy comment-writing. I’m sorry, Stu, for having shown such disregard towards you.
  • I picked on someone for writing badly in English. The problem here is that it was not someone who deserved my belting. I had a picture in my mind of someone doing a sloppy job because they just didn’t care, but the opposite was true. I’m sorry, Bev, for hurting you.
  • I appeared to despise Filipino people. On this count I am guilty of stupidly repeating the point that the commenter was from the Philippines, leading to the fairly reasonable conclusion that I don’t like people from that country. I regret this a lot. While I don’t believe there is any sense in editing the post (it’s bad blogging practice to do that), I do nonetheless want to make it clear that I regret how I worded my post. My intention was to emphasize the commenter’s failure to accurately represent their client, but I stupidly made it look like I was tying this to nationality.

So what have I learned from this?

I’ve learned that I need to be a lot more clear with myself about my “blogging ethics”. I allowed myself to burn some people to make a point. I won’t do that again. I went public before going to the person privately. I won’t do that again either. What other ethical boundaries do I need to clarify for myself? I’m thinking about that a lot right now.

I’ve also learned that when I’m tired and stressed, it’s not a good time to “post under pressure”. It’s not a good time to do a lot of things, frankly… but as regards blogging, I should have saved a draft, gone off and had a good sleep (or walk or whatever), and then had a fresh look at it the next day.

Finally, I’ve observed in myself a certain initial resistance to wanting to admit my fault. I’m saddened to have seen that in myself. I initially tried to justify the rightness of my post to myself, which was my pride and arrogance speaking, I suppose. Thanks, then, to those who have posted their criticisms and have helped me to see this clearly.

To repeat: I want to say to Jayvee, Ranel, Marc and any other Filipino friends, associates and bloggers that I am sorry for the inferred racism. I didn’t intend for that but I fully see why people are reading it that way. And I am very sorry to Stu and Bev for “using and abusing” them.

The upsetting thing for me is not so much to have this “ugliness” displayed in public like this, as it is to see this callousness in myself. Sure, I’ll learn my lesson, clean up and move on, but it has given me cause for some deep introspection. I don’t want to rage here, I want to encourage and edify.

I have some work to do.

sorry, apology, abuse, offense, filipino, tagalog, pinoy, philippines

18 Comments

Note: Commenter website links are not no-followed, in case
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  1. Posted 10 years, 9 months ago // Permalink

    Wow, I’ve been here too. I learned the hard way, as evidently you did as well. It sucks, but you feel a whole lot better once you let everyone know that you know you made a mistake.

    I have made an oath to never call people out on my blog again, unless done so in an edifying manner. It causes more stress than it’s worth. I still have a post in my queue that I wrote while frustrated with another blogger. Needless to say, it’ll never be published.

    The good thing, you’ll recover. Your blog is awesome, and you’ll land on your feet. Keep up the good work.

    PS – this is the first time I’ve actually been to the blog in quite some time, as I’m a feed reader. Looks fantastic!!!

    Nathan

  2. Alister Cameron
    Posted 10 years, 9 months ago // Permalink

    Thanks Nathan.

    The new design is literally two hours old (young!).

    Glad you like it 🙂

  3. Posted 10 years, 9 months ago // Permalink

    Ohhh the irony. I guess it’s commendable that you’ll hold your hands up and admit that you were out of line, but considering this was my first visit to your site, it doesn’t paint the best picture of someone who markets themselves as a blogging guru who has to apologise for bad content (because they didn’t think through what they were writing) and illustrate why perhaps they’re not a blogging guru…?

    Well, everyone makes mistakes.

    On a separate note, I did find it perhaps peculiar that someone who spends their time optimizing blogs and has been running this blog since 2000 and offers tips on how to market blogs and yahda yahda yahda is only PR4… but that’s really a separate point and just me playing devil’s advocate…

  4. Posted 10 years, 9 months ago // Permalink

    Alister, I kind of did something similar on my blog (sorry, I ain’t linking back to it!) – I called out a university and a state government, both of which should have been prospective customers.

    Best thing that happened to me was I got an e-mail in private from a mentor that said “I would not have done that…” and it was followed by about 2 pages of why.

    I know it sucks to lose readers but I commend the guy that commented saying he was leaving. And I commend you for the apology.

    Jason Alba
    CEO – JibberJobber.com

  5. Posted 10 years, 9 months ago // Permalink

    it happens to all of us. ive been in this situation before where, even after thinking my post through and through, i still end up “offending” someone. i go by the saying that “im not a dollar bill — i can’t please everyone.”

    i guess rectifying your intentions is always the right thing to do!

    btw no offense taken alister 🙂

  6. Posted 10 years, 9 months ago // Permalink

    Alister,

    You are a mans man – a real stand up guy! Thanks for showing me the proper way to act when I make a mistake like this (and I will… .)

    Hey Stu – from one Ontario boy to another, Alister is a good guy. He could play on my team anytime, I’d even drop the gloves for him (most Canadian guys will know what that means.)

    Todd

    P.S. Alister, the new design is spectacular!!

  7. Posted 10 years, 9 months ago // Permalink

    Love the new design! Nice job. I have been in the position of offending someone through a post, rather recently. Even though they totally and completely overreacted, and there was nothing even remotely offensive in what I posted, I took it down and regretted that they had been offended.

  8. Alister Cameron
    Posted 10 years, 9 months ago // Permalink

    @Matt – I don’t market myself as a blogging guru, but as a passionate blogger/blog promoter. The guru label is for others to give me when I add enough value to their blogs that it’s deserved. The PR4 is down from a PR5 a few Google updates ago and is due to jump up again, at least one point. The fact is it doesn’t help that I have changed the URL of my site a couple of times, and that (moreso) all my SEO energy until recently was on my own company site which boasted a PR6.

    You would also be aware that Google is SO slow at updating PR and right now my site is worth well more than the PR4 that is displayed. The truer indicator of what Google thinks of my blog is the ranking of my pages against keywords, and I’m very pleased with that 🙂

  9. Alister Cameron
    Posted 10 years, 9 months ago // Permalink

    @Todd – I’m guessing that’s an ice hockey expression?! And thanks for the kind words (here and elsewhere!). I’m very honoured.

  10. Posted 10 years, 8 months ago // Permalink

    Your title almost made me chuckle because I thought you were a bit too apologetic, but I guess you did get a lot of flak from your previous post. I’d like to point one thing:

    In my comment, I pointed out what I thought James Foronda took offense with. The thing is, I followed it up by ragging on you about capitalizing Filipino. I was nitpicking, and I apologize for that.

  11. Posted 10 years, 8 months ago // Permalink

    Alister,

    Elber (one of the commenters above), took the time to find my email so he could inform me that you made this post and I thank him for that.

    As some have already mentioned, we all make mistakes; we all do thing that we end up regretting. Sometimes we mean what we say or do, and sometimes we don’t — I believe that’s all part of what makes us human.

    But what really matters is what we do once we realize the effect (which is not necessarily the intent) of our actions not only on our fellow human beings who we may have offended, but more importantly, to ourselves.

    By making a separate post for your apology, you have shown what you are made of. You have once again earned your place in my feed reader.

    Thank you very much.

    James

  12. Posted 10 years, 8 months ago // Permalink

    I have been in this situation a number of times, and have come so close to “outing” a business or service for spamming me very clearly.

    A few times all I have done is moderate their comment by editing it, removing a link, and placing a note to say why it was edited.

    On one occasion the spam message was from a SEO firm in the UK claiming they offer SEO and Web Design.

    I took the trouble to send them an email, but didn’t receive a reply.

    Sometimes I wish I used a spam system with collective intelligence, so that the action of flagging something as spam would have a permanent effect on their ability to place comments on other people’s blogs, or even not pulling a comment out of the moderation queue would effectively do the same.

    In my very clear comments policy I state that I will make fun of people who spam me.

    Other than the Filipino reference, I can’t fault you for what you wrote, although I know it was not typical of your normal character.

    A few days ago I turned down a paid review for a program for which I had received 3 previous comment spams, and I told the reviews service exactly why I was turning down the review request.

  13. Posted 10 years, 5 months ago // Permalink

    Bravo for owning up and recognizing mistakes … it takes a good and brave person to do that. If only you were in charge of my country …

  14. Anton
    Posted 10 years, 2 months ago // Permalink

    I found information about your web log entry here:

    http://www.pinoyspy.com/2007/09/28/australian-blogger-insults-filipino-seos-carabao-english/

    That entry links to this forum thread:

    http://www.pinoyspy.net/forum/index.php?topic=65626

    Many entries were entered only yesterday. Perhaps you can ask friendly Filipino web loggers who posted comments to your web log entry to translate some of the phrases for you.

    Finally, in case you are interested, here’s one interesting incident. After making fun of Filipino overseas contract workers in a magazine article, one writer received all sorts of comments, including insults. Here’s one link about the incident with several comments:

    http://www.tingog.com/social-concerns/malu-fernandez-people-asia-article-controversy-manila-standard-columnist.html

    I find some of the comments in this and the previous link very disturbing.

  15. Posted 10 years, 2 months ago // Permalink

    @Anton – thank you for the links, etc. I have been following the thread, but my post is quite a few months old, and other than more insults and tagalog which I cannot understand, I see nothing new to reply to. I feel I have pretty much said all I can by way of clarifications and apologies and there is little more I or others can add to this.Thanks anyway 😉

  16. Alister Cameron
    Posted 10 years, 2 months ago // Permalink

    @Anton and others – they keep coming in too! Here’s the latest from another Filipino at IP address 121.97.202.56 (thru bti.net.ph).

    This is a great in information. I think those credit cards informations are came from some poor sites that are using unsecured transactions. They are not using password encryption to store their client’s passwords or confidential info. Also, today some bad guys there are sending email to us and said that we won on a lottery or something and we must send our personal and credit card info to them to claim a prize but the truth is, they are using it to hack your account. Thanks for sharing this valuable information.

    Now, in this case it’s purportedly from a New Zealand website! Why do you think they posted on my site!? Because they expect my DoFollow link to pass PR eventually.

    Needless to say I think this person’s English is pretty awful and a disservice to the New Zealand client who is paying sensible SEO dollars, I assume.

    While I regret the way I put labels on all Filipinos in a way I never intended and regret, it remains the case that this kind of sillyness goes on.

    -Alister

  17. Posted 9 years, 11 months ago // Permalink

    I wonder….

    Alister, this is long past for you but there are people that still remember it and use it as a champion for the Filipino cause. What cause that is exactly, no one can actually name.

    I have to ask this:

    did you lie? no
    did you misrepresent? no
    did you use a stereotype? yes
    was (and is) that stereotype accurate by a far majority? yes
    are internet practices (blog postings/comments) by Fils misleading on a higher level than others? yes – they are possibly the highest, Google analytics is still crunching those numbers. I have a little over 1200 pages indexed myself by Fils that are misleading for business or government interests.

    Alister, you are not guilty of anything but the truth. There is a national inferiority complex for the Fils. They get bent out of shape at every slight. They are also so needy for affirmation that they claim ‘great achievements’ by people who have lived out of the Fils so long that nothing about them is Fil except their birth. To them, that translates into national greatness.

    Your only error was in apologizing.

  18. Posted 9 years, 5 months ago // Permalink

    Apology accepted for me – I make mistakes too. I do not know with the others, some really like to underscore the mistake for a single post, instead of the numerous other good posts that you have written to help others do better SEO.

    I’m new to SEO right now and have to catch up for the “lost years”. I design simple websites and I’m still mastering the skill to incorporate SEO in web design – there is a demand for this in my freelance job.

11 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. only to personify the spirit of it myself a few days ago with my post about getting others to write blog comments on your behalf. I think I was wrong with pretty much every angle I took with that story, and […] (Read on Source)

  2. I really screwed up and I’m sorry.

  3. [IMG External link]

  4. wrong per se to get someone to “ghost-write” harmless blog post comments all over the place… But hey… at the very least try to get it done to a standard where it’s not immediately obvious that it’s someone else and not you!” Alisterlater apologized, saying: I appeared to despise Filipino people. On this count I am guilty of stupidly repeating the point that the commenter was from the Philippines, leading to the fairly reasonable conclusion that I don’t like people from that country. I regret

  5. […] encouragement and edification which I would have hoped marked all my writing on this blog. I have unreservedly apologised to the targets of my criticism, and were it not for the fact that deleting blog posts doesn’t […]

  6. […] share along the lines of admitting your mistakes. Alister Cameron recently admitted a big one about naming names and making racist comments. This was a very noble and humble thing to do in my […]

  7. […] just joined the b5media family and while i was poking around his blog, I saw that he was apologizing for some sort of screw-up. Turns out he’d revealed someone who’d hired an “assistant” (I’d […]

  8. […] plug-in 42. be opinionated but don’t be a jerk about it 43. when an apology is in order – publish it 44. ask your readers for their opinion 45. publish a Top Rated Articles page when you have enough […]

  9. […] tactics or not, the important thing to do is always be mindful of mistakes and make necessary and sincere amends for them leave a response trackback blogging, Writing Enter your email address:Delivered […]

  10. […] What something to really get pissed off about? Forget indirect insults from a TV sitcom script, here’s a full-on blog entry where an Australian blogger hits on a Pinoy SEO who posted a comment on his blog.Australian blogger Alister Cameron read this comment on his blog: I am very amaze of what you post Alister. You explain everything clearly and full of informations of what people, especially marketers really need to know. Thank you so much.. they guy immediately fired back with a blog entry entitled: Another stupid SEO strategy: the filipino link builder who can’t write, only to regret this action later.Turns out, he only traced the IP address to the Philippines and held this as the sole basis for saying that the commenter was a Filipino link builder. Well, he was right about one thing, that it was the work of a Pinoy Link Builder, but the comment linked to a website called MyIdeaGuy Blog. Good thing he apologized afterwards. [Read: Alister Cameron’s apology] […]

  11. […] the Aussie’s apology in full: http://www.alistercameron.com/2007/03/21/i-really-screwed-up-and-im-sorry/ [Edited on 10.4.2007 by bon] Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum […]

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