Humor on the errors.

Someone sent around this list of humorous 404 links.
Its an entertaining way to admit to a mistake. The first humorous 404 message I remember is Orkut's "No donut for you.". It was funny for a while, like the Twitter whale and like all the messages listed above; until I saw it too often. At that point I was just pissed at the site, and the attempt at humor annoyed me even more.

Humor works; I'm a big fan of using it as much as possible if its part of the way you think. However a couple of times I've had a rein people in from trying to be funny in an apology email. There are a few reasons for this 
  • No one is ever as funny as they think they are.
  • Sure, humor can make the message more "interesting", but if you're sending an apology there's a chance that people are pissed off,  and I'd like to minimize that chance of the fringe getting marginally more pissed because of an attempt at humor.
  • There's opportunities aplenty to be funny when things are going well. When you screw up, being professional, efficientm and genuine just seems to be the smarter way to go.
What do you think?

Comments

Josekin said…
Consultant answer: doesn't it all depend? If it's a client, humor is probably bad form unless the client is also our friend.

How big an apology are we talking here? Ops, I didn't know she was your sister? Or sorry I took the wrong lunch box? (FYI, I'd use humor in the latter...yes, this is my final recommendation)
Satyajeet said…
If you do it once, sure.
My point is if you screw up a bunch of times, at some point it stops being funny.:)

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