In the article on operant conditioning the other day, I'd made some terminology mix-ups that a commenter with the handle Slightly Confused noticed and pointed out to me in a very polite and socially gracious way, and I checked on the errors he pointed out, realized he was right, owned the mistake, and corrected it. I commented back letting him know of the correction, and he had this to say after:
“Thanks for handling my earlier comment so well. I'll have to remember how you responded for when I run into that situation in the future. If you want another article idea, you could write one on corrections. It could talk about how to handling being corrected in different situations as well as when and how to correct others. The article could differentiate between corrections based on opinions and based on facts and could talk different situations such as pickup, a long term relationship, being out with friends, meeting someone new, and in a business situation, like one were a boss says something incorrect (or the boss corrects you), when you are with peers, or when you are talking to a customer. It also could cover the situations when you should and should not correct yourself when you realize you are wrong and the long term effects handling the situation a certain way may have. I realize that may be too big of a topic to cover but hopefully it gives you some ideas or something you can use.”
Some interesting ideas for a post there from SC - when and how to correct yourself, and when to perform a course correct, effectively.
And this is more nuanced than you might at first think.
There's a surprisingly great deal at risk in correcting oneself - you chance losing the confidence of those who were depending on you to know your stuff, you chance undermining and reversing whatever momentum you had, and you even chance transferring momentum over to an opponent who's hard at work endeavoring to snatch at the moral high ground away from you.
So should you ever do a course correct? With so much to lose, does it make sense to ever correct yourself... or might it be better just to soldier on, never admit mistakes, and keep your own personal reality distortion field tuned to maximum at all times to take others' eyes away from the inconsistencies?