Mistakes on the APA Website

I have become so frustrated with all the mistakes on the APA website that I decided to list each error I encounter.

Part of my frustration comes from notifying APA about such errors only to receive replies telling me I need to refresh my browser, or more commonly, no reply at all.

Plus, the errors remain for weeks or months afterwards. Some have never been fixed!

I am a member of the American Psychological Association (APA), a professional organization that offers substantial value to psychologists and the public.

Most psychologists I know with leadership positions in APA work exceptionally hard for little or no pay. I don't know as much about the APA salaried staff.

And, despite the horrible mistakes APA made rationalizing "ethical" torture during the mid-2000s, APA's positive contributions to society massively outweigh the mistakes.

But the APA website is a mess!

What is a mistake?

A silly question perhaps but my English professors always told us, "define your terms!" So I will continue to follow their advice. :O)

The word 'mistake' has slightly different meanings depending on the context. I am using the word along the lines of these dictionary definitions.

mistaken. – An error or fault resulting from defective judgment, deficient knowledge, or carelessness.1

mistaken. – an error in action, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.2

mistaken. – a wrong action or statement proceeding from faulty judgment, inadequate knowledge, or inattention.3

Why do APA webmasters make so many mistakes?

I don't know why the webmasters make so many mistakes on the APA website, but I suspect that each of the following contribute to some extent.

Insufficient knowledge - Perhaps APA has hired or promoted employees who do not possess adequate education and training to maintain a large nonprofit organization website.

Faulty judgment - Perhaps the APA webmasters think they know how to do something when they actually don't, so they consequently make decisions based on poor reasoning.

Or maybe they think, "No one will notice these problems. And if members complain, we'll tell the big wigs it's a PEBCAK error." (PEBCAK = Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard).

Or perhaps they decided against usability testing and other user experience studies because "they take too much time" or "we can identify the problems without doing all that UX stuff."

Perhaps management makes bad decisions, e.g., not hiring sufficient numbers of qualified IT staff.

Carelessness and inattention - A lack of motivation, diligence, focus, willingness to ask for help, etc.

Mistakes on the APA Website

Mistake #1 – I searched Google for the APA Ethics Code and the second result—on the APA website—is the outdated 2010 version of the Ethics Code.

My search term was probably unusual as I simply copied-and-pasted from a reference citation: "Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (2017)". 

Nonetheless, once the new Code went into effect on 1 Jan 2018, APA salaried staff should have systematically searched for outdated versions of the Ethics Code on APA.org



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