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When, if ever, is it okay to edit weblog posts?

By October 2, 2003websites

My friend Rick Klau has a provocative discussion about editing weblog posts after they have been published to the Web. He thinks that this issue is one that should be taken up at the upcoming conference on weblogging in Boston.

I agree that this is a topic that is ripe for discussion and which will undoubtedly provoke divergent views. My general thoughts are that in some cases editing needs to be disclosed, and other cases it doesn’t. Simple correction of typographical errors or grammar I think can be made without notification. On the other end of the spectrum I think that once a post has been up for a certain amount of time any significant change should be noted.

What’s wrong with admitting that you made a mistake? Newspapers do it all the time. Well maybe not all the time, but they do it. Of course, they don’t have the luxury of putting the admission right next to the mistake the way that webloggers do.

But between the extremes there is obviously room for reasonable disagreement about when editing posts is permissible or advisable. My general rule is that I try not to edit after I’ve posted except to fix typos and obvious errors. If the post has been up for more than an hour I won’t edit a significant error (i.e. non-typo or grammar) without noting it –either in the comments or in the post itself. I figure that after the post has been up for awhile it may have been relied on by someone who needs to be alerted that I’ve made a change. But that’s just me, and I’m not saying that it’s a perfect steadfast rule either.

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One Comment

  • Russ says:

    My policy on editing is this:

    (A) Sometimes I accidentally click post and publish before I run the spell checker and re-read the post for coherency. I fix these typos as soon as I catch them (usually right after posting and publishing), and do not bother announcing them.

    (B) Everything else I try my hardest to make note of the change – particularly if it is a substantive change, such as a party’s name or identity, an affiliation, etc. – if I do not catch the problem immediately after posting (my site is not high enough traffic yet, so I assume that most of those types of typos go unnoticed as they are fixed almost instantly – I also check my site meter to see if any new visits have occurred).

    RussLegal Memo-Random

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