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I've been doing websites for 16 years, but am new to writing a blog. Websites pages change all the time, but it seems to me that blog posts are relatively static once they've been posted.

If I want to change something in a blog post, what's the accepted way of doing so?

Considering that a blog post may get comments, some of which may point out mistakes or inaccuracies in the post, it seems to me that it should be clear where you've changed a post subsequent to any comments.

I've seen the strikethrough used a fair bit, but sometimes that seems to be done for comic effect. So, is there any standard way in the blogospehere of highlighting changes to the text of a blog post?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 14 down vote accepted

For inconsequential changes you can just edit it. For anything substantial ("I meant to say I disagree with..."), I've often seen an explicit notation: "Edited to add: ..." "Edit: ...", or the like. If there have been relevant comments, you can include a timestamp for the edit so people will see it was after the comment. This is what I do.

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+1. ETA is pretty standard, and I think it should be used for all changes of anything that isn't merely cosmetic. –  Kate Sherwood Aug 30 '11 at 22:44
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An alternate wording might be "Updated" if you are changing content based on new information rather than just fixing a mistake. I've seen (on the NYT?) where the writer added an asterisk in the copy which was an internal anchor to the edit or update at the bottom, and conversely that the update had a link to jump up to the edited line. –  Lauren Ipsum Aug 30 '11 at 23:49
    
I've used "Postscript (date)" in this manner for the last ten or so years. –  Charles Stewart Aug 31 '11 at 8:40

When in doubt, ask yourself: "Would my readers care if they didn't know about this change? Would they think I was trying to deceive them by not pointing it out?" If the answer to either of these is yes, note the change. If not, and you're simply making the reading experience smoother and better, make the change and leave it be.

I agree with Monica's answer: for fixing typos or maybe adding a link, no need to indicate changes. When actually adding anything of substance, it's good form to indicate the changes. This kind of transparency is particularly important for corporate blogs or news blogs, where more people are scrutinizing the posts.

I have noticed that seeing something published can change how writers view their own work, and I've had writers request changes minutes after posting. I generally allow a grace period for that, of a few minutes or so. Past that, I'd want to indicate changes.

If you have significant changes to make of the sort where you've changed your mind on something fundamental, perhaps you should be writing a second post. I've seem people write articles discussing how they've re-thought their position, and explaining why. (In that case, you can also add a link to the end of the original post, pointing at the new post.)

In summary, try to be transparent where possible and sensible.

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There are no real rules. From my perspective there are two major keys to doing edits right. Firstly you should remember to be as transparent as possible. Secondly you should pick a method of doing edits that is consistent and maintained so people learn what to expect.

I personally add edit notes to everything when I edit. The other answers here are all good, but one thing I didn't notice being addressed is when you are correcting something referenced in a comment. Here is how I handle that.

This is a correct statement. This is an incorrect statement. This is another correct statement.

Jane corrects my second statement in a comment.

This is a correct statement. This is an incorrect statement.(Edit: Jane corrected me in the comment section.) This is another correct statement.

That way everything is still properly referenced and people can see the changes in that situation. I like to keep the record of the conversation as transparent as possible. For other general edits I just use an edit note on each instance if it is substantial. If I make a series of edits that are not substantial I will add an edit note to the footer with a summary. I don't worry too much about edit notes until the post is about an hour old or has its first comment.

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