Post-publication Revision Policy

This is my entirely personal blog, with no editorial oversight other than my own. I am solely responsible for what gets posted here and for what you can find in the archives. Over the years, I have developed a practice that works well for me, but which has a few problems that are worth noting to avoid misunderstandings.

I normally write and publish my posts quite quickly, rarely working on them over more than a few hours, at best days. This is in order to undermine the reticence that my vanity would demand if given a chance. I get the content worked out, proof-read it quickly, and put it out there, its remaining stylistic and typographical blemishes be damned. If I didn't do it this way I don't think I'd ever publish anything.

But when I do notice typos and howlers, I can't let them stand. So most of my posts undergo dozens of small changes in the hours after they have been published and I usually don't mark these in any way. Grammar is corrected. Commas added or removed or replaced with colons. That sort of thing. Also, I sometimes add useful links without noting them as updates.

Substantial corrections are usually marked in some way, either with square brackets or with footnotes. Sometimes I get facts wrong and I see no point in letting this blog be less informative than it could be just to document my ignorance at a particular moment in time. But since it's possible that someone somewhere has pointed out my errors in a post of their own, I make sure that my revision doesn't make a liar of them.

I try to find a balance between being as accurate and informative as I can, and being honest about an opinion I had a particular time. I rarely (if ever) correct an opinion expressed in a post that I subsequently changed my mind about. In those cases, I write a new post, noting the change of mind (and thanking those who helped me change it), and link the two posts to each other in a natural way.

Finally, let me say that it is my policy to contact people I criticize directly whenever possible. I am happy to correct simple factual errors at their request (footnoting when I do) and even to add footnotes with their counterarguments if they wish. In some cases, I just let them write a guest post and link to that from the original post.

These practices are all about fostering constructive dialogue and maximizing understanding. If you have any concerns about changes you've seen in a post, please don't hesitate to bring them up in the comments. I'll do what I can to acknowledge them.

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