MJR's slef-reflections


Please Tell Me How To Do It

Mon, 02 Jun 2008 10:47:09 +0100

[Meeting Room]
(Guess I arrived early.)

Dear Reader,

I'd like to read any opinions on these three:-

1. when I get new information about a story I've already written about, should I make it a new blog post and/or add it to the old post or something else?

For example, I've got new links about the Yahoo's good anti-spam actions which is sort-of linked to last week's spammer registrar post.

2. what should I do with links to sites where I've commented? Should I make a new feed like my bookmarks feed, silently ignore them, or something else? Last time I did a link post, mildly irritated comments followed on one of the planets.

3. Tonight is my first full Kewstoke village council meeting. Main (non-routine) topics include Sand Road Lay-by, Crookes Lane Memorial Seat, the newsletter, replacing the gazebo on the village green, coopting more councillors, completing the Crookes Lane Footpath, the 2007-08 accounts and reviewing the Sand Bay Management Plan. Any comments on any of those?

Tags: life, web, wsm.

Comments On This Entry

Submitted at 1319 on 02 Jun by Charles Stewart

Wrt. followups, from those options, my favourite is to add a postscript to the existing post. It's the most widespread policy among the weblogs I subscribe to, it works well with my RSS feeder, which sees changes to old posts and it means that all the context I need to undertsand the change is right there, exactly in the form I've already grasped it.

Other options: new posts are OK; I don't read links feeds, and adding comments to your own post works on sites with Drupal-style new content trackers, like LtU, but otherwise loses.

BTW, the link: http://mjr.towers.org.uk/writing/reflections/attachments/platform-empty.jpg is a 404.

Submitted at 1351 on 02 Jun by MJ Ray

Thanks for the comment. I've fixed the 404 in both the feed and with a Redirect to the correct location (underscore not -).

I'm not sure how well most RSS readers cope with followups as postscripts to the existing posts, but if it's a widespread policy, I'll probably follow the herd on that one.

Submitted at 2021 on 02 Jun by Jon Dowland

I tend to think that blog posts should be immutable. Context is a mere hyperlink away, and it means if you "know" you've read a "post" (either by remembering the title as one you've read, or your software remembering etc.) you won't miss the details. It also means comments on the post are not out of context. E.g., you write something, you get a series of comments, then you revise the post and the comments are now out of context.

Submitted at 2026 on 02 Jun by Josh Triplett

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with posts of links to places you've added particularly interesting comments. However, I'd say those need to meet two criteria before you should post them: they should prove interesting enough that you'd consider writing a blog post about them yourself in response (rather than just a comment), and you should include an explanation for each link. Many blog posts follow the basic pattern "so-and-so said this, and ..." with a link to an original post. I'd suggest that your link posts should look like a collection of such blog posts, with each one just too small to merit its own article.

Submitted at 2042 on 02 Jun by Joe Buck

The important thing to remember is that each blog post can be linked to seperately. If you get new information that makes your original post false or misleading, then that original post is still out there as a Google magnet, helping to misinform the public. So certainly in a case like that you want to update the original. It's preferable to cross out the bad text so you aren't trying to hide that the bad information was once there (otherwise there will be links pointing to your article that no longer make sense).

But if you're just adding more information, a new post is probably better.

Submitted at 1217 on 03 Jun by Charles Stewart

Two things:

  • On immutability: I agree with Joe Buck, pace Jon Dowland, on avoiding the perpetuation of misleading info. New info should be clearly marked as such with a postscript; changes to the old body should be summarised with an edit. I've followed this policy as long as I've been keeping my advogato diary;

  • Another possible policy: Mark Jason Dominus, of Perl fame, writes occasional addenda to his previous month's posts, eg.: http://blog.plover.com/addenda/200805.html

    I note this for the sake of completeness: in fact this is rather a nuisance, since the addenda are removed from the previous post, which means that one must go back and forth to understand them, and the article which gets addended to doesn't contain or link to the additional commentary.

Submitted at 1403 on 03 Jun by Russell Coker

Leaving incorrect data on the web is obviously wrong. Correcting the article in some way is necessary both for the common good and to protect your own reputation.

One way to correct the post is to simply change the contents, while silent changes are generally a bad idea I think it's appropriate for minor changes (EG you mis-spelled someone's name).

For errors of slightly greater importance you have to note your change (I prefer to use an "Update:" section at the end to describe the change - but the strike-out method seems clear enough) as well as correcting the text.

One problem with merely changing the post is that there will be many people who have read your post when it was wrong and never come back to read the new post. If you correct the post while it's still new enough to be on Planets you can just bump the time-stamp a bit and people will see it. If it's an old post that was grievously wrong then an update of the form "I was wrong" is a good thing.

Issuing a serious correction as a separate post is (IMHO) a worth-while exception to the rule you might have about not writing small things and bundling multiple small things into a links post.

Submitted at 1045 on 04 Jun by MJ Ray

So, to summarise what I'm thinking:-

1. update old posts clearly and write a new post if it's a major correction. I'm not wild about bumping timestamps because each of the major readers seems to behave differently (I'm not just on Planet-based sites);

2. I'll stick links to my comments into my bookmarks feed for now, unless I'm going to cover the topic in more detail. What I'd really like is a script that downloads and extracts my comment from the remote sites - but that seems fraught with complications.

3. No, no comments. I know there are some other villagers reading this, though ;-)

Comments are moderated (damn spammers) but almost anything sensible gets approved (albeit eventually). If you give a web address, I'll link it. I won't publish your email address unless you ask me to, but I'll email you a link when the comment is posted, or the reason why it's not posted.

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