Setting the Record Straight
UltrViolet has expressed a view that has had me thinking pretty hard about what I believe on the matter. And let me tell you — I don’t generally need a lot of information to at least come up with an initial opinion about something. And this one is in some ways fairly fundamental to blogging, so it feels like something I really should have a view on.
Specifically, I’m referring to the second section — Changing The Public Record, in which UltrViolet expresses two key views:
In another related topic, I also noticed what seems to be an online cultural shift that nobody told me about: After a big kerfuffle, it’s apparently standard practice for everyone to change their published remarks and articles after finding out they aren’t popular.UltrViolet, Endgame Viable – Unspoken Community Standards (2023)
I don’t know that this is true, for a start. Initially, I thought this was written with a slight panache, a slight exaggeration for effect, rather than a true belief. But it was enough of a theme throughout the section that perhaps it is.
Outside of the example referenced at the top of the post though, I’m not sure that I’ve seen any other examples of it of late in our little corner of the internet.
But for argument’s sake, let’s assume it is true.
It’s something that would never occur to me. It feels like crossing an ethical line. It’s what shady politicians do. It’s a deliberate obfuscation of your words to the public. How could you ever trust anything someone says if you know they’ll just change or bury it whenever the mood strikes them?UltrViolet, Endgame Viable – Unspoken Community Standards (2023)
I get that this is not meaning to directly attribute the intent or motives expressed here to those involved in the story from the first part of the post; but then doesn’t that, to an extent, just go to show that this isn’t the case? Or at the very least — that it isn’t the only case?
I think in the case at hand the motive was more along the lines that they were informed that the initial positioning of what they had written was needlessly combative, and perhaps a step further: needlessly hurtful.
I think… I don’t see anything wrong with making adjustments in this case.
But like I said at the top of the post, I’m unsure.
Because while I do not attribute the intent to be shady here, I can see UltrViolet’s point around it perhaps being better to amend the record by way of an additional post. To take your lumps for what you said and do better going forward. But I think for that to be the case, it needs to go both ways. Sure, there should be some degree of consequence for saying something hurtful.
But should it follow you years into the future, after the fact you’ve already repented the original sentiment?
I wouldn’t think so — but the world currently seems to disagree, and is perfectly content to punish indefinitely far into the future.
And even the potential for personal harm aside, returning to the idea that the content in question may have been harmful or hurtful to others… Even if walked back in a future post, is there really any upside to leaving it there?
The idea of a blogger-as-journalist doesn’t gel with me. Even decades ago in earlier attempts at blogging, I don’t know that I ever saw it in quite that light.
I’ll happily go back an edit a post for grammar or typos well after the fact. The only concession made to this really is that my posts do show the last edited date in addition to the original post date. But that isn’t even anything I particularly sought out, it just so happened to be an inclusion of the current theme I’m using. It may well vanish one day in the future when I change theme again, and I wouldn’t give it a second thought.
And yet… AND YET, having said all that and made the argument in that direction…
…but if I were to write a post that unintentionally offended a lot of people, I wouldn’t delete it, I’d link to the original post and write a followup post.UltrViolet, Endgame Viable – Unspoken Community Standards (2023)
…I think this is, in almost any case I can think of, what I would do as well.
So really, even after all these words, I’m not really any closer to a conclusion on the matter even within my own head.