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.


This was posted during Blaugust 2023, the annual blogging event hosted by Belghast. Blaugust is an event aiming to welcome new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise those who’ve been at it a little longer.

The Blaugust Discord is still available to join in, year-round!

Categories: Blog

Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

7 Comments

Krikket · August 26, 2023 at 12:48 am

If I edit after publication, it’s 100% because I’ve noticed a particularly egregious typo. I do not feel the need to preserve those for posterity.

Otherwise, I tend to avoid the whole issue these days by making an effort not to post things when I’m heated, and to either avoid very controversial topics or be very measured in how I address them. But I’m not sure I would have learned all that if I hadn’t had a drama-bomb post or two somewhere in my distant past!

    Naithin · August 26, 2023 at 2:18 am

    I don’t recall if I’ve ever had a legitimate drama bomb. Which would be surprising to me if true, there was certainly a time, in the past, when I would’ve waded into conversational areas that I would think twice about touching with a 10ft barge pole these days.

    I think the only angry comment I’ve got here so far was someone upset by my assertion that FFXIV played much like a SP game, at least in how I was at the time experiencing it.

    Reflecting on the sheer number of topics though that don’t feel ‘safe’ to raise or talk about though… Hard to say whether that’s a change for the better or not.

    Sure, it may reflect an additional level of sensitivity missing in the past.. But on the other hand, same thing.

Scopique · August 26, 2023 at 1:10 am

I’m with Krikket. I’ve started writing posts, because the act of banging on the keyboard is cathartic, but it also helps me “get it out”. I often stop short of publishing a post, however, if I feel that it’s going to throw my hat into a ring that I’d otherwise avoid.

I will also edit for clarity or to fix typos, but I often either address a comment directly in the comments themselves or will write another follow up post. The only issue with the latter is that it lengthens the time I’m dealing with the topic which can be exhausting, and it gives more surface area for people to get involved over time; they can come in at any article on the subject which just makes me regret having published in the first place.

    Naithin · August 26, 2023 at 2:23 am

    I was about to say I haven’t really done that — starting posts on a topic for catharsis and then stopping, thinking better of it.

    But actually I don’t think that’s entirely true. There has certainly been more than one occasion — especially if we expand to consider comments as well — where after getting some way into the writing, just thought, ‘You know what? This probably isn’t going to be worth it — I’m good’.

    Do agree on the increased surface area from the multiple posts too. Almost feels like there would be a need to maintain an index in each post, or at least a link to the latest view expressed.

Nimgimli · August 26, 2023 at 3:42 am

This is an interesting discussion. Personally I would totally set aside updates around correcting spelling or grammar since that’s just polish and isn’t really changing the ideas behind the text.

I also think changing a blog post and changing a Discord message kind of fall into 2 adjacent but separate buckets just due to the back and forth of Discord. If you are in a heated discussion with a person you could then come back later and change your posts so that they seem calm and measured and in so doing make the other person appear to be flipping out over nothing. So to me, that kind of sucks.

For a blog post though, I do think I’m with UltrViolet, though like Scopique and Krikket I tend to avoid topics that are going to invite heated debate just because those can get SO exhausting. I’ve had situations where I’ve vented my spleen in a blog post for 30 minutes, felt better, than had to spend literal days debating my point with someone who took exception to what I said, and that, for me anyway, sucks all the joy out of blogging. So yup, I absolutely will write something out and then just delete it.

But then there is also the whole weirdnesses of your past following you around forever. It’s like we treat each other as immutable. Here is an actor in his 30s who said something stupid and insensitive when he was 20, so now that we found this comment, lets never give him another job ever again. So I can definitely understand why people go back and try to erase their idiotic past!

Of course, flipping it over and over again, maybe they STILL feel that way and just got smarter about not being public about it so….

What we need is The Thought Police to burrow through everyone’s minds and find out what they are REALLY thinking!

    Naithin · August 26, 2023 at 10:30 am

    Weewooweewoo, thought police are here!

    That aside, Discord at least does flag edited messages as edited. Sure, there could be some debate over what the previous version said, exactly, but it least goes that far to help minimise the risk of the situation to describe.

    That the past seemingly follows you forever these days — regardless of whether or not you apologised and clearly changed your manner and thoughts before you were ‘made to’ — is probably the single biggest thing to my mind in favour of not judging too harshly those that would prefer to adjust or remove.

    Hell, present me would be horrified by some of the things 10, 15, 20 year ago me thought and said.

    Growth needs to be given the space to happen. And I’m not sure the present-day inclination to just avoid all potentially sensitive subjects is in any way helping.

    Sure, it might make for more ‘pleasant’ areas of the internet and conversation, but is that growth or merely suppression?

      Nimgimli · August 26, 2023 at 4:18 pm

      I don’t want to get TOO carried away but one of things that bugs me about today’s culture is that a certain crowd preaches acceptance and inclusion UNTIL you say something that they don’t agree with. Then they exclude you.

      And like I get this if the thing you said, which they don’t agree with, is egregious, right? If you say “Well I think child pornography can be very healthy” and you get ostracized for that, well you SHOULD be. You should also be in jail!

      But at some point there is a line, tho I’m not sure where it is. At some point you have to accept that everyone is different and people have varied views and you’re not going to agree on everything.

      I wrote up like 3 examples and each one I thought “Someone is going to get into it with me for saying that” so I’ve deleted them all. So here is a true but very extreme example.

      A long long time ago, a friend of mine had a bad run-in with Billy Joel. Because of how Joel treated my friend, I would never buy a Billy Joel album. But if I learned that you bought a Billy Joel album, should I tell everyone that you’re a bad person? Of course not…that’s kind of the other extreme from the child pornography example.

      Somewhere between those two extremes is a line. On one side are “Things worth excluding people over” and on the other is “Things I don’t agree with but people have a right to have a different opinion.” I just think currently the line is way too far over towards my Billy Joel example.

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