The Memory Hole
As an aside in a longer article, Dan Markel writes:
As a matter of blogging ethics, I think the way to handle it is to post an apology and clarification and to remove the inaccurate material, with a followup email that clarified the situation.
This is dangerously wrong. The inaccurate material needs to stay, because other people will link to it, and look like crazy people. If my change is merely grammatical, spelling, or punctuation, and I find it, I’ll slip it in. If someone else finds it, I’ll usually use <strike> to
fix clean it up. Longer edits are usually in [brackets], although at times I’ve re-written articles, I now realize that I think it feels dishonest when others do so.
To be clear, I’m not accusing Dan of being dishonest or advocating dishonesty, but stating that I had a pretty strong reaction to his comments that the inaccurate material should be removed.
It’s a blog. We make mistakes. Own up to it, and move on. Don’t try to edit it out of the past.
[Irony of ironies, as Allan Friedman points out in a comment, I neglected to link to the original article. Dan Markel’s article is here, and I’ve added the link in the natural place above.]