Thursday, October 2, 2003

Editing blog posts

I now have three separate copies of this post from the Clark campaign blog in my news aggregator. Why? Well, they’ve changed the language on the post at least three times that I can tell:




  • Draft 1: “During the General’s recent trip to Washington D.C., Joshua Marshall over at the well-known Talking Points Memo did an interview enroute from Dulles Airport. This is the first time a blogger has interviewed a presidential candidate.”

  • Draft 2: (after I pointed out this wasn’t true) “During the General’s recent trip to Washington D.C., Joshua Marshall over at the well-known Talking Points Memo did an interview enroute from Dulles Airport. This is the first time a blogger has interviewed Clark.”



  • Draft 3: “During the General’s recent trip to Washington D.C., Joshua Marshall over at the well-known Talking Points Memo did an interview enroute from Dulles Airport. This is the first time a blogger has interviewed a presidential candidate face-to-face.”



It’s funny — in Tips for candidate weblogs, it doesn’t say anything about noting when the text of a post has been modified. I wonder why that is?



And wouldn’t it be great if this came up during this weekend’s BloggerCon panel on weblogs in presidential politics? All the players will be there. How about it Dave? We know where you stand, but this is a great topic for discussion. What (if any) responsibility do candidate sites have to acknowledge when the text of a post has changed? Where should we draw the line? And is the line different for a politician than it is for an individual? Why or why not?

11 comments:

  1. My follow-up to the Clark campaign blog edits

    Full post is here (posted to my tech blog, because I think the issues are more appropriate in the blogs and ethics discussion than they are in a Dean forum)....

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  2. When, if ever, is it okay to edit weblog posts?

    My friend Rick Klau has a provocative discussion about editing weblog posts after they have been published to the Web. He thinks that this issue is one that should be taken up at the upcoming conference on weblogging in Boston.

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  3. Rick, Yes, it would be great if this episode of changing language came up at the conference panel. The ethical issues are important, and this little episode provides a great example. As Rebecca points out, changes should never be made in a post except by addition, clearly marking the change, and the time of the edit should be noted. Otherwise, integrity and trust are diminished. Fortunately, one of the significant strengths of this medium is one the Clark Blog Team has not yet realized, which is that the changes will be detected and dishonesty will not be tolerated. Certainly, their Draft 1 may have been a good faith error, and they are deserving of the benefit of the doubt. When the error was pointed out, they did the right thing and fixed their mistake (but not in the manner recommended). However, when they made the third change, not only did they choose to be deceptive, but they fundamentally misjudged the medium and thought they would not be caught. Discussion at the conference can provide a lesson for all. I'll be looking forward to a report on the panel discussion. By the way, I find it interesting that comments to the rewritten Clark post are time stamped, and those few (including yours) that address this issue are quite telling. (See for example, comment 35, where the Clark Blog Team acknowledges their "simple oversight... to clear things up."

    Thank you for advancing this important topic.

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  4. Update: Garance Franke-Ruta picks up on this over at Tapped, The New American Prospect's weblog:

    http://www.prospect.org/weblog/archives/2003/10/index.html#001628

    --Rick

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  5. Editing Weblogs - Dave Winer gives an online tutorial

    Yesterday I asked, along with Rick Klau, when it is okay to edit your weblog in public? First off, I think it is a good idea to edit before you publish. Editing means examining your ideas closely and making

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  6. I think I could claim being the first here (humbly of course), as I spoke/interviewed/blogged about it, with Howard Dean (face to face) in June or July of 2002.

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  7. Editing blog posts ex post

    Ernie The Attorney asks: "When, if ever, is it okay to edit weblog posts?" His answer:My general thoughts are that in some cases editing needs to be disclosed, and other cases it doesn't. Simple correction of typographical errors or grammar

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  8. Jerome is absolutely right. Here's the link:

    http://www.mydd.com/archives/000648.html#000648

    Jerome was *way* out in front on this one. More in a minute over at my Dean blog...

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  9. It's clearly an oversight. Press releases get edited all the time, and often changes are made after they have been released to the media. Updates and corrections are often issued, but not necessarily distributed as far and wide as the original press release.

    In the case of the Clark blog, it looks like their initial blog post was made, then changed to correct the oversight, and then changed a third time to make things more clear, as to maximize the press around the interview.

    It's certainly not a false claim. While Dean was interviewed by Liberal-Oasis blog earlier this year that interview was done via email. The Clark interview with Marshall does appear to be the first "face-to-face" interview with a presidential candidate.

    Looks to me like someone is just trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

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  10. changing headlines

    Little Green Footballs mentioned today an AP article with the headline "Israel Strikes Terrorist Base in Syria." Charles, the proprietor of LGF: I was shocked (shocked!) to see this AP headline, using the word terrorist without sneer quotes. AP changed...

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  11. Great comments guys. Peter FDA

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