A discussion has emerged on Prawfs and Concurring Opinions about the ethics of deleting blog posts. I have commented at Prawfs, and I find myself holding the minority position that blog posts should not be deleted once posted. Here is the Conglomerate policy:
Once we have posted something, it stays posted, even if we later regret it. Except for spelling errors or an occasional stylistic edit, which we will perform without telling you. If we change our minds about something, we will fess up or just move on, but we won't be sneaky about it.
In my opinion, bloggers can't have their cake and eat it too. I sense a growing opinion in the blogosphere (at least the blawgosphere) that bloggers are not just diary-keepers in pj's but contributors to a national dialogue. Of course, journalists seek to be skeptical of this notion, and I think that suspicion is warranted if bloggers live by different rules, including the rule that any post can be deleted if the poster has a change of heart. When a television journalist says something on television, those words are recorded forever. When someone writes an op-ed for the NYT, then once the paper is printed, the op-ed is there forever. I even recall at least one time when bloggers have fussed a bit because an established news source changed a headline or a story during the day on an associated website. For us, second thoughts are what the "draft" function is for. But posting is the end of a thought process, not the beginning. If we want to clarify, we can update or use the comments function or even post again. Believe me, I have wanted to delete posts that brought the critics out in full force!
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