Whats The Best Way To Correct Information

While listening to episode 124 of the Cranky Geeks Podcast with John C. Dvorak, the topic of editing a post after it’s been published came up. John seems to think that if you correct the information within the post, that it is ok not to let anyone know with the exception of telling the commenter who notified him of the error that it had been fixed. If one were to do their research, he believes that the reader would see the note in the comment and notice that at one time, the post had contained misinformation.

Photo taken by uberzombie under Creative Commons 2.0

I think John’s method is terrible. I don’t think I have the best solution, but in my experience, I have always used the strikethrough function of my post editor to highlight which pieces of text were incorrect while then adding the correct information into the post. This let’s the readers know which information was wrong and that the editor must of taken steps to correct the post. At the very least, this lets the readers know to ignore the crossed out information.

This may not be the ideal method, but that is the one I use and prefer. How about you though? How do you deal with publishing information that turns out to be wrong? Do you simply leave a paper trail? Do you correct the information and then not tell anyone about it? What’s the best way to handle a situation like this?

4 thoughts on “Whats The Best Way To Correct Information

  1. That is pretty much exactly how I treat my corrections. If it’s something really simple, I’ll make the correction with out telling anybody (unless a commenter is the one who told me of the problem in which case, I’ll thank them). Other than that, I’ll strikethrough sentences which are wrong and replace them with the correct information.

  2. If depends on the mistake. If it’s grammar or spelling that I over-looked, I just fix it without any notice. If I got something factually wrong, I strike through so my readers know I made a mistake but took the time to correct it.

  3. It’s just like Dvorak to take up that sort of opinion on an issue like this. I’ve always used the strikethrough without giving it a second thought. I will seriously take a look into the < del > tag and < ins > tags after reading your comment though. I may have to change the way I edit posts.

    I remember someone telling me that it’s best to use the tag which contains a timestamp and I didn’t understand what they meant by that until now. Thank you very much for the tips.

  4. Funny, this was also discussed in TWiT 151 (Dvorak was also there). I understand his reasons, but I think it’s a good practice to be as transparent as possible.

    I use strikethrough (which is better implemented using the <del> tag, not the <strike> tag) if the information is just a few words. But if they’re full paragraphs, I use the <ins> tag to update the post with new information at the top of the page, usually with a date stamp. WordPress automatically inserts a very detailed timestamp if you use its <ins> and <del> buttons in the text editor.

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