This is something that most bloggers need to find their own answer to at some point. Editing entries after they’ve been posted.
Some people take the view that each blog post is a working and living document, to be edited however and whenever the author sees fit. I can understand the appeal of this approach, but as a librarian blogger, I can’t bring myself to do this. I would feel as if I were contributing to the difficulties of finding information on the internet. There are enough broken links and disappearing documents already without me adding a few more.
This will be my approach. I offer this more to clarify my thoughts and actions than as a prescription for others to follow.
Phase 1. For the first 12 hours, any change is fair game. This could include any edits, as well as completely deleting the post. This is my version of “sleeping on it”.
Phase 2. Between 12-72 hours after the initial posting, I will make changes to correct spelling and grammar. I may also improve the writing style, in minor ways that don't alter the substance of the post. Sometimes I drop words, a problem that’s difficult for me to notice until some time has passed. If I ever drop a “not”, this can be a huge problem because it means that the words are saying the opposite to my intention. But other than that, I won’t make any substantive changes to that document. For example, I won’t add another paragraph or even sentence, nor will I remove any. And I won’t delete the post, even if I wish that I’d never written it.
Phase 3. After 72 hours have passed, I won’t even correct the non-substantive spelling or grammatical mistakes which make me look stupid. The post is inviolate, except for the exceptions...
Of course a person's views can change and evolve and why shouldn’t I allow the flexibility of blogging tools to reflect this? Well I can, but in new posts. I can write a follow up post and insert a link to that in the original post. I could even write a totally new version of a post, but again this will be a new post. The original post will stand unchanged, except for a notice that this post has been superseded, and a link to the new version. As I mentioned before, I won’t ever a delete a post that’s older than 12 hours, but if I’m ever in the unenviable situation where I really want to, I can disavow or repudiate it. Again, the original will remain in existence, but I will include a note that the post has been disavowed, with a link to the reasons why, if I chose to write any. Finally, I will make any deletions or edits if that seems like an appropriate response to any legal action – which will hopefully never happen.
The worst thing a blogger can do, in my view, is to be sneaky about post-publication edits and deletions. Anybody who makes a habit of this will eventually be caught and will probably be very embarrassed.