An open question about posting updates to articles

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Drew Wilson, Mar 25, 2012.

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  1. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    I have always been very hesitant when commenting on the reporting of other's in the same field because the last time I did something close to this, I get all this hate mail and hard feelings and, well, just taking my comments personally rather than just seeing it as more of a shop talk type question... but... well... here goes.

    I found a link to a TorrentFreak article where the person linking to it was saying something to the tune of, "OMG! BitTorrent is free speech in the US now!!!"

    Alright, I look at it. Click

    The big headline reads:

    Judge: BitTorrent Downloads Are Protected Anonymous Speech (Updated)

    So, you have the first paragraph:

    Scroll down a little...

    Scroll down a little more...

    Well, I guess that means BitTorrent lawsuits are over then. Keep reading and make it to the last two paragraphs:

    Oh... so the whole story I just read was more or less retracted with the last two paragraphs or something.

    So, I think back to the last time I've updated a story and that was actually the Armovore story. I wrote about how TechDirt and TorrentFreak was drug in to a massive DMCA takedown on Google. After the story broke, Armovore got the two site URLs re-instanted. So, I personally wrote an entire new article, then updated the previous article putting a note towards the top of the article to note that this story has since been updated by telling readers to scroll to the bottom. The bottom part mentioned that the URLs were re-instanted and I linked to the new article which features the apologies of the company as well as the fact that the URLs were reinstated.

    So, after recalling that, I'm looking at this article and thought, if what I see is not how I would update an article, how would I do it? Personally, I think I would have pulled the whole article and re-wrote it from scratch. I have done it before only once that I remember. In that case, it was an article with two paragraphs that, as it turns out, had inaccurate information that was sourced to what I considered to be an otherwise very trustworthy source. What I generally do is, after I publish a story, I audit the content to ensure that the content is as accurate as possible. On occasion, I correct a line or wind up only fixing a grammar mistake or two, but the pulling of the article was a case of the flow of the article being interrupted.

    In TorrentFreaks defense, stuff like this can very easily happen at no fault of the writer. Critical information can suddenly be made available and suddenly, a development can occur after you publish that kind of cuts a story at its knees. It just happens. The writer is working with what he or she has at the time.

    My question is, if something like this happens, what is the best approach to dealing with it? Do you go the extreme rout of pulling the whole article and re-writing from scratch so it leaves no question what happened? Do you put a note at the top saying, "Uh, things happened since publication, see below"? Do you just add "(Updated)" at the top and put a small paragraph at the bottom as seen here? What is the best approach anyway?

    Don't hate on me for this, I'm just asking a question because it seems like there's so many possible approaches to this. I think that, in some instances, people cross out inaccurate lines and say next to it that the story was updated in a sort of transparent editing (which I think is a neat idea personally).

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