Proposal for a “correction” tag

Henceforth, when I correct a post or make a correction in a subsequent post, I will add a “correction” tag. I’d love to see that become standard operating procedure in blogs — and newspapers.

The reason: We are constantly questioned about our correction policies vs those of big media. I argue that we are better and certainly quicker at correcting our mistakes and that we are better at responding to our readers’ corrections of us. If we had a tag that allowed us to search on such posts, we’d be able to prove it.

I don’t mean that we should tag corrections of typos (God knows, every post of mine would carry the tag then!). Nor am I going to tag my posts about Iraq as corrections. ;-) If we label our corrections, we are being more transparent about errors that can show up in searches and feeds. And perhaps we inspire big media to do likewise.

Reading the wonderful Regret the Error inspired this.

: LATER: I didn’t know that ; + – + ) would actually give you a horrible little blinking yellow face; I thought it would just give you those characters. For that, I owe you not a correction but an apology.

  • Joe

    Will you use it ever time you post about Iraq?

  • Continuing the comments on style and not substance, you can disable the magical transformation into cute smiley faces in WordPress config: go to Options | Writing, and uncheck “Convert emoticons…”.

    Now on to the substance… since you’re editing the post anyway, just add a category – “Corrections” – giving people the ability to see the label, and the ability to browse past corrections. (As long as we’re being transparent…)

    That would more or less serve the purpose, yes?

  • The whole correction issue is interesting. If a story is available online and an error is made what should be done?
    Should the original story be fixed so the error is no longer there?
    Or should a link, or inserted remark, be added to the original story giving the correction?

    What about others who link, or cite, the original without knowing about the correction? How are they to be handled?

    This comes up frequently in the scientific research literature. Obviously the printed copy can’t be fixed (although sometimes libraries are sent inserts to paste in), but the electronic version can be repaired.

    Congress rewrites what gets put into the congressional record after the fact, by the way.

    Nothing is ever as simple as it seems…

  • BTW, I like how handles corrections: they correct the main text, add an asterisk next to the correction which is hyperlinked to an explanation at the end of the page (including the corrected text), and a hyperlink to return to the original spot in the article.

  • I. F. Stoner

    Bloomberg always tags corrected stories with “CORRECT” and always tags updated stories with “UPDATE.” They have since it’s inception. Dunno, but I’m pretty sure AP does too.

  • Angelos

    You beat me to it Rick, but I like Slate’s method too.

    I want to read the correct story uninterrupted, but I do appreciate the transparency they offer, with the explanation of the orignial mistake at the bottom.

    I wonder how WaPo would handle Hiatt’s columns. They’d have to match his column-inches with the same amount of text correcting all of his bullshit.

  • Corrections should primarily be for “facts” — what actually was said, was done, was seen.

    Much news is speculative predictions of the future, so is not factual — though poll questions are facts, what is really meant seldom is.

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  • I. F. Stoner

    Here’s how Forbes handles their corrections…note the trashlines at bottom explaining what was changed/corrected/clarified…

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