Should Web sites — or blogs — ever remove content?

That’s the question posed by the Online Journalism Review at USC Annenberg, edited by
Robert Niles of Altadena, in a story by a University of La Verne professor, with plenty of references to just such a removal at the Pasadena Weekly …

4 thoughts on “Should Web sites — or blogs — ever remove content?

  1. I do.

    When I first started blogging I didn’t really fundamentally understand that what I was writing could be easily found by anyone I had ever met or might meet in the future and that everything I posted online was going onto my “permanent public record”.

    I also didn’t really get that even if I didn’t use other people’s names, if I told stories involving other people, it wasn’t always hard to put clues together, and that I might unwittingly be contributing to other people’s permanent public records.

    I think I’ve always been kind of a gentle, friendly blogger — I didn’t rant or vent or blame or try to make other people look bad — at least not most of the time.

    But even if you’re just posting about what you ate for dinner or what you’re reading or how you’re feeling after a long day, even that can add up to more information than folks might want random acquaintances to find, especially if they’re not aware of just how findable they are.

    I deleted my first couple of blogs. (Yes, of course, they’re still floating out there in Google’s cache and on the Wayback machine, but they’re not in top search results anymore.)

    When I started blogging again, I decided to post things I’d be happy to know that my neighbor five doors down or my elementary school best friend or my step-kids’s friend’s dad were reading. I also decided to be very careful about adding to other people’s permanent public records — what can be found out about them when running searches on their names.

    I don’t go back to old posts and re-write them to change history, but I do sometimes edit recent posts to make the language clearer. If I’ve posted a photo of a person (and I don’t post pictures of people’s faces without their permission), and they later ask me to take the photo down, I will.

    I’m not trying to be a journalist — journalists have different standards to live up to.

    I would hope that if a news site changed an archived article, they would do it in a way to show that information had been removed. Maybe replacing names or phrases with [Redacted].

  2. Make corrections as quickly as new information comes in, but note the change and why. That’s what makes the best blogs.

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