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Changing and Deleting Blog Posts

Some people are blog purists: if they change a post, they’ll leave a note at the top of the post stating the changes, and they would never dream of deleting an old post (unless there was a very specific reason why it needed to be removed).  Whereas others see blog posts and comment sections as flexible, breathing, and ever-changing.

They’ll delete old posts if they decide to take their blog in a new direction, removing all traces of its old personality as a food blog in order to establish it as a style blog.  Or they’ll leave up a post for three days and then take it down.  Or they’ll change their opinion on something and go back and change the blog post to reflect their new thoughts instead of their original thoughts.

There is no right or wrong way to blog.  But there are definitely different ways of blogging.

Valleywag wrote about it a while back:

It’s an iterative process, and for me the process doesn’t necessarily end once I’ve hit “publish.” I go back and look at things. I see lines that don’t work, and I cut them out. I think of something I like, and put it in. I edit. I polish. I rewrite headlines. I fix and improve, or try to, anyway.

I think editing for clarity or to correct spelling errors is one thing — those are edits to improve.  What about about edits to backpedal?  Or get yourself out of trouble?  Or remove evidence?  Where does that fall in the edit-after-publish realm?

BlogHer had a post a few weeks later about removing (not just editing) old blog posts, a slash-and-burn method to make room for new thoughts or directions for the blog.  She writes,

Whatever it may be, you are not the same. I like to think of myself as a continuous work in progress – mentally, emotionally, and physically.  One of the arguments for keeping your blog intact is for a historical record. I’m thankful I grew up during a time period when your “historical records” were the photo albums your mom put together. I’m glad when I was in college there was no Twitter or Instagram. I didn’t even have Facebook in college.  I’m thankful for that because I’m not sure that I would want the world knowing everything I did or said.

She’s of the delete-if-it-doesn’t-fit-anymore school of blogging.

It’s an interesting thing to think about.  I don’t really look back on old posts very often, and I can’t think of any that make me cringe when I see them.  Do I think my writing style has evolved?  Probably.  I hope so.  But I leave up those posts because maybe there’s a kernel of something helpful amid the crappy writing.

Again, there is no correct way to blog, but where do you stand on the editing or deleting old blog posts continuum?

Side note: Tomorrow is #MicroblogMonday.  Get writing!

13 comments

1 torthuil { 12.06.15 at 8:53 am }

I keep everything. The only thing I edit are spelling and grammar mistakes (and if there was some factual error I’d change that). If I was not comfortable with something being public, I would take the entry offline, but not delete. To me it is very valuable to have an accurate record of the past because because it helps me make sense of my life. It’s also about self acceptance: so I wasn’t always perfect or brilliant, maybe even wrong and ridiculous: is that a crime? I might edit what others see, but I try not to pretend to myself. So my blog has unpublished posts that no one has seen but me, and that’s ok. They won’t be deleted.

Another reason I don’t delete/throw away journals: this one is a little morbid, but if I die early, AJ might want them to get to know her mom. Even if nobody else cares, she might.

2 anon for today { 12.06.15 at 9:25 am }

There’s a more serious & frightening reason to do so: being stalked. I’ve deleted not just blog posts but entire blogs, fingers shaking on the keyboard as I did so. This was happening both IRL &, as far as I could tell, online. Sometimes people delete things for very, very good reasons.

3 sharah { 12.06.15 at 9:49 am }

I edit spelling and grammar with no thought whatsoever. But I use my posts as my own historical personal record and I would rather make a note for any change in mindset or thoughts I made and leave it out there in public. If I was to completely change the direction of my blog, I think it would make more sense to just start a new one.

4 Working mom of 2 { 12.06.15 at 10:44 am }

As a reader and not blogger I get why you may want to delete something. As to editing, I’m the kind of person who without trying will notice even small changes. Sometimes I will click back on a post to read comments (or click on a blog site (not this one) to access links to other blogs) and I’ll be mildly irritated that stuff in a post has changed, without a note that the post had been edited. I don’t know why I get irritated.

Also irritating: you see a post title in a blog roll and then you click on it and get an error message. Not being a blogger I don’t know the mechanics but can’t this be remedied, where person takes a post down or decides not to post it (then how does the title get in a blog roll????)?

5 nicoleandmaggie { 12.06.15 at 10:56 am }

@Working mom of 2 — you’re going to see some of that from us for the next month as we continually forget to change the year as we schedule future blog posts(!)

6 loribeth { 12.06.15 at 12:17 pm }

I have gone back & corrected spelling mistakes & corrected minor errors, when I’ve spotted them in old posts — in fact, one of these days I want to go through my entire blog (eeek), correct any spelling errors, and do some retagging. I didn’t know a lot about tags when I started out, & I have a lot more categories now that some old posts would probably fit under. I have never deleted a post to date, although there are some that I wrote & have never published. And like Torthuil, I can’t ever see myself deleting my blog. Taking it offline, maybe, but seeing eight years of my life and my writing disappearing in a click? No way. That would break my heart.

There was an episode a few years back where a distant cousin of mine stumbled onto my blog — a post I’d written about my grandparents’ unusual wedding — & then posted the link on a private family FB group (!!). Luckily, I’m one of the group admins, got a notification of a new post & managed to take down her post before too many people saw it. I also took down my blog for about a week until things blew over, and I did make some changes to that post and a couple of others to try to make it harder to search for. I didn’t especially mind her or them seeing that particular post, but I didn’t want them reading through the rest of my blog.

Working Mom, there have been a couple of times that I’ve accidentally hit “publish” on a draft before I was really ready — ifwhen that happens, I revert to draft again as quickly as I can — but apparently the link will still show up in blogrolls and blog readers. If someone tries to click on it before I finally publish, they get an error message. I always feel bad about that, but I don’t want to leave the post up in a half-finished form. :p

7 Jess { 12.06.15 at 5:29 pm }

I have never deleted a blog post, but I have gone back and edited for clarity (I reread it and something was amiss grammatically or spelling-wise). I usually read my posts out loud to my husband, and in reading it out loud discover something that doesn’t sound quite right. Most of the time I go back and fix it. I did recently go through and make sure that my last name did not appear anywhere in the blog, and edited some really old posts where I wasn’t quite as concerned about privacy as I am now. It involved a little finagling. (I had a disconcerting situation where one of my google searches was my full name as it appears on facebook and the title of my blog, and it led whoever it was right to the site.) It could have been innocuous, but then again maybe not. I like the idea of my posts being a record of my “development” so to speak, and being able to see how I’ve changed and grown since I started all this. I do go back and use my posts as a record of when things happened, too, so it is a useful chronological tool. And if I notice a spelling/grammatical error, I fix it. 🙂

8 Middle Girl { 12.06.15 at 8:00 pm }

I have deleted posts. These deleted posts were usually written in the middle of the night after a couple of martinis (or whatever I might have been sipping) and in the brighter light of day and mind, were either mean spirited or drivel. So, gone.

Some (fewer) were posts I just felt uncomfortable with them being public.

I don’t go back to read (evaluate) my posts anymore ( I did in the very early days) unless I’m looking for a particular reference toward something I’m thinking of writing about now. If I see something in an older post re-visited I might fix a spelling or syntax error but don’t change the flavor of the post.

If I decide to change directions, I’ll start a new blog but leave URL and archives.

9 deathstar { 12.07.15 at 1:17 am }

I’ll go back and edit in a day or two because of spelling or because I I didn’t make any flippin’ sense. Other than that, I tend to let sleeping dogs lie. I do however, have a lot of posts in draft because I had some great topic and never did get around to actually finishing it.

10 Parul { 12.07.15 at 3:11 am }

I think about this a lot and I always wonder if I should delete some posts cos they were not the best that I could have written. But then I have not done that yet cos I also feel that old posts and crappy writing shows the journey I have covered. There is no right or wrong answer but people would want their space to look like.

11 Lori Lavender Luz { 12.07.15 at 9:05 am }

I treat mine like my closet. Sometimes I purge things that don’t work for me any more.

12 J-Mom { 12.10.15 at 8:17 am }

I’ve just started blogging so I don’t know if I would keep this thought. But for now, I think I’d like to leave everything alone. There are things I thought later that I could change but whatever that I put out at the time is whatever at the time I thought was good.

13 Aly @ Breathe Gently { 12.10.15 at 11:11 pm }

I can’t delete old posts. They’re a part of me, they’re a part of my life… and one day, I might want to reflect on what I’ve been on – no matter what part of the journey that might be.

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