Mistakes Were Made, Sometimes By Me

A few weeks ago, I put out a call asking for opinions on how a blogger should correct errors in their own work. I was specifically interested in errors that were a little less clear cut than normal: quoting a study that later turned out to be less convincing it initially appeared (failed to replicate), studies whose authors had been accused of misconduct, or studies that had been retracted.

I got a lot of good responses, so thanks to everyone who voted/commented/emailed me directly. While I came to realize there is probably not a perfect solution, there were a few suggestions I think I am going to follow up on:

  1. Updating the individual posts (as I know about them) It seemed pretty unanimous that updating old posts was the right thing to do. Given that Google is a thing and that some of my most popular posts are from over a year ago, I am going to try to update old posts if I know there are concerns about them. My one limitation is not always indexing well what studies I have cited where, so this one isn’t perfect. I’ll be putting a link up in the sidebar to let people know I correct stuff.
  2. Creating a “corrected” tag to attach to all posts I have to update. This came out of jaed’s comment on my post and seemed like a great idea. This will make it easier to track which type of posts I end up needing to update.
  3. Creating an “error” page to give a summary of different errors, technical or philosophical, that I made in individual posts, along with why I made them and what the correction was. I want to be transparent about the type of error that trip me up. Hopefully this will help me notice patterns I can improve upon. That page is up here, and I kicked it off with the two errors I caught last month. I’m also adding it to my side bar.
  4. Starting a 2-4 times a year meta-blog update Okay, this one isn’t strictly just because of errors, though I am going to use it to talk about them. It seemed reasonable to do a few posts a year mentioning errors or updates that may not warrant their own post. If the correction is major, it will get its own post, but this will be for the smaller stuff.

If you have any other thoughts or want to take a look at the initial error page (or have things you think I’ve left off), go ahead and meander over there.

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