Recently, I’ve been contacted several times to ask if I would update a post with new information. In one instance, it was a link that no longer worked for a post I wrote 6 or 7 years ago. In another instance, I made a reference in a 2014 post to “Angie’s List” and was asked if I would updated that to “Angi’s” since they recently rebranded. Most recently, I was asked to add a link to an older post. With these recent requests in mind, let me briefly explain why I don’t go back and update old posts:
- There are close to 7,000 posts on this blog going back 16 years. If I tried to keep links in all of those posts updated, it would be a full-time job and I wouldn’t get any actual post writing done.
- Old links and references (as in the reference to “Angie’s List”) are historical. They represent the world as I saw it back when the post was written. Since this blog doubles as a kind of public journal of record for me, I don’t want to update posts that have historical context.
- Old posts often express different opinions than what I hold today. Changing them could make it seem like my opinion was always the same. I don’t want to do that. I think it is interesting how my perspective changes over time, and some of that has been captured here. It is a slippery slope from updating a link to updating a past opinion or view point to match my current view. My instance that I could never listen to audio books is a classic example of this, given that , since I wrote that post 9 years ago, I’ve listened to hundreds of audio book.s
The request from Angie’s annoyed me out of all proportion. Were they really contacting everyone who ever mentioned Angie’s List in a post and asking them to change the reference and link to “Angi’s”? And did they really expect people to make these changes? It is like asking for free labor. And it is completely unnecessary when DNS updates could take care of this problem for them automatically.
For the record, I have gone back and updated posts when I have found factual errors outside of historic context, egregious misspellings (minor ones I just leave alone. See #2 above), or to add an “ETA” about some subsequent piece I’ve written that is essentially related. But none of these violate the reasons I list above for not updating old posts.
Just to be clear for any future requests: I don’t update old posts, I don’t update old links in posts, and I certainly don’t go back and add links to posts just because you saw I wrote a post on a subject that was tangentially related to a topic you have written about. See also my policy on link-exchanging.
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