The content management software I have installed on this website makes some things too easy. Granted, this is my website - if the software didn't allow me to quickly administer my material, I wouldn't have installed it. Yet I wish this software made some things more difficult. I can painlessly change just about anything in previous posts. This includes the timestamps, the titles and, of course, the content. This is handy for fixing typos. But what exactly should I let myself change? Are inaccurate statements equivalent to typos? If I think a previous post is poorly written, should I remove it or redo it? I can even edit every comment with a couple of clicks. Should I fix typos in other people's comments?
A memorable image from George Orwell's 1984
is the chute to the furnace for the 'outdated' newspapers. I don't think the book would be as appalling if the only thing Winston Smith did was select a bit of text and type overtop it. Of course, the changing nature of the World Wide Web is old, old news
. And is it such a big deal? People change, why shouldn't their homepages? Even works that aren't as ephemeral, like library books, are not necessarily trustworthy. Don't we treat everything we read with a dose of suspicion? The most I expect from the daily newspaper is entertainment. Change is interesting.
I've previously mentioned the blog that Dr. Jim West maintains. I check on it often, partly to solve the mysterious relation between a biblical scholar (who posts quotes like this
) and his belief that "the Hebrew Bible tells us nothing of events as they really were."
The other reason I read is that although I fall outside of his target audience, he posts prolifically and in these half a dozen posts each day I can usually find something interesting. To keep his blog looking fresh, Dr. Jim West changes his template every several days. I do not suspect any sinister motives, but in switching designs, his comments from an older template are no longer used.
I appreciated his response to my comment on his post about experts blogging
. The original comments
are no longer linked from the post, but his remarks on scholarship were another lesson in what I've been learning lately. His choice of the word "autodidactic" brought up a mental picture of my brain pondering nothing but its own internal impulses.
While I have no objections to being self-taught in the sense of learning without homework and lectures, what he said confirmed my thoughts about getting input
from solid outside sources.