How to Revise a Node

or, Fixing Your Screw-Ups Without Annoying Even More People

Consider the following innocent little node.

moon

(thing) by Tsukino Usagi (print)

It's made of cheese. Neal Armstrong was the first to walk on it.

Assume, for sake of argument, that it has miraculously avoided the clammy hand of Klaproth. The usual result will be something like this in your Chatterbox:

fj0rd says, "The moon is not made of cheese, it's rock! see Space for Dummies"
Yo Mama says, "re: moon: it's Neil Armstrong, not Neal"
Now, it's time to revise your node, and I want to show you how to revise it correctly. First of all, do not do this:

moon

(thing) by Tsukino Usagi (print)

It's made of cheese. Neal Armstrong was the first to walk on it.


Whoops! fj0rd says the moon is made of rock, not cheese! And Yo Mama tells me he's called Neil. Thankz guyz!!!1!!
This node is not an opinion, it's factual. Either the moon is made of cheese or it's made of rock, it can't be both. If it's wrong, nuke it. Let's try revising the node again:
moon

(thing) by Tsukino Usagi (print)

It's made of rock (thanks fj0rd!). Neal sorry that should be Neil Armstrong was the first to walk on it.

This still sucks. Your reader is looking for information about the moon, they do not care about earlier mistakes or who fixed them. Overstriking breaks the flow and stuffing silly thank you notes into the body of the text wastes their time. Move the crap to the back. Once more, with feeling:
moon

(thing) by Tsukino Usagi (print)

It's made of rock1. Neil Armstrong2 was the first to walk on it.


1. at least according to Space for Dummies, says fj0rd
2. thanks to Yo Mama for the fix!
Now doesn't that look, and read, much better? Using footnotes for a node this small is a bit overkill, but overall it's still a good idea. (Incidentally, you can make a good-looking footnote in HTML with <sup>number</sup>.)

To summarize:

  1. Delete incorrect or outdated information.
  2. Place attributions and thanks at the end.
  3. Acknowledge significant contributions with footnotes.
Thank you.


I originally hesitated to node this, because I thought the content was trivial -- and it probably is when you write academic papers for a living. But I kept running into nodes where the revisions stuck out like a sore thumb, and often I was the one who corrected them in the first place!

And thanks to SharQ, LX and Tem42 for corrections. =)