Predated Blog Entries

Pre-Dated Entry (Icon)

This icon signifies that a blog entry has been predated (or if you prefer, backdated), meaning, the date that the content was originally/initially created is earlier than the date it was posted on this blog. With some of the longer entries, it can also signify that there has been substantial editting to the writing during the interim.

You may ask, “Why would you date a blog entry on an earlier date than the actual date you posted it?…and even if you do that, why bother to call it out? “What follows is an explanation of this idea, with some ruminations on the Nature of Blogs and why I personally bother blogging at all.(Come join me for this journey…)

[ NB: For the record: I dislike the word “blog,” “blogger,” “blogging” and most of all, “blogosphere.”But here we are, we bloggers in the blogosphere, blogging our blogs and nobody can say blah, because although we are participants in the process, we don’t fully control the English language and the turns it sometimes takes.]

Ok. Although a blog is typically written with a “letter to the world” voice, in my case I view my blog as a personal reference source and sandbox. This is a place where I work out ideas and record things I’ve found interesting… but with the added twist that it has to be done with some rigor, because I might want to share it with someone I know, or someone out there *might* even just stumble upon it.

I think this dimension of the blog makes it a better medium for idea-gathering than the old-fashioned diary or scrapbook, which are off the public record of the all-seeing Google. With physical scrapbooks in particular, these tend to be more consistent in quality, more well crafted and are more carefully considered in their content when there is an intended audience, such as family members.If it’s just a private affair, I imagine that most people’s private scrapbooks will devolve into a mixed media filing system.

So, at least for me, the purpose of this site is to act as my own virtual diary/scrapbook.As such, the date of the first draft for any entry is most important (to me) in terms of archiving and retrieval, even though I may only release a final draft at a later date when I feel it’s coherent enough… or, in certain circumstances, if enough time has passed. Furthermore, I may revise my entries later, sometimes using a date-stamped comment or epilogue, sometimes not. In this respect, I’m probably more of a “wiki editor” than a “blogger.”I considered using a wiki, but a blog is so much easier to get up and running. In fact, I only started this blog after wringing my hands for years over what CMSwould be most appropriate for writings, links, pictures, etc. (which live in different places) with the right mix of functionality and ease, all bearing in mind questions about platforms, standards, support, obsolescence, oh my. Then one day I’m having coffee with Shawn Broderick and he gave me a “Just Do It” pep talk.

As such, I am blogging backwards and forwards… forwards as stuff happens and I write about it, backwards as I tap into my backlog of stuff I’ve written in emails, notes to self and various unpublished whitepapers, manifestos and rants.

As for why I’m even calling out the fact that this is going on, well, I guess it has to do with being authentic, or something.I imagine that the few people who might actually read any of this would be people who know me, and if they ever bothered to read a part of this blog twice and noticed that I was surreptitiously pre-dating entries, well, I’d feel like such a tool. It’s all about having respect for the reader, man. Now, I’m sure many bloggers pre-date an entry here or there, for any number of reasons, and it isn’t necessarily “inauthentic” to do that.I’m just saying this works for me.

In conclusion, here’s an analogy:In some very large accounting software setups, the books are always “closing” behind you and you can’t just change the way something was booked in the pre-closed period. Even if there was an error, say, last week, you can’t just go make an correct the book entry itself. Instead, you have to issue a big ‘ol honkin’ JOURNAL ENTRY to reverse the error, and if you want to be nice you also have to add comments to the JE so that people understand what it was all about, etc.Now, when Quickbooks swept through the business market, one thing that auditors didn’t like was that, by default, the books always stayed “open.”That meant at any moment, a bookkeeper could add, delete or change any transaction in the books, from the past.Having worked with many an auditor and worn the hat of VP Finance / Controller, I’ve found that, once things are up and running with Quickbooks and have settled into a routine, the best practice is to turn on the “audit trail” function. That way, you can go back in time and change the entries themselves without making a big stink of it, but the fact that this change happened is documented by the system. That way, you can also keep track of what’s what… for example, if a printed and dated financial statement doesn’t match with what’s currently in the system, it’s easy to figure out why… and it make the job of those forensic accountants / fraud detectors much easier.So you see, this blog is all about having the right financial controls. It’s about checks and balances. Integrity. Authenticity.Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.Whatever you want to call it.

Plus, it’s always fun to design icons.

Pre-Dated Entry (Icon)


About danspira

My blog is at: My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on March 25, 2007, in Accounting, Blogging and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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