Jeremy Arnold's correction policy

In April, 2018, Elliot Temple wrote on FI list:

Another way to stand out would be to send money to everyone who has corrected you and to keep a list of corrections, with dates, and then people can see you often do listen, including recently, and genuinely value the help. And even if you rarely get successful corrections, you could still blog each unsuccessful correction you listened to and why you rejected it. People could then see how you handle input, criticize your handling of input, see that you do consider input in a reasonable way, learn from it, avoid repeating input you’ve heard before, etc.)

Jeremy Arnold, who writes at savingjournalism.substack.com, does at least some of the above. He published a correction policy. The policy says he solicits corrections for his writing and even pays for corrections in some cases. I haven’t checked to see how closely he follows the policy or how reasonably he resolves disputes about the accuracy of corrections.

The listed payment amounts are:

For my own public writing (as far as bounties to the first reader to point out my mistake):

  • A by-the-way fact was wrong: $10-$25
  • A load-bearing fact was wrong: $25-$250
  • I misunderstood/misrepresented someone: $25-$100

He maintains a list of payouts.

Some other quotes from the policy:

I’m also extending this policy to any content I share publicly. I should be accountable for my choices there too. Whether I wrote something myself or not, I’m still responsible for spreading it. If I have reservations or caveats, I should spell them out clearly at the time.)

Good for him.

The popular wisdom here is that trolls don’t deserve engagement, and that creators should engage sparingly. While I generally agree, I’d argue that ignoring legitimate points ( even when minor ) is net unhelpful, and often a missed opportunity.

Good point about not ignoring minor points.

Setting up a formal funnel for corrections actually cuts down on noise by letting you ignore the comments section entirely.

He has a web form (the “funnel” linked above) for people to fill out to submit disagreements/corrections.

Jeremy is on Twitter at @jdotarnold. I saw that he recently retweeted a correction notice (regarding one of his own articles) that he posted earlier.

Did you look at his articles before posting? Your post bizarrely omits what sort of writer he is, what he does.

Minor points are actually less threatening and easier to correct than major points. Without having looked, I would assume that most of his corrections are of relatively minor points (corrections that don’t affect or change the overall point of the article being criticized), rather than major points.

Also note, he emphasizes “legitimate”. How does he decide what is a legitimate point? Is it just something like: points that he agrees with when he reads them? Points that he quickly recognizes as correct?

He has listed payouts for correcting individual facts and misrepresentations. But there isn’t a listed payout amount for if you make a major correction, e.g., change his entire point of view, correct him on the main point of an article. Why not? I would guess (again, without having looked) that he doesn’t even accept those kinds of corrections. He might get them, but he doesn’t seriously consider them or view them as “legitimate”.

I read one of them: ProPublica's Bombshell, Bullshit Tax Story - The Save Journalism Committee

As an aside, you asked a yes/no question, but I don’t know how to answer it with yes or no because I don’t know if reading one article counts as “look[ing] at his articles”. If a person had a bunch of cars, would looking at one count? I dunno.

“Bizarre” isn’t a word I know well. I looked it up:

Odd in manner or appearance; fantastic; whimsical; extravagant; grotesque.

Hmm. I don’t think I’d be able to argue either way about whether what I included or omitted was bizarre. Sounds advanced to me.

You also brought up the fact that I didn’t say “what sort of writer he is”. I think I don’t understand what problem saying that is meant to solve.

Off the top of my head, I don’t know what the entries on a useful list of “sort[s] of writers” would look like. I googled for “sorts of writers” and didn’t see anything useful.

When sharing Arnold, you didn’t say what topic he writes about. That’s one of the main elements of writer type. The answer is political news.

What do you think of this writing sample from Arnold?

This all sounds very sinister, but is also rendered meaningless under the slightest interrogation. Brokers by definition are middlemen who have customers on both sides. And if we have to pick the side that matters more to Robinhood, it’s obviously retail customers. To suggest otherwise is either disingenuous or negligently ignorant.

(If you excite 10 million people into wanting to buy a commodified good or service, providers of said good or service will beat a path to your door. But no amount of contracts with said providers will make retail purchasers magically appear. They need to be won, and to be kept. While you can piss off the providers all you want and they’ll still bend to your aggregated purchasing power, pissing off the people providing that power to you will fundamentally break your business. This is 101 stuff.)

Yes. The reason I didn’t say more about what sort of writer Arnold is is that I was focusing on his corrections policy. I was trying to limit the things I wrote about to things that I felt confident about.

I don’t feel confident about saying what topics Arnold writes about. Figuring that out would have taken more research and thought than I was prepared to put into the post.

It makes sense to me that the topics someone writes about would be an important element of their “writer type”. My current impression, after reading one article and a few other small samples, is that he writes, at least on his savingjournalism substack, about mistakes that he thinks he has found in mainstream news articles. The articles I looked at included discussions of tax policy and financial markets.

One answer I was thinking of giving to the question of “what sort of writer [Arnold] is” is: nonfiction. At least that’s the subset of his writing that his corrections policy applies to. That’s an answer I’d feel confident in.

I don’t have many thoughts off-hand. I don’t know much about the topic Arnold writing about. One thing I noticed he says that it is “obvious” that retail customers matter more to Robinhood than the service providers they deal with, but it isn’t clear to me whether he’s right about that underlying claim, even after reading the parenthetical paragraph that follows.

It’s bad to spend your time on and then bring up to other people things you don’t have thoughts about and don’t want to talk about. You should spend your time on things you’re interested in and able to understand enough to have thoughts about, and then bring up those things instead.

Wanting a limited, narrow discussion is basically the opposite of what the Unbounded category means. And the topic you chose was not limited or narrow, and brought up as relevant things like what Arnold writes and whether he behaves rationally.

What this topic does is similar to linking to this thread and praising the author’s rationality. (The thread author is social climbing and lying. The lip service to rationality isn’t praise-worthy.)

Re: that Twitter thread, this jumped out at me…

…given the results you experienced when trying to engage Crawford

I don’t believe I brought up Arnold’s writing. I thought I brought up his corrections policy.

I didn’t say I wanted a narrow discussion. I was explaining why I didn’t discuss Arnold’s writing in the first place.

I don’t mind going on tangents if other people’s questions lead there.

Can you see that (in the second quote) you brought up Arnold, said he’s a writer, linked his writing, and then said that he (via his writing) does some rational stuff?

Yes, with one minor quibble (I don’t think it would change the “Yes” to a “No”): I said Arnold does at least some specific things that were listed above, not that he does “some rational stuff”. However, on reflection, I do think that the things that were listed (and that I said that he did at least some of) are rational.

I think a tree to help guide the discussion would make it more productive. The tree should have only the important points people say and explicitly want to include in the tree, not every detail people say.

But I also think you aren’t interested in this discussion and should pick a topic you’re more interested in to discuss. You could brainstorm some options. What topics interest you that you’d like to understand better? Then start a new topic using a tree from the beginning.

This thread was awful and Alisa wasn’t willing to have an unbounded discussion about it or to reach any conclusions or explain ending the discussion. It just ends in the middle to avoid clarity about how or why it was ending or what that means.