As you know, I am not a skeptic of the science on this issue, something you never really see outside of journals… but I am utterly disgusted by the politics of it and the loathsome people purveying it for totalitarian purposes. This is not to say I will claim the writer was one of them, but that person may well have been pounced upon and forced to recant.
Perhaps I should note my own standards on this issue. I often ‘publish’ a late draft because my preview mode is not the best and do spelling, punctuation, link checks, syntax and such live. Sometimes in that interval I will make significant changes if I feel I did not make my point clearly. But once I am done, usually within 5-10 minutes of first publication, the article is forever frozen and any corrections (other than spelling or commas) is placed underneath the article in italics.
Making changes in the first few minutes after publication in this fast paced world is necessary. Going back hours or days later and making wholesale rewrites to the public record is not.
One might also note an exception: if one finds they have issued a libellous statement or accidentally published proprietary information or totally false information that is of course grounds for pulling the whole article… or striking out the offending phrase and placing a note like this one underneath. This is what the BBC should have done if they believed they had published incorrect data.
Note that I have been ‘playing’ with this article to explore with you the range of changes and time periods I feel comfortable with. There are some difficult issues here and I am not sure where the precise line is… although I am sure the BBC was well over it in this case.