“Pairwise”

It belatedly occurs to me that my last post misuses the term “pairwise.” A pairwise comparison is a comparison of one pair of things as against another pair, not a comparison of two items that are paired against one another. I was using “pairwise” to mean the latter, but that’s a mistake.

Incidentally, I haven’t set out a formal list of “policies” for this blog, but one of them will surely have to be that I promise not to make substantive changes to a post after the post has been published. I will, however, correct copy-edit level mistakes, as long as they don’t substantively change the point I was originally making. I guess you might object that any change, even at the level of grammar or punctuation, affects some substantive point somehow, but I’d respond that the changes I regard as “copy-edit level” are too minute to count as substantive in the relevant sense. They improve the clarity of the original argument without changing its content. Anyway, when in doubt (when I’m in doubt), I’ll tell you that I’ve made a change after I hit “Publish.”

I take it that the preceding policy differs from what one finds at some other blogs, where bloggers routinely modify their claims in response to criticisms, don’t inform their readers that they’re doing so, and then proceed as though the criticisms in question were misplaced. That’s obviously dishonest, and I’m surprised that readers are less critical of the practice than one might expect them to be.

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