On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

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Campitor
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Campitor »

@IlliniDave

You're musings, at least to me, served as a reminder that slowing down and getting perspective is a net positive even if those musing were the mere contemplations of clouds.

Pausing to smell the roses reinvigorates the mind and focuses thinking by slowing down the mental chatter. As navy seals like to say - slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

Deleting some of your posts is 100% your prerogative and I look forward to your future posts.

Campitor
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Campitor »

jacob wrote:
Thu Feb 04, 2021 11:58 am
I'll therefore and hereby declare "the era of account nuking" officially over.
Tipping my hat to you sir...

classical_Liberal
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by classical_Liberal »

theanimal wrote:
Thu Feb 04, 2021 7:15 pm
What's the point of being/pursuing ERE and FI if you're just going to remain mentally trapped when you attain it? FFS, get some tougher skin. We aren't in the USSR.
A former US prez and current US congresswoman are being put on trial for what amounts to social media posts... think about that... This has nothing to do with "tough skin". Why is it only some of the people old enough to have memory of the USSR that are deleting their accounts?
jacob wrote:
Thu Feb 04, 2021 11:58 am
I'll therefore and hereby declare "the era of account nuking" officially over.
Thanks for the heads up.

theanimal
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by theanimal »

I don't think they are comparable.

Anyways, it was a poor point on my part to include politics as to my knowledge, only 1 former poster has removed their posts explicitly for political reasons.

ETA: You too? I'm sorry to see that. You had some great insights and were part of some great discussions here.

Is this the end of the forum? Multiple high frequency posters deleting content leaving discombobulated threads?

Miss Lonelyhearts
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Miss Lonelyhearts »

Some totally contrarian points to add now that the argument’s over:

Most of the deletings seem to be personal freakouts. This is sometimes a part of growth. The ones I’ve noticed all came after the posters made huge progress in changing their lives. It’s underappreciated just how scary that is. There is a reason there are no “heritage speakers” of ERE on this forum. To change takes courage and courage is fickle. To the rationalizing brain, it’s much easier to blame the stazi than to contemplate how much you’ve changed and how vulnerable you were. Insofar as deleting your posts is a symptom of this, it’s a good symptom to have. Things are happening in the real world.

The forums aren’t appreciably changed. Some posters (Stahlmann, the young man formerly known as El-oh-zay) revive(d) necrothreads but people mainly read the new stuff. I humbly suggest that the angst you may be feeling is just plain grief. It sucks to have friends leave, but what good cult doesn’t have its apostates?

If you read the dearly departed’s posts, you got what you needed from them. If you mourn for future members missing out, ask yourself whether you expect strangers to mourn for all the texts you’ll never be able to read. Maybe the real ERE. . . was the threads we read along the way?


@cL, nah, that’s not what they’re being put on trial for. I think you know that ;)

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Dream of Freedom »

Maybe we should just delete everything in the politics section after say 2 years. That is probably where the most controversial posts are. Politics quickly become outdated as policies and who is in power change. Also the information rarely useful in everyday life. To the extent that it is less desirable to nuke ones account it would lessen the risk of overzealous editing in more important threads.

I think that most of the benefit of the forum (not just politics) is in the act of participating in the discourse not in having a huge archive of old posts to read.
Last edited by Dream of Freedom on Fri Feb 05, 2021 4:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

guitarplayer
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by guitarplayer »

Does anyone know, after @jacob deletes posts, there are nevertheless kept somewhere / sent to the author for future reference or something of the sort? I am thinking, if I were in a position of having posted several thousands posts on the forum, I would pity all this work too much to ask for it to be deleted with no further access.

Campitor
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Campitor »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:46 am
A former US prez and current US congresswoman are being put on trial for what amounts to social media posts... think about that... This has nothing to do with "tough skin". Why is it only some of the people old enough to have memory of the USSR that are deleting their accounts?
Those of us old enough to remember the USSR also remember that it was individuals willing to speak truth to power that helped bring about change but I guess we all have to decide what level of risk we're willing to take in defense of our freedoms.

IlliniDave
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by IlliniDave »

theanimal wrote:
Thu Feb 04, 2021 7:15 pm
There were plenty of long time regulars who stopped posting due to the Trump presidency, at least they had the decency to just stop posting without deleting content. IMO, the deletion of posts has been extremely short sighted and selfish.
Just some context here people.

--I have at least 3,100 posts on this site that remain untouched.
--I did not modify anything in a thread started by another user.
--If I had not fucked up and hit the quote button and deleted a quote of one of my posts without realizing it, thereby inadvertently knocking the thread up to the top of active topics list, no one would have ever noticed the deletions
--To those who feel I owe them a journal please see viewtopic.php?f=9&t=4986 That that thread is already completely forgotten perhaps speaks to the true "value" of old journal threads. Nevertheless, I judged it might have some usefulness to someone new to the journey so I didn't touch it.
--The hostility is unwarranted. Please take a deep breath and unclutch your pearls.

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jennypenny
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by jennypenny »

guitarplayer wrote:
Fri Feb 05, 2021 4:19 am
Does anyone know, after @jacob deletes posts, there are nevertheless kept somewhere / sent to the author for future reference or something of the sort?
I don't believe so. I think gone-is-gone, at least on the forum. Waybacks are a different story.

plantingtheseed
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by plantingtheseed »

jacob wrote:
Thu Feb 04, 2021 11:58 am
... You should absolute expect that whatever you write on the internet to stay around forever in some form for someone to find it if they really want to. ...
My sentiments exactly. I reasoned that the purpose of the journal was about progress and therefore it had to include numbers.

But this also meant being careful about disclosing private information - an inevitable trade off.

suomalainen
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by suomalainen »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:46 am
A former US prez and current US congresswoman are being put on trial for what amounts to social media posts... think about that...
Those two demagogues have not been "put on trial". Those two people in power are being considered for being stripped of their power ONLY because of their incitement of political violence. Notice how every other of the 250+ federal (let alone state and local) Republican senators and representatives are NOT having their social media scraped and presented publicly (again) as evidence against them in a power-stripping exercise (NOT a criminal trial), putting aside the typical political "painting your opponent as a [whatever you don't like]". These people get pulled through the mud every 2 (or 4 or 6) years. That's just politics. Always has been and ever will be.

In contrast, Putin in Russia is jailing people for supporting his political "rival" (not really a rival, but just a guy that's speaking out about Putin since Putin can't officially have a rival, it's not allowed).

One thing is not remotely like the other.

suomalainen
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by suomalainen »

After I posted that, I saw that @cL deleted every post he ever made, which is a shame. Perhaps it is a loss that equates only to nostalgia for me given how little I review older posts, but for certain I will feel the loss when I go back through my own journal or other threads in which I participated very actively, which I do from time to time, reminding myself of nuggets gained that have faded a bit in my memory. Perhaps the "loss" is one that won't be felt by future participants who will never have a chance to read his thoughts. Can you miss what you never experienced? No, but it is a loss nonetheless. This is not to argue that he "shouldn't" have done it. It's just an expression of grief. That said, I understand that this forum has gone through several lifetimes, maybe even 3 at this point - there was an original crop of regulars, most of whom faded away; then a second crop that faded away; and now perhaps a third. Such is life. Nothing lasts, but nothing is lost. At the very least, to the extent of deletions of content added to my journal or posted in response to me, perhaps any of my responses incorporating their thoughts will suffice to remind me of any wisdom to be gleaned from the now-deleted posts. A pruned tree is still a tree, but perhaps not quite as fruitful; unfortunately in this case, pruned branches won't just re-grow - they're lost forever.

Loner
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Loner »

I can understand the motivations of those who nuke their posts. On the other hand, this trend is worrying both generally, in the sense that it says a lot about the current social atmosphere, and specifically, since it reduces the value of the forum (by much). This board a tool and ressource just as powerful as the book and blog, which is to say a lot. Having read many, many old threads, a lot of them being perhaps not the most insightful-looking on first evaluation, I feel sorry for the newcomers who won't be able to go back and read old threads without doing much deciphering (not the mention the insights that were lost by removing the posts themselves). I'm not sure I'd have stuck around so much if I hadn't been able to do that.

It's not my call, but I think editing and deleting should not be allowed after something like 24 hours, to allow for spelling mistakes and posts made on the spur-of-the-moment, or even at all. This is a public forum, and as such, it is not exactly like a physical forum where one speaks out loud. The expectations should be different. On top of that it is a forum dedicated not to chatting with friends, but to discussing topics related to finance, skills, philosophy, etc., with the ultimate goal of improving our lives and the world. Nuking posts prevents both. Just like articles, letters to the editor, op-eds and such never, ever disappear, I think posts on this forum should be the same. The opposite is just too detrimental. I don't think anyone would keep themselves from getting involved if such were the rules since most deletions appear to have been done out of a somewhat, in my opinion, overblown fear.

As has been said before, what is the point of reaching ERE if one is to continue to self-censor? It's only by cowering that we invite more restrictions.

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Bankai
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Bankai »

Loner wrote:
Fri Feb 05, 2021 9:41 am
It's not my call, but I think editing and deleting should not be allowed after something like 24 hours
I think that would prevent some (most?) people from posting at all and make them leave. Or at the very least make most very causcious about sharing details and opinions. Look at all the overreaction to jacob's decision to stop allowing account nuking, which in practical terms changes absolutely nothing: nuking an account doesn't prevent it from being viewed if someone desires so, and the option to edit ALL one's posts is still here (and I believe always will be - removing it would be out of character for jacob and would likely kill the forum) and in practical terms there's no difference between deleting all posts and editing them out to a . . Any policy should take both into consideration: to preserve the weatlh of useful posts on the forum and to allow users to delete/edit out any details they want. And I believe jacob's decision was correct and did just that, hence my surprise that some took it personally and based on imaginary future threats decided to delete everything. If you're really that afraid, why not just edit out the sensitive stuff? Or at least sleep on it for a day or two rather than knee-jerk delete_all.

ZAFCorrection
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by ZAFCorrection »

@loner

I think people who are on an ERE-ish journey are often the country mouse who got stuck in the city and are behaving accordingly. In that case it makes sense. There is a lot of tail risk that comes with being a part of a complex society, the exact probability distributions aren't really known (the imagination and Taleb can fill in the details), and everyone has their own level of risk tolerance.

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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by jacob »

As noted above, there are consequences to one's writings and obviously also consequences to one deleting one's writings. The effects of one's behavior extends beyond one's personal nose tip and so what one does affects not only oneself but also others. Even on the internet.

I foresee a few different interpretations and outcomes here. Too early to tell, but I'm definitely thinking in terms of first and second-order effects and how to go forward with this forum.

1) This was just a confluence of two events. The regrettable nuking of a major account for personal reasons coinciding with a transfer of US political power and the more partisan people predictably freaking out again---just like in 2017 but on the other side. However, last time people just faded away, whereas now deleting posts and accounts is the name of the game.

2) Some suddenly realized how the internet actually works. Yes, other people can read what you write although in all likelihood, they're not that interested unless you give them a reason. Privacy is only a matter of degree. If you're worried about what the government, "big tech", or hackers can read, see, or hear, you should probably stop using the internet entirely as well as any connected computer or cellphone.

3) I do keep database backups, but it requires $$$ to pay the IT guy to get into them + it sends the entire forum back to the timestamp of the last backup, so I'm only going to do this if the website crashes. It has never happened and hopefully it will never happen. I can not revert people's edits from the forum's admin panels. Of course, you can find much of the stuff ever posted on the interwebs on various web archives. It's just usually people don't really have a good reason to go there because it's still on the non-archived site.

4) Going forward maybe people will think more about what they post and how it affects others and only post what they're comfortable with in terms of privacy and opinions they are willing to stand behind. If so, I'd consider that kind of self/other-awareness an improvement on the discourse. In this case, the "era of nuking or self-nuking" will be a bump in forum history just like the previous crises (COVID lockdown politics, Charlottesville, metoo, Trump election, climate change). Some regulars were lost in a rather destructive manner this time, but there's no reversing that. There will be holes in the pre-2020 threads, but threads will be better going forward.

5) Alternatively, self-nuking becomes widespread on the forum and the new normal. Some will learn nothing and continue to push the Overton window figuring they can just delete their posts later. Maybe such pushing will even get worse. Some will write journals only to delete them after pulling the plug. (This used to be a thing. More journals have gone than have entire accounts. Although neither count is very high.)

IMHO this kind of extractive behavior shows a lack of appreciation for the community. Insofar subsequent/eventual post-deletion is normalized why spend time writing detailed answers to people's concerns if you know they'll delete their questions once they got what they wanted. Why bother answering at all? Grasping this implication requires thinking beyond one's personal concerns.

In particular, if this lack of appreciation becomes normal, I don't really see the point in me spending much energy in moderating and trying to maintain a community here. Perhaps this is a case of mismatched expectations (hidden contracts?), but I am primarily trying to build a place where like-minded people, who are rather rare IRL, can have a sense of community and enjoy a level of mutual support. There's an idea of paying it forward---you get help from others and in return you help others---that gets destroyed when threads get damaged willy-nilly. The archives are also a tremendous resource of information that I think only came about because of how good the community is. The fact that we know/care for each other means that you'll get much better answers and followups than you would if we were just a bunch of self-centered individuals.

Imagine if these forums didn't exist. The alternative would be hanging out on facebook (see 2) or commenting on blogs and newspaper articles. I focused my efforts here because I think/thought a forum would be much better use of my efforts than writing blog posts or articles on medium. But if it's turning into a place for random people to get one-off answers from people who just enjoy answering questions for the sake of that, I think the level of feedback will drop substantially.

6) Politics has been the major cause of knee-jerk exits, whether destructive or non-destructive, so perhaps a better rule going forward is simply to ban politics entirely. Many other personal finance forums do ban it. I've resisted that because I think politics has also been a major source of attraction for many here (who then occasionally also post about more mundane matters like budgets or 401k plans). I also think I can handle the moderating aspects of it, but if people are going to walk out knocking down all the toys on their way out, I clearly can't.

In summary, I see three possible futures, name 4, 5 or 6. For now, I'll wait and see.

Loner
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Loner »

@Bankai - You're right, it's a possibility that people might leave, or not come. I just don't think that 1) it would be a large disincentive and 2) that this would be worse than allowing people to nuke their posts afterward. But I get that the effects are difficult to predict beforehand. Jacob's move is welcome, but as is already being shown, and as you said, it doesn't change much. A motived user - and the user will be motivated if he thinks there's a "grave" threat hanging overhead - will go through his posts one by one to remove all the content.

I also get the "right to be forgotten" that Jacob mentioned elsewhere, but it is not absolute. As I mentioned, you have no right to be forgotten if you write to/for a newspaper on topics you're interested in, if you go to a march and wind up in pictures on the web, etc. I think this forum should be thought of in somewhat similar lines. Yes, it's a public space, but as a written public space with a specific goal in head, the rules should be different. People come here, get help from others, and then remove the content that may very well help others. Seems unfair. This is also without even mentioning the fact that, thinking about this more widely, there is no point in allowing deletions (out of legal reasons, etc.) if the threads remain in the Wayback Machine, Google's Cache, as it does. You can still read the journals of users who deleted their contributions. What's the point? If someone's motivated, you're done anyhow.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Western Red Cedar »

Well this trend seems to sadly be gaining momentum. I can certainly understand reservations about sharing information online. This is actually the only place I've chosen to engage online because I tend to be cautious on that front. With that said, I received a wealth of information here over the last few years, and figured I owed it to the larger community to actively participate. My life and pursuit of financial independence is much richer as a result of this participation.

Loner
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Loner »

ZAFCorrection wrote: There is a lot of tail risk that comes with being a part of a complex society, the exact probability distributions aren't really known (the imagination and Taleb can fill in the details), and everyone has their own level of risk tolerance.
I agree with you. I just think that deletions are pointless for all the reasons mentioned up to here - if you post, you've already entered the "minefield" since your posts are here to stay - on top of being harmful for the community (which is much larger than regular user/posters).

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