On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

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jacob
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On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by jacob »

I understand wanting to delete one's journal insofar one regrets having published too much identifying information and some coworker or family has figured it out. I can also easily delete a journal.

I also understand wanting to delete specific posts one has regretted writing. I can delete individual posts given a URL for each individual post.

However, in the past year or so a really bad trend has started on the forum with people asking to have their entire account and all their posts wiped. Reasons vary. I understand why this is an easy solution to the person requesting it, but please consider the damage it does to the rest of the forum. When hundreds or thousands of posts disappear, it leaves conversations full of holes. People are still shown responding to past posts which are no longer there. This can be both confusing and it also risks changing the perception of those on the other half of the conversation.

Deleting an entire account doesn't happen in a vacuum. It affects other people and so it's not a decision that should be taken lightly or out of convenience.

I don't want to say that wiping all posts will no longer be an option because I do think that ultimately people have a right to get their writings taken down. However, insofar people don't want to say something "for the record" I'd strongly suggest not saying it in the first place rather than clobbering it later. There's just not much point in my spending time moderating and curating a forum if thread-coherence gets regularly damaged. We might as well have these conversations on snapchat :-P

For those who for some reason want to leave the forum or be prevented from coming back to curb an online addiction or for whatever reason, I can also delete just the account and leave the posts. This is my preferred solution for this kind of exit.

This is kind of open for debate because I'm not sure what the best position is on this. Currently the forum feels like a team work with the goal of providing lots of informational value. It's thus not great when someone decides to leave the team and "by the way please burn all my work as I head out the door" leaving the rest hanging. I think this should be an extreme case rather than a regular one.

Conclusion/also read: viewtopic.php?p=236749#p236749

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Seppia
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Seppia »

This is your house so you make the rules, as I also believe you’re much smarter than most people (certainly me) and can take better decisions.
From my point of view, I would definitely understand feeling the need to go back and edit some posts, where one may have shared a bit too much info.
But other than that, I feel like in 2020 every sane person should know whatever you post publicly is accessible.
So I feel the damage done to the forum by allowing account removals usually outweighs the right of the individual to manage ones data.

To sum it up:
Editing one post here and there is definitely ok
Nuking an account is a big no-no in my book unless very serious reasons (“I live in/just moved to a country where I could get jailed for what I’ve written here, please save my ass”)

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Seppia
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Seppia »

Add:
This is a place where I’ve gotten enormous value from reading old (sometimes VERY old) threads.
Removing pieces is a huge blow to the overall community.

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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Most of us will probably agree with those sentiments. Personally have had to go back and edit posts due to too much PII or personal info out there that in hindsight shouldn't be on a public forum, so that feature is important, but shouldn't require a moderator.

The whole "delete my account and everything I ever posted" folks are really hurting what they leave behind, especially if they were once active in a good portion of threads. Several times in the past week, have come across a thread (including parts of my own journal) that made no sense because of how many posts were deleted.

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unemployable
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by unemployable »

In the couple years I've been here, a few once-prominent posters have deleted all their material. I miss this content. A few of their posts survive when they are quoted by others -- ironically enough, considering your other recent reminder on posting etiquette.

It's their content, and your board. But often this place feels like the same couple of dozen people posting back and forth no matter the topic. Nuking entire post histories, giving the appearance of other voices never existing, serves to enforce this feeling.
Seppia wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:40 am
This is a place where I’ve gotten enormous value from reading old (sometimes VERY old) threads.
Removing pieces is a huge blow to the overall community.
Agree. The principles of ERE don't change much over the years, nor do the experiences of those who came before us decay much in value.

jacob
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by jacob »

unemployable wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:47 am
A few of their posts survive when they are quoted by others -- ironically enough, considering your other recent reminder on posting etiquette.
Indeed. I'm considering changing my stance on that for this reason.

Scott 2
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Scott 2 »

Wouldn't a person who wants their posts deleted, want their quoted posts deleted too? #minimalquotesclub

I'd suggest:

1. Retain long term edit rights
2. Add a robots file to the site, to block internet archiving. Maybe get the old stuff pulled from the archive.
3. Refuse to delete entire accounts, only journals
4. Continue discouraging quotes

If someone really needs the account gone, they can delete post by post. Blocking archival adds a level privacy lacking today.

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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Alphaville »

i'd suggest promoting less self-doxing and doubling down on anonimity. that solves most things.

i get that people are hungry for community, but a little personal info becomes tmi when the whole world is watching.

i didn't know what the robots file did but sounds cool.

please don't take away quotes completely, they're super-useful.

sky
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by sky »

Some of the things that I have written on this forum promoting the philosophy of Epicurus would have gotten me tortured to death by the inquisition authorities just a few centuries ago. I like that I can push the limits of life-hacking here. In the outside world, there is just too much stoopidity to come out as a total anti-establishmentarianist. At this time, I am not sure if we are moving toward a new wave of conservatism or on to some small step of more freedom. I would like the option of deleting my journal if the angry villagers with pitchforks and torches storm the castle.

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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by chenda »

sky wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:30 pm
Some of the things that I have written on this forum promoting the philosophy of Epicurus would have gotten me tortured to death by the inquisition authorities just a few centuries ago.
But death is nothing to an Epicurean :lol:

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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Alphaville »

chenda wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:31 pm
But death is nothing to an Epicurean :lol:
:lol:

ok, but nevertheless, he told his disciples to live hidden

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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by chenda »

True, I don't think he would have approved of social media in any way 🙂

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Alphaville
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Alphaville »

chenda wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:51 pm
True, I don't think he would have approved of social media in any way 🙂
eh, he didn't need it cuz he was lucky enough to live in athens :P

classical_Liberal
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by classical_Liberal »

jacob wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:04 am
However, insofar people don't want to say something "for the record" I'd strongly suggest not saying it in the first place rather than clobbering it later.
...

However, I think, if you want honest and open discussions of problems, refusing to allow deletion of comments will hinder that goal. As a matter of fact, just the possibility of losing of control of my posts makes me wonder if my openness and the benefits of this forum is worth the risk of becoming a target for some random future social phenomenon.
Last edited by classical_Liberal on Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:09 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Ego
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Ego »

There are a lot of smart, capable people out there with nefarious intentions. Someone must be crawling the wayback machine looking for anomalies between different crawls or between particular crawls and current content to reveal sensitive data that people have tried to hide by deletion or selective editing. Seems to me that deleted content is the thing that will attract unwanted attention.

Toska2
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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Toska2 »

I understand the desire and need to delete, hence Toska2.

There is a tongue-in-cheek rhetorical question, "If you had an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters, would one produce Shakespeare?"

I feel that what is once deleted can and will be reproduced again. If we are arguing about when can we see it again, start typing.

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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Crusader »

@classical_Liberal
Also, we evolve and change as people all the time (at least I do). Even 5 years ago, I was a very very different person. I shudder at the thought of someone digging up dirt of me from 5-10-15 years ago and attacking me with it today. In an ideal society, this evolution of ideas and people would be a normal fact of life, but as we devolve more into Idiocracy, who knows?

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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Campitor »

In the linked netiquette rules, it specifically states the following:
Would you say it to the person's face?
-and -
When you communicate through cyberspace -- via email or on discussion groups -- your words are written. And chances are they're stored somewhere where you have no control over them. In other words, there's a good chance they can come back to haunt you.
What users wish to divulge on this forum or what discussions they choose to engage in is up to them. However once they do engage, it seems somewhat unreasonable to nuke the entire history of their discussions. Words have meaning and if users can delete all their posts via a simple moderator request, it could incentivize them to speak thoughtlessly. Perhaps the netiquette rules should be updated to include the following: you can edit/delete your own posts but I will not purge your entire history for you.

You should never say on paper or in any electronic medium what you wouldn't want say in a public square. If a person suddenly has an epiphany and realizes they have made an egregious post - they can delete it or edit it with a "post removed by user". Or they can do what is usually done when discussions are face to face - offer a mea culpa and/or how they've been enlightened.

And It's seems a bit dishonest and intellectually immature to enter into a conversation only to regret the decision by deleting any participation in it via a moderator's intervention. We're all adults and should stand by what we say and carefully choose the conversation we participate in. Don't punch above your weight. Don't roll around in the mud with pigs - the pigs enjoy it - all implied in rule#3: "Lurk before you leap".

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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by classical_Liberal »

...
Last edited by classical_Liberal on Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: On deleting journals, posts, and accounts

Post by Dream of Freedom »

jacob wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:04 am
However, in the past year or so a really bad trend has started on the forum with people asking to have their entire account and all their posts wiped. Reasons vary.
What have the reasons been? I know one was out of political fear as a particular political party are making lists. One was involved in a thread that got nasty. I guess what would be useful to know is how much of this is fear/shame/regret/disliking certain people/disliking the direction of certain threads/disliking one's past self. I'm not necessarily asking you to share this, but it seems to be the big question.

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