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Author Topic: The "delete" button should leave a stub behind  (Read 687 times)
JorgeStolfi
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April 12, 2014, 10:57:33 PM
Last edit: April 13, 2014, 12:05:50 AM by JorgeStolfi
 #1

[ Apologies if this has been suggested before, I did not find it with "search". ]

The "delete" button should not delete the post completely, instead it should leave behind an empty placeholder record.

Currently, when a post is deleted, links to that post are broken in a rather unfriendly way. Also, all subsequent posts in the thread are repaginated, which makes the Google Search cache obsolete from that point on.  (A user recently deleted hundreds of his old posts in many threads, messing up that cache completely.)

This is a link to a deleted post:
[ This is a test post to understand how "delete" works, for a discussion on the "meta" thread. Sorry for the noise, please ignore ]

A reader who clicks on the link in that quotation will be shown a page with unrelated posts, none of them containing that text.  How could he guess what happened?

The suggestion is that "delete" should leave behind an empty placeholder post, which would be rendered as one line saying "[ this post has been deleted by the author ]", with the original date and sequence number.  That way the pagination of subsequent posts would not change, Google Search would point to the correct place, and readers who followed links to that post would not waste time reading the wrong entries and trying to make sense of them.

Even if the deleted post was the last one on its thread, it cannot be "hard deleted" since some reader may have already saved its URL in order to insert it in another post, or some page external to the forum.


Perhaps one should retain a "hard delete" facility, but for administrator use only, with the nderstanding that it may cause the above problems.

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jimmijames73
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April 13, 2014, 12:41:41 AM
 #2

I agree with your points, especially for self moderated threads so that there is a record of how many posts that have been deleted.  The counter argument is that the 'hard-delete' is required to clean up threads full of spam, scam or trolling posts.

My preference would be that deleted posts are just hidden and users have an option within each thread to show 'deleted' posts.  Moderators would have the option to remove the content of the post and replace it with the reason it was deleted, i.e. "Post deleted by: theymos, reason: spam".  However this could leave some thread pages with only a few visible posts when a lot of posts are hidden.
JorgeStolfi
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April 13, 2014, 02:37:10 AM
 #3

Each displayed page would still contain 10 posts, whether normal ones or placeholders for deleted posts.  (The pagination must be preserved to keep Google Search working.)

So even pages that had been heavily spammed would have at most 9 lines saying " [ this post was deleted ] ".   I don't think that readers would be very upset if some pages had less than 10 readable posts.

Pages that had all their posts deleted could be omitted from the page lists.  They should still be reachable through links in quotations or through Google Search, so that readers would not be confused.

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April 13, 2014, 06:52:36 AM
 #4

I agree with your points, especially for self moderated threads so that there is a record of how many posts that have been deleted.  The counter argument is that the 'hard-delete' is required to clean up threads full of spam, scam or trolling posts.

My preference would be that deleted posts are just hidden and users have an option within each thread to show 'deleted' posts.  Moderators would have the option to remove the content of the post and replace it with the reason it was deleted, i.e. "Post deleted by: theymos, reason: spam".  However this could leave some thread pages with only a few visible posts when a lot of posts are hidden.

I think having an option to see how many or 'unhide' deleted posts by the operator of a self-moderated thread is a good idea, but maybe not in others where you have chosen to personally delete a post for whatever reason.

I like ops suggestion too.

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JorgeStolfi
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April 13, 2014, 11:52:38 PM
 #5

I think having an option to see how many or 'unhide' deleted posts by the operator of a self-moderated thread is a good idea, but maybe not in others where you have chosen to personally delete a post for whatever reason.
Agreed, If someone delete a post of his own, it seems better to delete its contents completely and permanently.  In my proposal the placeholder record would contain only the dates of posting and deletion, and the corresponding usernames.

(Depending on the jurisdiction, there may be legal requirements to keep a copy of the contents, e.g. in case of libel or other crime; but in that case the copy must be saved in such a way that not even the admins can read it without judicial order.)

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April 14, 2014, 02:13:39 AM
 #6

(Depending on the jurisdiction, there may be legal requirements to keep a copy of the contents, e.g. in case of libel or other crime; but in that case the copy must be saved in such a way that not even the admins can read it without judicial order.)
that's impossible to implement

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

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JorgeStolfi
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April 14, 2014, 03:57:17 AM
 #7

(Depending on the jurisdiction, there may be legal requirements to keep a copy of the contents, e.g. in case of libel or other crime; but in that case the copy must be saved in such a way that not even the admins can read it without judicial order.)
that's impossible to implement
Strictly speaking, yes, of course.  I meant that it would be saved in encrypted form and only one or two people would keep the decryption key, for such cases.  But life would be much better if the keeping of such records was not necessary.

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April 14, 2014, 08:33:37 PM
 #8

You should suggest this in the New Forum section. I think another way to do it would be to simply keep each post and its number linked, so that you would see #1, #2, #4, #5... #20 in the first page. (The #3 is completely missing)

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