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The ability to delete

by kiat (Vicar)
on Oct 22, 2005 at 09:19 UTC ( #502195=monkdiscuss: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

Hi Monks,

I've never had the need to delete a post I made, as the ability to edit your posts (according to the FAQ, this should be done preferrably with 'strike') makes a delete feature sort of unneccessary.

But I feel there might be situations where the ability being able to delete a post might be helpful. I've read and understood the concerns at How do I change/delete my post?. Nevertheless, I would like to go forth and suggest that a post owner be able to delete his or her own post if

a) The poster has reached a certain xp points.

and if

(i) The node (a fresh node, not a reply) has not yet been approved.

Or

(ii) A reply to a node has not yet been voted, whether + or - votes. Additionally, there're no sub-replies to this reply.

One situation where a delete feature could be helpful is when you inadventently make a duplicate post. This can happen when you click on Submit but nothing seems to happen for a long time and then you click on it again, or do a refresh or some such. Something like that happened to me yesterday and I wasn't able to delete the duplicate post.

What are your thoughts?

Comment on The ability to delete
Re: The ability to delete
by herveus (Parson) on Oct 22, 2005 at 13:55 UTC
    Howdy!

    I'm glad that the ability to delete a node is not widely available. Deleting nodes should only occur after appropriate consideration (whether formal or not). Whacking nodes can destroy the context of a conversation, rendering the work of respondents much closer to useless or nonsensical.

    If you inadvertently make a duplicate post, it's probably productive to check the ChatterBox and ask for help there. A janitor may well be able to do something productive. At the least, you could probably find someone to consider the duplicate for deletion.

    Another way to deal with a duplicate is to edit one into an entirely different post, since you can change the title as well as the body. Look at it as a way to get twice the XP! *grin*

    Your proposal is intriguing, though. It might be interesting to examine just how often a node gets deleted (and why) to discern how much demand there might actually be for this feature. How many deleted nodes would have qualified for poster-deletion under your proposal (ignoring the minimum xp requirement), and how might they have been grouped by the then-current xp of the poster?

    yours,
    Michael
      Hi herveus,

      A user is able to edit her post after she has gained a certain number of xp's, including deleting the entire content of the post, leaving an empty slot. Since she can be "trusted" to edit her post responsibly, it puzzles me that the same person can't be trusted to delete her post responsibly.

        Your making the assumption that emptying a node is responsible behaviour. It is not.

        Considering a writeup for being a duplicate will usually result in a fairly quick deletion, If the author has other reasons for wishing the post to be retracted, they'd better be very good - IMO it's usually better to update the node (by adding a statement, crossing out lines, whatever) than clearing it out or deleting it.

        I think that if you removed the content of your post, it would be restored in most cases. I have encountered instance where someone wished to recant an opinion or some statement, requested that the post be deleted, and was turned down. The explanation was that our posts are part of the Monastery's history, and it's not good to try to rewrite history.

        The only times I've seen actual "deletions" is when someone posts blatantly offensive text, or when it's a duplicate. Even then, you can access the original text if you care to - it's only moved to a less conspicuous place.

Re: The ability to delete
by davido (Archbishop) on Oct 22, 2005 at 15:58 UTC

    Not even Janitors can directly delete nodes. The founding forefathers deemed this to be a particularly worrysome power, to be used sparingly.

    If you have authored a node that you wish to have deleted, consider the node for deletion using the moderation nodelet. Give a compelling reason, because folks will have to vote on it. And it will need to accumulate a slightly negative XP.

    It is problematic to delete nodes that have replies. Since it's impossible to know if someone is in the middle of typing a reply to a node that is about to be deleted, there exists the potential for race conditions that could leave replies floating without parents, and thus without context.


    Dave

      It is problematic to delete nodes that have replies. Since it's impossible to know if someone is in the middle of typing a reply to a node that is about to be deleted, there exists the potential for race conditions that could leave replies floating without parents, and thus without context.
      Yes, I understand it's problematic, which is why I thought the delete feature should only apply when certain conditions are met, such as when it has not yet been responded to.

      I appreciate your responding, thanks.

        The problem is, as was pointed out, you can't know if someone is in the process of replying while you are in the process of deleting. ;) Plus I think the implementation would be kind of worrisome since you would want to make absolutly sure there was no loop hole to allow deletion of nodes. In other words, if no one can delete nodes then you don't have to worry about securing the method of deletion. If any *one* group can delete nodes then it becomes a security concern. Maybe thats false reasoning on my part but at the moment it seems legit to me. ;)


        ___________
        Eric Hodges

      Not even Janitors can directly delete nodes. The founding forefathers deemed this to be a particularly worrysome power, to be used sparingly.

      The gods themselves barely ever delete stuff. Even when its useless infrastructure code that will never be used again we don't delete. I'd make an educated guess that ive deleted more nodes here than any other god and they have been exclusively infrastructure nodes, and mostly not even "real" infrastructure, but patches. And nowadays we dont even delete patches.

      I say all of this just to emphasize your point. We delete practically nothing on this site. Its a general policy that has worked well and that is unlikely to change.

      ---
      $world=~s/war/peace/g

Re: The ability to delete
by blue_cowdawg (Prior) on Oct 23, 2005 at 02:13 UTC

    I personally think the ability to delete nodes should be left up to Old Boney myself.

Re: The ability to delete
by ysth (Canon) on Oct 23, 2005 at 09:10 UTC
    One situation where a delete feature could be helpful is when you inadventently make a duplicate post. This can happen when you click on Submit but nothing seems to happen for a long time and then you click on it again, or do a refresh or some such. Something like that happened to me yesterday and I wasn't able to delete the duplicate post.
    This seems like a non-problem. In the case of your node, it was reaped 31 minutes after it was created. Perhaps if you had yourself considered it for deletion it would have been even faster. Yes, the current process involves several people and a short time delay; IMO those are good things.
      In the case of your node, it was reaped 31 minutes after it was created.

      I wonder if there is a compromise that can be developed.

      I agree that deleting nodes = bad thing...but

      How about the ability to do something similar to Reaping or in this case, Self Reaping?

      Perhaps a user, within certain guidelines, could "reap" their own node and the result would display something like "phydeauxarff has reconsidered this node for presentation - for more info click here" and provide a link to the original node should anyone care to dig in and see what it was

      this would offer folks a chance to recant something they decided they didn't want to say after all and would still keep the continuity of the site intact

        That'd be less ugly than an empty node or even one full of long stretches of striked text...

        It wouldn't make the node owned by the NodeReaper, which leads to questions like unreaping and exclusion from searches, etc.

        On the other hand, it is uglier than a node with a mature update that is more informative and customized to the specific circumstances.

        On the gripping hand, I don't foresee such getting implemented anyway. So I'm not going try to hash out more details of the design. (I prefer the previously identified route of getting preview for updates and then edit histories).

        - tye        

        I sometimes simply abandon a reply in mid-edit - pretty much a self reap before posting. Using the preview button and actually reading what you have written often aids in such a decision.

        The most common source of duplicate posts I've noticed is when a node is posted by Anonymous Monk, then is duplicated by a registered monk. Perhaps a solution to that is to provide a way of changing ownership of the original node so it doesn't need to be duplicated? I guess this could lead to problems with people trying to claim nodes they didn't author so it's not clear that this solution would be better than the (relatively minor) current problem.


        Perl is Huffman encoded by design.

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