I was recently in a heated thread. The thread had wound down to a conclusion of sorts. As far as I knew it could be dropped and ignored.

However it appears that upon the request of one participant, the whole thread was deleted, without notifying other people in the thread, and without asking their opinions on the deletion.

I would like to ask that when posts are deleted, there be an automatic notification to the person whose post was deleted saying what was deleted and (if appropriate) a reason. I would also like to ask that as a matter of informal policy people be asked their opinion before their posts are deleted.

Since I was not consulted before my posts were deleted, please allow me to express my opinion. I think the way this site allows people to edit posts without leaving a trail is very unwise and will lead to problems. In this and other communities I have seen editing lead to people getting upset - both by accident and intent. I think that making people live with the consequences of what they said helps convince them to be careful of what they say before they say it. So in general I don't think that deletes should be done without specific good reason.

Being specific, there was in that thread nothing I said that I mind being left as a matter of public record. In addition several of the articles I referenced and things I mentioned were, IMO, of public interest. So based on content I think the thread should have been left.

The overall tone of the thread was generally not appropriate for the Monastery. I freely admit that, and people complained about that. However considering that the thread was over, I think the Monastery as a whole would have forgotten it and moved on. So I don't think that is a good reason to delete.

Now why was I uncharacteristically hostile? Well I have personal reasons. I happen to believe that the person I was dealing with has overall detracted from the Monastery. He definitely detracted from my experience of it. Therefore when I see him acting in ways I don't like, I am far more likely to comment than I would with other people. I don't ask for anyone else to agree or take sides. But I note that there is no other monk I would single out and say these things about.

Deleting those posts did nothing to change those opinions of mine. It will not stop me from acting on my opinions again should he continue acting in a way I dislike. (His swearing and accusations of lying etc did not improve my opinions any. Nor did his trying to hide the evidence that he did so by getting the thread deleted.)

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
RE: Request for deletion policy
by bastard (Hermit) on Sep 29, 2000 at 03:43 UTC
    Since I was one of the parties who had their posts deleted, i'm going to throw in my 2 cents.

    I was slightly disturbed when I noticed my post was deleted. One day there, one day gone. To have something like that just up and disappear without a trace is unsettling to say the least. It felt as if someone had stolen something from me (nothing of particular value in this case). To boot, the whole conversation wasn't deleted, just the latter half. Sort of like editing history.

    So now I have a void in my existence here. Something I said doesn't exist, something I did is lost in the past. No explanation, no signs of who dunnit, nothing. I think that's the part that makes me wonder the most. An anonymous, invisible hand reached down from the sky and changed things.

    Now i'm not saying it shouldn't have been done or shouldn't be done in the future. (Esp. if it's vroom. In my mind he can do anything he wants with the site. It's on his shoulders that this place sits (kinda like Atlas)). I do think that unexplained actions (when dealing with other peoples content) could change the nature of the site tho.

    As for my "offical" opinion of the whole thing: i'm keeping it to myself, if you really want to know i might answer to a /msg (then again I might not).

    $.02 :)

    P.S.- I have to disagree with tilly about the re-editing of posts (at least by the original content owner). It's one thing that separates this site from many others (and in my mind puts it on a level above). I feel it is an essential feature and helps in a large part to create the community that this site has.

(d4vis)RE: Request for deletion policy
by d4vis (Chaplain) on Sep 28, 2000 at 23:35 UTC
    I have two suggestions, and I hope I'm not out of line.
    Firstly, I think it might be a little less Orwellian if deleted threads were listed somewhere (perhaps along with the reason for deletion). Not the content, mind you, just the thread title and reason. I have no qualms about vroom and others deciding what's appropriate for perlmonks, but it's just kind of eerie to have an big chunk of yesterday's reading dissapear down the memory hole.

    Secondly, in response to:
    I think the way this site allows people to edit posts without leaving a trail is very unwise and will lead to problems.
    I'd hate to lost the ability to go back and edit my posts, whether to make myself clearer or just to fix some minor error. Maybe edits could be tracked by text color, or an edit could replace an original post while still containing a clear link to that original.

    Just my .02, I could be wrong.

    ~acolyte d4vis

      As for edits. Algorithm::Diff could be used, or every version could be saved and appear as links. Editing info is not always a problem and without a preview it is practically necessary. (Consider noticing broken html tags.) What tends to cause problems is when someone points out a mistake, the mistake is edited out without acknowledgement, and then the person who pointed it out gets upset that they have been made to look like they are making stuff up...

      As for deleted threads, deletes are quite common. Usually the reason is a duplicated post. Deletes that cause controversy are quite rare. The last time one caused an issue that I know about was a few months ago.

RE: Request for deletion policy
by Colonel_Panic (Novice) on Sep 30, 2000 at 11:02 UTC
    I had a far different deletion experience, a badly done post of mine was deleted. It was my first post as a Monk, a trivial spot of code and brief babble on my part, but I didn't provide any formating and it looked terrible. After I saw it, I quickly got with the program and corrected the errors of my ways in a follow up.

    When I checked a day or so later, the original bad post was gone. My initial response was, "There it is again, the unseen hand of goodness saving me from my own stupidity." Also the first line of my follow-up that apologized for my dumbness was gone.

    As I thought about it later, I became vexed - what else could be altered elsewhere? I don't know what the best balance between trying to maintain a quality site and letting the discussion flow where ever it may go is. However it a question that needs to be aired, perhaps on a periodic basis.

    Jonathan Moran (Colonel_Panic)

    PS A wrap attribute for the textarea form field would be a wonderful thing.