Continuing the discussion from Denisroy ...anything?:
As the previous thread shows, mass deletion of posts can cause massive problems to other people. I'd like to talk about what we think should be an appropriate policy - ignoring (at least for the time being) if it's even possible to implement in Discourse should we come close to consensus.
First, I think it almost goes without saying that the moderators have the right - and are charged with the duty to - delete abusive posts and, should they continue from the same user, to ban the user. Consequently, let's take this as a given for this discussion and address a user deleting their own posts only!
For myself, I've deleted a few posts. The reasons have been:
- I started to take a thread in a new, almost completely unrelated direction because I'm the type that loves tangents. Sometimes I've caught myself, and sometimes others have pointed it out to me. In almost all cases, I've deleted the reply and either dropped the tangential topic or started a new thread targeted at the tangential topic.
- When I get involved in a back and forth with one other person in the thread, I've taken it private to resolve things. Once resolved, I (and the other person) have deleted our replies so as not to distract from the main line of the original topic.
I've also done substantial edits to posts. These come in a few versions:
- I've posted something substantially wrong, but the process of my confirming it to be wrong could be educational to others. In this case, I cross out (using <del> and </del> tags to bracket the strikethrough text) the wrong information and bold an adjacent note that it is wrong, often including a link to where to find the correct information.
- Someone else has substantially changed or deleted posts to which I've replied. Twice now I've needed to substantially edit multiple posts in a thread because, in order to be understandable, they needed context that, while present when I originally posted, is now lacking.
- Sometimes, instead of my
strikethrough approach, it's just better to make edits so that a subsequent reader will simply see the correct information. For an example, see:
In this thread, I did extensive edits to three of my replies to remove any hint that geometry or groupings are "on" a SketchUp layer, after someone pointed out to me privately that "on" can conjure up implications in 3d space (especially for newbies to SU) that have nothing to do with layers. If you want, you can see the detailed edits through the edit history.
So where am I going with all this? Simple - this is a help forum, not a chat forum! (notice that all my edits and deletions were done with an underlying reason that serves to clarify the presentation of correct information.)
As such, the preservation of useful, helpful information should be part of the ethos of this forum. Self-deletion of informative posts go against this ethos. I'd like to find a way to preserve the knowledge base, even if the original contributor wants to choose to "pick up his toys and go home, never to return." I'm just not sure how to go about it!