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1timspalding
Edited: Oct 5, 2017, 2:12pm Top

UPDATE: See below >24. I have restricted the message to accounts removed or suspended for cause

Should have done this years ago, but I suspect it will raise some hackles even so. Members who have been deleted (for whatever reason), or suspended, have their messages marked as removed.

I chose a message because, if we'd just removed them, I suspect members would wonder what happened to them. Perhaps we can move to that, if members agree.

Because sometimes such decisions are reversed, the data is not removed from the system, at least yet, but only marked as removed. So if a member is marked as spam, but we reverse the decision, their friend requests and such will be back.



This arose from this thread: https://www.librarything.com/topic/191097#5662384

2Collectorator
Oct 5, 2017, 11:23am Top

I'm glad.

3Lyndatrue
Oct 5, 2017, 11:25am Top

>1 timspalding: Thank you for this unexpected gift. I believe that "Message removed." is an excellent choice (and am amused that yesterday's message immortalizes one that many are familiar with). :-}

4lorax
Oct 5, 2017, 11:26am Top

So, if I have an ongoing conversation with someone who then chooses to delete their account, my conversation with them vanishes with no warning and no recourse? Is there no way to distinguish between "removed as spam or other TOS violation" and "user removed themselves voluntarily"?

5timspalding
Oct 5, 2017, 11:27am Top

I suspect someone is going to be very sad, because some departed member's messages are now gone. But I think this is probably the right choice for privacy, appropriateness reasons too.

6timspalding
Oct 5, 2017, 11:32am Top

>4 lorax:

FWIW, though, this is the way all platforms work. I believe if you remove your account on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and etc. all your comments go.

Is there no way to distinguish between "removed as spam or other TOS violation" and "user removed themselves voluntarily"?

It's tricky. I'm not sure we should go there. There's certainly some unclarity in the data--early on, spam members were deleted. Also, I'm not sure other platforms provide reasons. Indeed, we should probably not list reasons on profile pages either.

I don't know. I'm open to suggestions, but we have to weigh the social issues from all sides. Because there are pros and cons to every solution.

7elenchus
Oct 5, 2017, 11:42am Top

Perhaps simply giving a window (a week? 3 days?) after the account deletion, during which individual members could preserve any comments they wish (cut-and-paste into the Notebook or offline, whatever). Is it feasible to mark affected comments somehow? Sending a message to any users whose comments would be affected?

But even if feasible, I acknowledge it may not be desirable or good policy to do so. For example, it seems inappropriate to take such cautious moves with comments after a situation in which the offender was belligerant and violated TOS. Almost offensive for the victim of such behavior to have harmful comments flagged for a week on their profile, virtually rubbing salt in their wounds. I know this scenario won't apply in all cases, but I expect it will cover a large minority if not a full majority of them.

8timspalding
Oct 5, 2017, 11:46am Top

>7 elenchus:

I feel like when LT started, the assumption was that you own words sent to you--something that was always true in physical media--but concern about privacy, abuse and the possibilities of digital media have changed the assumption. That is, people deleting their account today would, I think, expect and (if polled) want their comments to go away.

9Collectorator
Oct 5, 2017, 11:47am Top

What about Talk posts?

10timspalding
Oct 5, 2017, 11:52am Top

They are marked as removed. That's been true forever.

Okay, let's compile policies from other social sites, because I think expectations are important. I'm asking Loranne to do some of this. If others know, post it here.

11lorannen
Edited: Oct 5, 2017, 12:00pm Top

>10 timspalding: Facebook is sort of the only one I have real knowledge of (or a testable example of) right now.

On Facebook, at least, conversations in messenger go away. Disappeared into thin air.

If someone has tagged you (you being the person who deleted your account), the text of your name remains, but the tag is no longer a link.

I think your comments on others' posts also disappear, though that's hard to test, and requires me to remember things that are months old now.

ETA: There's some discussion about what happens in Messenger, because apparently those conversations can stick around—in that it is possible to delete your FB account, while remaining on Messenger.

12loranne_test_02
Oct 5, 2017, 12:01pm Top

Test.

13jjwilson61
Oct 5, 2017, 12:02pm Top

Could you add a warning in account deletion that as a result any messages that they posted in Talk or people's boards will be deleted?

14timspalding
Oct 5, 2017, 12:03pm Top

>12 loranne_test_02:

So, Loranne has proved to me that, if you are merely deleted, your Talk messages stay.

15timspalding
Oct 5, 2017, 12:05pm Top

Vote: When someone deletes their account on a social site, their messages to other members should be removed.

Current tally: Yes 14, No 38, Undecided 5

16timspalding
Oct 5, 2017, 12:05pm Top

Vote: When someone deletes their account on a social site, their PUBLIC comments in groups should be removed.

Current tally: Yes 13, No 43, Undecided 3

17timspalding
Oct 5, 2017, 12:06pm Top

>15 timspalding:-16

If your opinion differs between LT and other sites, tell me why. But I think the answer should be the same, since expectations are so important.

18LolaWalser
Oct 5, 2017, 12:13pm Top

That is, people deleting their account today would, I think, expect and (if polled) want their comments to go away.

Unwarranted assumption. Maybe some do, maybe some don't.

I would have appreciated a heads-up on this because several friends left LT after years of participation during which we had lengthy conversations via private comments. It pisses me off no end all that is gone from MY archives on MY page and without a warning.

Regarding Talk, I don't know why it has to conform to "expectations" from Facebook when its not the same type of a forum, and why you are bent on erasing data as a default. People care about their tracks, or they don't. If they do, they can request removal themselves. In cases other than spam or trolling I'd rather have such erasure dependent on active wishes of the poster.

19aethercowboy
Oct 5, 2017, 12:15pm Top

In my humble opinion, there should be an option when deleting your account. Something like:

1. Leave all comments/etc. (a sort of suspension, reversible, might return)
2. Hide all comments/etc. (a sort of expulsion, reversible, probably won't ever return)
3. Destroy all comments/etc. (a sort of expunction, irreversible, will never return)

Basically, leave it on the user to decide how they want their e-legacy to persist.

Option 1 would leave everything as-is, but put an icon by their name in the forum, so you'd know not to expect a reply.

Option 2 would blank out the comments (and optionally, hide the user name), but if they decided to return, all would be restored.

Option 3 would remove them completely from the system. Or at least be irreversible if you had a business or legal requirement to keep the records. It would be as if the user never existed. Ideally, if unable to completely expunge records, communicating such would be nice.

20timspalding
Edited: Oct 5, 2017, 12:27pm Top

Unwarranted assumption. Maybe some do, maybe some don't.

An unwarranted assumption would be if I assumed something, without hedging it as an "I think." It's a guess. I'm running polls here and on Twitter about this. This will provide more grounding. Although I think the best answer has to be what Facebook, Twitter and so forth do.

Regarding your other points, let me ask you what recourse they now have. While someone's a member, they can remove their messages to you. Once they leave, however, they can't. That is, deleting their account REMOVES their ability to control their content. That seems backward.

You've got friends who left comments. That's a good situation to consider, definitely. I see your problem. But consider if someone leaves under less friendly conversations. Everything they sent is now forever out of their control, but in yours.

Regarding Talk, I don't know why it has to conform to "expectations" from Facebook when its not the same type of a forum

People interact on the basis of expectations from other experiences. On social software, those expectations are mostly other social software. It's therefore important to look to how other services do it.

In my humble opinion, there should be an option when deleting your account. Something like:

Okay, but, find me a site that does this. Why does LibraryThing always have to be more complex than all other sites, working ten different ways. We have 1/1000th the staff, people. We can't do this sort of thing.

21sunny
Oct 5, 2017, 12:29pm Top

I agree with aethercowboy:

- Let me decide when I delete my account, or distinguish between delete and deactivate:
Delete would delete profile, messages and books; deactivate would keep them visible but mark that I'm not using the site any longer. Important for Talk: mark the name as 'deactivated'


- If the account is deleted because of spamming/trolling, delete everything connected to it.

22lorax
Oct 5, 2017, 12:30pm Top

I think for me part of the issue is that I do not view LT as primarily a social site. So for profile comments to unexpectedly vanish into the ether would be like of Google decided that if someone closes their gmail account it should go and delete all the mail they ever sent me. The mention of privacy is moot; if I have voluntarily chosen to send something to someone, while I may reasonably expect that they do not further publicize it, I shouldn't expect to be able to go and un-send it.

Maybe if you just gave people a straightforward way to archive a conversation, short of the cut-and-paste we'd have to resort to now? People could then keep conversations that are important or useful to them. (This would be a good idea even as it stands now, with clashing assumptions about email-like versus Facebook-like communications systems meaning some people act as though sender and receiver can delete their copy of a message without affecting the other, and some (correctly) as though one deletion affects all.

23rosalita
Edited: Oct 5, 2017, 12:45pm Top

FWIW, though, this is the way all platforms work. I believe if you remove your account on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and etc. all your comments go.

On Reddit, comments remain in posts but the account name is replaced with "deleted".

And add me to the group that thinks your action, whatever you choose it to be, should distinguish between voluntary deletion and removal for TOS violations. The proposal in >19 aethercowboy: seems unnecessarily fussy, but a simple voluntary/involuntarily perhaps could be automated so as not to take up any more of LT's extremely limited staff time than absolutely necessary?

24timspalding
Oct 5, 2017, 12:31pm Top

I have changed it so that messages from deleted accounts aren't removed. But all other statuses--removed for cause, suspended for cause, and our spam-based probable suspensions--entail removal.

I won't rever to removing ALL messages without posting here, and then giving everyone 7 days to print out past messages.

Let's do continue the conversation though.

25sunny
Edited: Oct 6, 2017, 12:09pm Top

> find me a site that does this

https://www.facebook.com/help/125338004213029

Edit:

You can deactivate yourself, but deletion needs to be done by staff: https://www.facebook.com/help/214376678584711?helpref=faq_content

26timspalding
Oct 5, 2017, 12:33pm Top

>22 lorax:

Fair enough. Good points.

The other side to expectation is that departing members may be aware of what we have done, not what other sites do. I suspect many have no idea either way, though.

27timspalding
Oct 5, 2017, 12:35pm Top

>25 sunny:

You're arguing for a "deactivate" option? That's not quite delete-and-delete-everything vs. delete-and-keep. It's more… "I'm going to Nambia for six months."

28LolaWalser
Oct 5, 2017, 12:43pm Top

>20 timspalding:

While someone's a member, they can remove their messages to you. Once they leave, however, they can't. That is, deleting their account REMOVES their ability to control their content. That seems backward.

I said, these were my friends, all of whom I'm still in touch with except one, and almost all of whom I first met here. If they wanted me to remove their PRIVATE MESSAGES TO ME, they know to ask, same as they knew all the time years ago. You don't know better than me what they want and no amount of polling will change that. You ruined something that doesn't concern you in the least and you cared so little you didn't even warn us.

29sunny
Edited: Oct 6, 2017, 11:32am Top

Ok.

What I mean is: of course I should be able to delete all my content when I delete my account. BUT if I wrote a lot in Talk or in direct messages to others and those posts are automatically deleted, it can tear holes in the threads and discussions.


> If your opinion differs between LT and other sites, tell me why.

LT is all about text :-)

30sunny
Edited: Oct 5, 2017, 12:48pm Top

> I have changed it so that messages from deleted accounts aren't removed.

Maybe update the thread title?

31jjwilson61
Edited: Oct 5, 2017, 3:14pm Top

If I can't have a choice then I prefer the option that preserves the messages. When you post something on a public forum then it's not really yours anymore. I feel the same, but to a lesser extent, about postings on someone's board.

ETA: Removed typo

32aethercowboy
Oct 5, 2017, 1:53pm Top

>20 timspalding:

We can't do this sort of thing.

I originally came up with this idea for my own website (which only has one person developing for it). It's not that hard to implement, really.

You just add a new field to a user record for status (unless you already have it), and make it some numeric enum value. Then, during the "delete account" controller action, set the value accordingly.

If it's Option 1, then just show the "inactive" icon next to the user.

If it's Option 2, join the user to their content and set the "hide" flag (which I'm sure you already have on a lot of stuff).

If it's Option 3, join the user to their content, and "delete" (for your definition of delete) those records.

I'd say the hardest part about this is updating the views and where clauses.

33timspalding
Edited: Oct 5, 2017, 2:15pm Top

>28 LolaWalser:

Read above, >24 timspalding:

I said, these were my friends, all of whom I'm still in touch with except one, and almost all of whom I first met here. If they wanted me to remove their PRIVATE MESSAGES TO ME, they know to ask, same as they knew all the time years ago. You don't know better than me what they want and no amount of polling will change that. You ruined something that doesn't concern you in the least and you cared so little you didn't even warn us.

Yes, you said that. I'm asking you to imagine that situations exist other than yours. This is not offensive. It's how you have to think and argue when a system embraces tens of thousands of users.

>30 sunny:

Done.

>32 aethercowboy:

I understand it can be done. But I'd beg you to see it from my perspective. LibraryThing ALWAYS has the extra option. We are keeping an old site design around because some members say they can't deal with a chocolate-colored banner. The more of this sort of special customization we do, the less of everything else we do.

34aethercowboy
Edited: Oct 5, 2017, 3:58pm Top

>33 timspalding:

I understand it from that perspective.

It's a swiss army knife of swiss army knives. (ETA: like this - https://www.thinkgeek.com/product/8b97/)

I'm much less benevolent. :3

35sunny
Edited: Oct 5, 2017, 3:54pm Top

> We can't do that sort of thing

Then don't ask for our opinion?

36rosalita
Edited: Oct 5, 2017, 3:56pm Top

>35 sunny: Your comment makes no sense. Several people offered several other possible solutions, one of which Tim adopted. So why on earth should he stop asking for our opinion?

37sunny
Oct 5, 2017, 4:11pm Top

Ok

38AndreasJ
Oct 5, 2017, 4:12pm Top

>15 timspalding:, >16 timspalding:

One oddity of LT is that messages to other members - i.e. profile comments - are publicly visible. So, while I don't generally think that private messages to others should be deleted if an account is deleted, I incline to think LT profile comments should be.

39Darth-Heather
Oct 5, 2017, 4:45pm Top

I guess I don't really know how it works. Can't we just delete unwanted messages ourselves?

Does the little tombstone show up next to profile messages?

40timspalding
Oct 5, 2017, 4:46pm Top

>38 AndreasJ:

Well, some are, some aren't. That's a new wrinkle, but I feel that if we split the functionality along those lines, people would be confused.

41MarthaJeanne
Oct 5, 2017, 4:50pm Top

>38 AndreasJ: Only some profile comments are public. Are you asking for public and private profile comments to be treated differently?

42Collectorator
Oct 5, 2017, 5:09pm Top

From reading >18 LolaWalser:, >20 timspalding:, etc., I get the impression there is a backstory to all this.

43Morphidae
Edited: Oct 5, 2017, 5:27pm Top

>33 timspalding: because some members say they can't deal with a chocolate-colored banner

That's insulting. It demeans the members who have just cause in not liking the "new" design. It's a lot more than a banner and it has nothing to do with not being able to "deal with" the design. I didn't insult you when the new design came out, no matter my (strong) feelings on it - just quietly did without certain functions - and I would appreciate the return favor.

44prosfilaes
Oct 5, 2017, 9:28pm Top

There have been a couple commentators, including oakes, where this principle would cause the wholescale destruction of threads. Spammers should have everything deleted, but I'm not thrilled with the deletion of long-term users, even if they've crossed the line enough to be deleted.

45timspalding
Oct 5, 2017, 10:53pm Top

>44 prosfilaes:

Yes, but we're not talking about Talk. We're talking about person-to-person comments.

>43 Morphidae:

Fair enough. I'm enormously frustrated by it, but it's my mistake, not yours.

46Morphidae
Oct 5, 2017, 11:19pm Top

>45 timspalding: Thank you. It helps to feel heard.

47AndreasJ
Edited: Oct 6, 2017, 1:19am Top

>41 MarthaJeanne:

I'm just saying that on a "normal" site, personal messages shouldn't be deleted if the sender account is, but on LT (some) profile comments are public, which causes me to lean towards that they should be. Now, treating public and non-public comments differently would be one way to deal with it, but mostly I'm simply suggesting that my normal preference for how social sites handle this sort of thing (which Tim's poll asks about) isn't necessarily relevant for LT.

48JerryMmm
Oct 6, 2017, 6:47am Top

>20 timspalding: While someone's a member, they can remove their messages to you. Once they leave, however, they can't. That is, deleting their account REMOVES their ability to control their content. That seems backward.

Not to me. If you're no longer participating, you have no control. Simple.

49jjwilson61
Oct 6, 2017, 9:25am Top

>47 AndreasJ: To me, if the messages are public that's more reason not to delete them. If you've released your words to where everyone can see them then you've relinquished the ability to control what happens to them.

50MarthaJeanne
Edited: Oct 6, 2017, 10:07am Top

We have two edgecases:
Someone has personal, private messages from someone that they would want to keep.

Spam messages stay visible on someone's profile for years because the member is inactive.

It is in the interests of the site that the second type of message gets deleted when the account that sent it is deleted. It doesn't matter to anyone but the receiver what happens to messages that are private and/or have been archived.

(In talk, the rest of us can flag spam messages so that they are hidden or totally disappear. We can't do that on profiles that are inactive.)

I suppose that if messages from deleted members were archived, only the recipient would ever see them again.

51reading_fox
Oct 6, 2017, 10:15am Top

If It's on my wall/profile then I want to be able to read it, irrespective of the eventual fate of whoever sent it. I can choose to delete it myself if it's spam, but if I've kept it, then it has meaning for me and I want to keep access to it.

Somehow I'd expect that if I was deleted all my Talk posts would also go, but I'd be quite ok if they didn't - as long as I knew which was going to happen. Ideally spam member's posts would go with the spam user, but I can see having the division as being tricky.

52timspalding
Oct 6, 2017, 10:48am Top

>47 AndreasJ:

I'm just saying that on a "normal" site, personal messages shouldn't be deleted if the sender account is, but on LT (some) profile comments are public, which causes me to lean towards that they should be.

Yeah, that's a good point. I'm not sure what to do with it, though, because splitting along those lines would be odd. It's too level by half, I think.

If you've released your words to where everyone can see them then you've relinquished the ability to control what happens to them.

One of these days we're going to get a "right to be forgotten" request from a European country.

Ideally spam member's posts would go with the spam user, but I can see having the division as being tricky.

No, that's how it works now. Spammers (and other miscreants) get all their posts and messages removed. The only exception are spammers from early on, before we separated "deleted" and "spam-deleted" statuses in the administrative portal.

53melannen
Oct 6, 2017, 10:52am Top

Wandering in a day late with pizza, but dreamwidth.org (the social media site I'm active on that has a very similar attitude toward user feedback as LT) has had this come up repeatedly; here's the most recent version of their discussion: Reconsidering the Ability to Delete All Entries/Comments Associated With an Account Upon Deletion. So far they have failed to get any consensus on anything that's technically workable.

They're much more a "blog about your life" sort of place than here, so the stakes are also higher.

FWIW, I really like the idea of a delete/deactivate split (with suspension for spam or harassment, etc. falling under delete, and deactivate marking or hiding the username.) Because sometimes people really do need to delete all content for privacy reasons, and sometimes people are just like "eh, I never go there anymore" and don't think about the fact that deleting all their comments may essentially destroy collaborative conversations that many people took part in.

54sunny
Edited: Oct 6, 2017, 11:43am Top

> Yes, but we're not talking about Talk. We're talking about person-to-person comments.

But your polls cover both aspects (#15, #16).

And I think it's least confusing if they are handled the same way.


> delete/deactivate split

delete =
Spammer, troll, or person who _wants_ to remove all their content from LT, for whatever reason.
Messages should get a placeholder saying "the message that was here has been deleted", without name of the user and without giving a reason.
Old URL of the profile page should no longer exist.

deactivate =
Person who wants to leave LT for whatever reason, but wants the Talk threads and the personal discussions to stay intact. Or person who is dead but somebody has access to their account.
User name in messages should get marked as 'deactivated', both in Talk and in personal discussions.
No longer possible to leave messages (or spam), friend requests etc. on that person's profile.
Still possible to add to 'interesting libraries'.
Date of deactivation visible on profile?


away for 6 months -> say so on your profile page if you want us to know

55melannen
Oct 6, 2017, 11:44am Top

>54 sunny: I would be happy with either this or a version of "deactivate" that hid/removed your library and your profile, and took you out of folks' connections etc., but left all your content that was in shared spaces and your messages/posts.

56sunny
Oct 6, 2017, 11:46am Top

That would also work, yes.

57davidgn
Edited: Feb 28, 7:41pm Top

A few months later, but: I do think the delete/deactivate distinction is a useful one. There's a difference between wanting to take a break and place one's account on hiatus, and wanting to make a scorched-earth exit (for privacy or other reasons -- e.g. in the event of stalkers and the like). Right now there is a mechanism in place for both type of exits, but the only way to get the latter is to violate the TOS so egregiously that you're suspended or banned (provisionally or otherwise). For someone dealing with personal privacy issues, that creates a bit of a perverse incentive, doesn't it?

ETA: Anyhow, this distinction is the standard on social media. So if that's the model...
https://blog.bufferapp.com/how-to-pause-take-break-leave-social-media (see #2 and #3)

ETA: I suppose there might be an issue with deciding whether to unwind, e.g., CK edits and other contributions. Is that the sticking point?

58timspalding
Feb 28, 11:46pm Top

Yeah. Deactivate vs. delete has indeed become a pattern, especially on the larger sites. We should implement it.

59timspalding
Feb 28, 11:49pm Top

I'm thinking deactivate works like this:

Member's profile is listed as deactivated.
Member's books are NOT deleted, but rather we basically show them as belonging to a private account.

As far as CK edits and many other such things go, there's no worry. The system does not delete such things when an account is deleted, but only when a member is removed as spam.

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