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Disrupt threads if account deletions were allowed

  1. Nov 26, 2016 #1

    symbolipoint

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    The idea that a member deleting his account would disrupt content of threads on the forum is not credible. This, if true is a problem only on this forum; not on others. If anything, a member would simply become a nonmember and no longer have an account, while all of his posts would remain unchanged. ALMOST every online forum I have tried allows a member to remove his membership if he wants.
     
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  3. Nov 26, 2016 #2

    Ibix

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    I suppose my question is, what did you have in mind for "delete my account" that is functionally different from "edit all my personal details to blank, set my email address to the bit bucket and perma-ban me"?
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
  4. Nov 26, 2016 #3

    symbolipoint

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    Exactly what many other forums do; that's what I mean. If a member decides to use the forum profile to delete his account, he can do so. This does not remove his forum posts.
     
  5. Nov 26, 2016 #4

    Ibix

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    I guess I don't see the point, then. You can do it yourself by changing your password to line noise and your email to junk, or do that then PM the mentors and ask for a ban. And, at least to my mind, that makes it absolutely clear what you're getting: a ban by any other name. It can't be misread as "...and my posts will disappear".
     
  6. Nov 26, 2016 #5

    Krylov

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    In fact I do see the point of the OP and I would like to elaborate.

    As far as I have understood the terms of use of this forum, once members post something here, they "grant Physics Forums non-exclusive rights for the content they post", see here and search for the string I quoted, if you please. To me it makes sense that @Greg Bernhardt does not want members who delete their membership to delete all their posts in the process, because this would mess up threads.

    However, to me, there is something functionally different between the OP's suggestion and just putting null strings in one's profile and asking for a ban. The reason is that a ban strikes out a user's name, which is apparent to other users as well. These may think that the former user was banned because he (perhaps repeatedly) violated the forum rules in a bad way. For users wishing to delete their membership this need not be the case at all. There may be a multitude of reasons that need not concern us.

    To me it would seem more useful to add an option to "delete my membership" which would amount to:
    • nullifying information in all (public and private) profile fields
    • permanently disabling the account and adding a neutral message in the user's status saying that the user voluntarily left the forum
    • conserving all the user's posts and content as per the forum terms
    One could add a "cool down period" of, say, 10 days, after which the above is irrevocable.

    Before certain haters (not yet present in this thread at the moment, just to be clear) start to feast on this suggestion again, please notice that the above is exactly this: a suggestion for a possible improvement. Nothing more, nothing less.
     
  7. Nov 26, 2016 #6

    mfb

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    Every user can do all this manually already, and then just stop visiting the forum. I don't see the point of programming a new tool that does the same thing users can do on their own already. The user name is the only thing you cannot change, if that contains private information you can ask a mentor to change it.

    Changing the password and email to a random string prevent future access without the strikethrough.
     
  8. Nov 26, 2016 #7

    Krylov

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    What a user cannot do by himself at the moment is to permanently and irrevocably end his membership, to prevent himself from any future participation.

    The only way to do this is to ask for a "ban". As I argued, I do not find a "ban" appropriate for users that respected the forum rules during their membership but just want to permanently and irrevocably cancel that membership.

    If you set both password and email to garbage, you leave the option open to contact the forum to ask for a password and email reset. Having a formal membership deletion option is cleaner and more definitive, both for the member as well as for the staff.

    It seems to me that programming this may not be very hard. Once programmed, the task itself can be executed automatically, once the user clicks on the "delete membership" option.
     
  9. Nov 26, 2016 #8

    mfb

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    How can you prove you are that person without password and email address?
    That might work for a few well-known forum members with contacts outside the forum, but that is a small group, and the group of members there who are sure they want to lose any possibility to use their account again in the future is non-existent as far as I know.
    It would be a lot of work. As in, a week of effort for something one or two users might actually have some use for.
     
  10. Nov 26, 2016 #9

    Nugatory

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    Certainly they can: Set the password to line noise and don't retain it, set the email address to trash, and you've locked yourself out forever.

    But WHY? Exactly what problem are we trying to solve? Requests to delete accounts are quite common (maybe one a week) but I do not think that I have ever seen someone ask for what you're describing - they always demand that we remove their posts as well.
     
  11. Nov 26, 2016 #10

    Krylov

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    If such an option as I described would exist, I would certainly be inclined to post more than I do these days. Now, whether or not that speaks in favor or against my suggestion I leave for others to decide.

    In any case, I will wait a bit with commenting more to give the OP time to respond, if he likes to.

    P.S. In a variation of my suggestion, the former membership name could be automatically anonymized.
     
  12. Nov 26, 2016 #11
    Even with self bans we have many flip flops. Make a more extensive account deletion and you might as well tell the member to create a new account. Also I end up talking many members out of leaving or self bans. Just last week I did this for a rather active member. Give the easy option and I don't get to step in. The community will suffer.

    Why?
     
  13. Nov 27, 2016 #12

    NascentOxygen

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    A name swap does retrospectively change the listed author of posts, but not the attribution in quotes. So if you were to adopt a new name at some time in the future, nothing in this post you’re reading would change—certainly not either of the two strings "Krylov"

    ⬇⬇⬇
    This was true last I checked, anyway.
     
  14. Nov 27, 2016 #13

    Krylov

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    Thank you for pointing that out.
     
  15. Nov 28, 2016 #14

    Krylov

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    You still deserve a response to this question.

    The reason is that I find it friendly to offer this option to users, so they do not have to resort to somewhat artificial methods to indirectly end their membership. Instead, they could just formally close the door behind themselves for good once they decide it is time to move on. It provides a sense of freedom instead of captivity and I think freedom improves productivity.

    Just to re-iterate: All this is under the assumption that the posts stay on the forum and the member name is not anonymized. (I learned in this post above that the latter would only work partially anyway.) Personally, I do not really see why someone would want to have all their posts removed once they decide to leave. I think one should stand by one's posts and correct if necessary, not delete.
     
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