"Delete User / Spammer" options (and similar) should be recursive for post deletions

“Spam” flags on our instance are used for two main purposes currently:

  • Pointing out legitimate spam posts, and
  • Pointing out “drive-by” or disruptive first-time posters who arrive and post low-quality, inflammatory posts across our instance.

We’re lucky enough to have a community that has many TL3/TL4 users who understand that spam flags are some of the quickest ways to deal with these users because it silences them as well as hides their posts.

In the case of the first category of spam-flagged comments, there are rarely replies, and so the “Delete spammer” functionality of that flag type (or indeed the “Delete” functionality on their profile) is effective. However, for the second type, often there are replies to their inflammatory posts.

When you use “Delete user” (profile) or “Delete spammer” (flag screen) users, their posts are deleted, however, replies to those posts remain, but their breadcrumbs are removed (they end up looking like replies to the topic itself rather than replies to the now-deleted user’s post). In addition, with those posts removed, the comments are often doubly lacking context, as they show no indication that they were a reply to another member, and like replies to deleted posts in general, may have no conversational context at all anymore.

As a result, I’d like to propose that when a user is deleted (either through the deletion option, or the delete spammer functionality) that the option be given to delete replies to their posts as well, instead of just their posts (similar to the option given when you delete a post from the flag screen).

Otherwise, the moderation action to delete the associated replies is extremely annoying - you have to first track down all the posts that will be deleted through the “delete post / delete spammer” functionality, go to each of the replies and delete them manually (and when deleting manually, no recursive delete option is available, so you may have to manually do that yourself) then you can go delete the user. It’s extremely frustrating, and it has been happening with an increasing frequency given the number of disruptive posters that show up given the current online social climate.