If I want to completely delete a post, I should just hide them?

My apologies, as I know this might have been discussed at length previously, but I am still trying to understand. On a reply by @codinghorror, a while back, he wrote:


Will that mean that, if I want to completely delete a post, I should just hide them? Will the delete removed posts after setting apply to the forum administrator, and thus, the topics/posts deleted/hidden by the administrator’s account be removed after the n hours set? Are posts and topics considered the same, for this setting?

How can one delete uploads, so that the purge deleted uploads grace period days settings become applicable (Grace period (in days) before a deleted upload is erased)?

So, based on the silent acceptance this topic got, am I to assume hidden posts do not get deleted after 30 days, and thus the delete removed posts after setting is a placebo?

Okay, I must have missed this topic earlier, but here is my understanding of how that setting works.

  1. A Hidden post is still a post that can be seen by other users, it has the message of “this content is hidden due to community flagging”, or something like that, and therefore it is still “visible”
  2. At 30 days (or whatever you have set), the post will be marked as “deleted”

This does not permanently destroy the post, instead it hides it from regular users to where only staff can see it. Discourse, to my knowledge, NEVER destroys a post entirely.

Uploads in that now deleted post, should eventually be cleaned up via the grace period at the next time it runs via Sidekiq.


Not trying to be nitpicky, but if delete doesn’t delete, then maybe that word shouldn’t be used. Flagged should replace the current Hidden, and Hidden should be made the new deleted.

I searched meta a lot, and found three years old developer discussions about implementing a real purge. There has been no advances on that idea, correct?

I am unaware of any plans for a real purge. The only way I know to do that is via the Rails console and calling post.destroy() on the post in question. So it technically exists, but isn’t automated in any form.


I tried the Rails console approach (found an old post referring to it), and it vomited errors at me, so I decided to hold that off.

The reply I referred about:


FYI, in Discourse, we “soft-delete” topics/posts. Meaning the content is still stored in the database but it flagged as being deleted and is thus not shown to standard users (admins can always seem them if they want to).

This help tremendously in dealing with spammers and/or misbehaving users.

@David_Collantes would you mind explaining why you wanted to completely erase the content of a post?

Imagine a user posts something really sensitive like someone’s credit card information, someone’s social security number, something that we really don’t want visible at all to anyone, or even something that the Legal team in your organization asks you to remove because may become a liability.

An additional factor is that “soft-deleted” posts seem to be accessible not only to administrators, but also to moderators. If you have a forum where community members may obtain a moderator role, this just complicates the scenarios around privacy.

If there is a command-line instruction to delete such posts in exceptional circumstances, that would work too.


Yes there are …

./launcher enter app
rails c

Note this is 100% non recoverable short of grabbing a backup, so be careful.


Since Discourse “soft-deletes” posts, can we consider this rails command the recommended way to completely delete a post containing highly sensitive information such as those @quimgil provided as examples? If it isn’t, what would be the recommended way to deal with these kind of posts?

Is there a case that comes to your mind where completely deleting a post like this would break something in Discourse?


Hard deleting a post using .destroy is the recommended way. I will not break stuff in Discourse, there are jobs that ensure consistency.

There may be some inconsistency in counts for 1 to 7 days depending. (Sam made 9997 posts but REALLY he only made 9996 posts)


I’m not sure if it’s ideal, but I used this code to replace the user’s post content in deleted topics with "[deleted]". That way the existence of the posts was preserved, and it seemed safer than completely destroying them.

# backed-up first
deleted_topic_id = 1234
user_id = 5678

t = Topic.unscoped.find(deleted_topic_id)
ps = t.posts.select { |p| p.user_id == user_id }

# `ps.count` to check

ps.each do |p|
  p.raw = '[deleted]'

I didn’t realize that hiding a flagged post did not make it unviewable by other forum users. Is there any way to shorten the 30 day deletion time?

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