Notification when a moderator or admin deletes your message

I think something to tell you that something was deleted is better than finding out by accident later. Even if there’s no reason, that tells you something. Doing it quietly is more passive aggressive than at least getting a notification.

Requiring a hand typed PM…OK, I can buy that being beyond the pale. Not notifying the user seems closer to beyond the pale to me than the other way around.


Get back to me when you’ve run a large community. :wink:

The problem is that deletions are the biggest invitation to a fight you can create. Why? This is how human beings work, unfortunately:

So sending automatic engraved invitations to a fight every time something needs removal, is a deeply unhealthy community pattern. You’ve removed “my precious”, how dare you sir!

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I’m much more upset when it looks like you deleted something but were too cowardly to own up to it.

Personally, I have a very high threshold for what should be deleted, and it’s on the level of inappropriate disclosure of information or, say, rape porn comments. If someone really wants to fight about that sort of thing, they need a banhammer, period.

You’re also refusing to give feedback to the offender, who has no clue that he’s done something wrong and should stop, or else.


As I said, that’s completely at the discretion of the moderator. I’ll just cite the official policy here again:

In order to maintain our community, moderators reserve the right to remove any content and any user account for any reason at any time. Moderators do not preview new posts in any way; the moderators and site operators take no responsibility for any content posted by the community.

If you don’t agree with those policies, you should choose to be elsewhere on the Internet.

I haven’t seen @Dan_G’s suggestion addressed:

Overall, my preference would be to always be notified, precisely as @mcwumbly suggested. What about a site setting to enable/disable deletion notifications?

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Obviously, you have the right to operate your site how you like. I’m really objecting to enforcing your priorities on other sites by saying that different priorities are beyond the pale. OK, I’m also informing you how I react to your policies (and how I’ve seen others react in similar situations).

I can accept that I have different opinions than someone else. But your statements here seem to contradict your previous claims to “complaint driven development,” when you dismiss complaints like that. Realistically, I don’t expect the policy to change here, but I think Discourse would be better for allowing some automation that I think would benefit a community.


If offered, it would be a profoundly unsafe setting. I suggest you read this very closely:

Given @codinghorror’s stance, I think @Dan_G’s suggestion is the best. Prompt the moderator so they have the option to notify easily or not:

ASCII mock:

Inform @user via PM why you are deleting this post? No, Delete Silently

[textbox: Enter your PM here... ] Yes, Send PM


So, you’ve linked this twice in this thread, but I’m not getting it. To me, this argues against your position, because you don’t want people to realize that they’re acting contrary to site norms, so they’re likely to keep doing it.

The way I see it (and have reacted to it in the past) is that when I know that you’re (I’m) losing my precious nuggets of wisdom, I want to figure out how to avoid that in the future. That prevents having to keep cleaning up after someone. Maybe you have it out in a single fight or whatever, but the poster is more likely to behave in the future.

How do you see it differently?


That would be super, super onerous – I do a lot of deletion of old irrelevant topics from Feb '13 to remove noise from search engines.

Getting a dialog pop up on every single deletion, would be extraordinarily painful, a massive barrier to cleanup.

And @boomzilla sometimes when you don’t give feedback it’s because you don’t have any historical evidence that something positive would come of the interaction. That’s why it is at the discretion of the moderator.

Maybe something could be added to the Flag dialog for mods then… so in the case they do want to PM the user and delete the message they can choose to do it as a single action up front.

(I haven’t looked closely yet at how things currently work when you flag a post as a mod. Maybe something like this is already possible?)

The vast majority of forums don’t.

You could always add some kind of cleanup mode.

This makes me very sad. :frowning: Good open source projects keep a public history of decision making for the sake of Science. Also, search engines tend to discount old data that hasn’t been updated in a long time, so locking, archiving, and otherwise flagging information as outdated is much better than removing it altogether.


It seems we aren’t quite talking about the same thing as @codinghorror. We’re talking about deleting posts and he’s talking about deleting topics.

If you target individual posts, I don’t see how the UI that nudges you towards providing a reason can be seen as too onerous.

Sure you could – say it’s a support topic and 5 of the 40 posts are no longer relevant due to something that happened downstream. How does that justify a) notifying 5 people and b) dismissing 5 pop-up dialogs?

I just want to know when we start getting paid for our posts? Or is there a random side-section about how economics theory applies to forum postings? Is your stretch of an implication that the mods would avoid deleting posts to avoid the fights, or that users would stop posting controversial material to avoid having mods get in their face about having to delete posts? Even if I were to directly equate a forum post with economic goods, I don’t see anything in that article saying that people are automatically belligerent about losing something? Just that a loss is worth ~2x what a gain is worth to people… so maybe you mean the jerks would post 2x for every 1 post deleted?

If you’re that caught up in loss aversion, just word the PM as so: “You’ve gained 1 deleted post.”


It’s possible that those 5 people remember those posts being there and might want to find them later for reference.

Here’s another question. What if the user thinks he’s making a good post, and can’t figure out why his posts aren’t there any more? Maybe he figures they just disappeared into the æther? Server error or something? Is he likely to get into more trouble if he keeps trying to make his point in the same fashion instead of addressing whatever the problem is?

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Or to extend this idea, what if a user can’t remember exactly what he wrote that no longer exists? How exactly does that work to change behavior (or at least communication errors/mistakes) in a positive way?


I can’t understand how silently deleting posts can be presented as a good approach. It’s only going to cause confusion and does nothing to address the underlying problem.

I agree, silent deletes should probably be an option (that’s debatable), but it certainly shouldn’t be the only option.

If you’ve got a member who is that much of a problem in the community that you don’t believe they will learn from a dialogue, then they should probably be banned or suspended. This should be an absolute edge case, not the default.

Can you imagine if anything else worked like this? Getting fired from a job (no reason specified), getting prosecuted (no reason specified), getting disconnected by your ISP (no reason specified), getting banned on a social network (no reason specified). People must be given a chance to enter a dialog and defend their position.


What I can’t understand is how Jeff turns his edge case into everyone’s default.