I’m experiencing a problem on my community. I’m unable to “delete all posts” of certain users. From what I can tell it’s only happening to older accounts with a lot of posts. Newer accounts don’t face this problem.
I’ve checked the site settings and I’ve increased the limit on the delete all posts to 10 000.
I’m currently trying to delete a user with about 900 posts. The user does not want to be anonymized and is threatening legal action if the account and posts are not removed. I press the delete all button and then I get this message after about a minute:
I see this in my browser console, 502 on the post:
I’ve looked at the logs on my server, and I see this appear after I try to delete:
I wrote a small app that calls the discourse API on my installation. It individually deletes each post, instead of doing a batch. So for 700 posts it would do 700 API calls. Not the most efficient, but it was helpful.
I see that there are 20 problem posts. Looks like the “delete all” function stops after it reaches one of these and can’t delete them. The API was not able to delete these for some reason. I manually deleted most of them now by going into the post and tapping the delete button as a moderator would normally do.
There are still about 5 that I can’t delete, via API or normal. I don’t see any resemblance between them. Some are in massive topics, some are in small topics. Some are replies, have likes, have pictures, others not. When I try to delete them through the standard UI I get this error dialog:
Some of my users have reported getting the same dialog when they try to delete their own posts. I assumed it was due to a connection issue or something since almost all of them are on mobile, but it could be something different.
When trying to delete it manually, I get this log:
The five problem posts are all within two large topics. We recently closed both of them because they were just getting way too big. The one topic has 55k posts and the other has 17k posts. I’m guessing there’s a lot of processing that goes on when a post within such a large topic gets removed and that’s causing a timeout of some kind, but that’s only a guess.
Generally the posts in Discourse are just soft-deleted and not hard-deleted . With the command destroy you have just deleted them from the database and I made you use it only because the posts you were trying to delete belonged to incredibly long topics.
I do not recommend using this method neither for posts nor for topics. They can never be restored and you will work on a database for a site in production from what I understand, with the risk of breaking the whole site if something goes wrong. However if you want using the destroy command you are free to do so. You should always make a backup if you intend to use this type of commands.
Thank you for the advice. It’s about what I expected and I will only use the destroy command as a last resort.
Since it’s normally soft deleting the posts, it sounds like it writes a bunch of other things instead of just deleting the record. Is this maybe why it doesn’t work well when deleting the posts from a mega topic? Just too many things to do and it hits a time out?
I’d love a way to resolve this without resorting to the risky console command.
Thank you. I changed our max topic limit to 2500. Users asked for the limit to be removed a while ago, which led to these mega topics. The mega topics are not good for the forum though. Server performance was severely impacted during peak times when a lot of people were replying to it. We ended up closing it to stop that from happening, but now we are still stuck with these massive topics that are causing other issues.