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Deleting accounts


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Poll: Should we delete accounts on request? (9 member(s) have cast votes)

Should we delete accounts on request?

  1. Yes, we should ALWAYS delete on request (1 votes [11.11%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.11%

  2. Generally yes, unless we make a special decision not to (1 votes [11.11%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.11%

  3. Generally no, except in matters of privacy/security (7 votes [77.78%])

    Percentage of vote: 77.78%

  4. No, we should NEVER delete on request. (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

Vote

#1 sonofzeal

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 11:03 PM

Just a quick thread to see what people think on the general issue, since the Dis thread is all tied up with his particular history.




Reasons to allow delete-on-request
- Gives users more control over their account
- It might occasionally help with privacy or security
- Some people don't want loose ends
- We've done it in the past and it would be hard to stop now

Reasons NOT to allow delete-on-request
- It makes more work for us
- It makes the forum look bad to have incessant "delete me" threads
- It gives other users the same idea
- It's irreversible if they regret it
- Deleted users often return and cause confusion
- Someone with access to another's account (like a sibling) could request the delete as a "prank"
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#2 +Lee

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 11:28 PM

PT can vote since it doesn't have to do with disciplinary stuff right? (Haven't voted FYI)

To give my two cents, I think there shouldn't be for the reasons you stated. What if they change their minds? What if they did it out of anger? Then as you said it does confuse other members if and when they do come back.

I do think if the person really needs to, they should be able to have their account deleted. But otherwise I don't see the point. It seems to be more of a statement, because they could just make a "I'm leaving" post and not use the account. Having it deleted is more of a statement for some (Like it seems to be with [removed])

#3 sonofzeal

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 12:20 AM

PT can vote since it doesn't have to do with disciplinary stuff right? (Haven't voted FYI)

I... believe you can?
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#4 The Evil Cashew

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 12:46 AM

I am not sure how to vote. Either Yes unless we name exceptions or No unless we make exceptions. I don't think we can have a hard yes or a hard no on this. Clearly, people abusing the system should not be allowed to continue to do so.
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#5 . . .but there are sounds

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 01:42 AM

I don't think we can morally decline account deletion over matters of privacy or security, but other than that, I do think that a hard and fast no deletions policy would make everything a lot easier. I can sort of appreciate the desire to tie up loose ends, but I don't think it is significant enough to qualify the kind of hassle involved.
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#6 gbrd143

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 01:57 AM

I voted for the third option since it seems the most logical, but I find myself wondering who is going to be the judge of what constitutes a valid privacy concern? How would we tell if someone made up a stalker just to get their account closed? (And I think that it would probably happen if word got out that a suspected stalker was sufficient cause for us to close an account.)

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#7 The Evil Cashew

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 02:01 AM

my thoughts also gbird. for either 2nd or 3rd option. Who is the judge? no matter we are going to get shot at for our decisions.
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#8 sonofzeal

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 02:03 AM

I voted for the third option since it seems the most logical, but I find myself wondering who is going to be the judge of what constitutes a valid privacy concern? How would we tell if someone made up a stalker just to get their account closed? (And I think that it would probably happen if word got out that a suspected stalker was sufficient cause for us to close an account.)

-GB

Well, they'd have to argue that it was somehow better than changing the name of the account, which might be tough. Name changes and strategic edits are a lot easier and do a lot more to protect identity. There's cases I can think of where it would still be reasonable, but that'll form a significant obstacle imo.
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#9 michaeld

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 09:42 AM

Maybe one possibility would be to have a one-delete policy; everyone may have their account deleted exactly once, but if they come back after that then their new account stays open. (But apply this only after deleting [removed]'s current account.)

#10 byanyothername

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 12:50 PM

Does anyone know when we started taking account deletion requests? Or was this always an option?
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#11 Kelly

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 01:00 PM

Does anyone know when we started taking account deletion requests? Or was this always an option?

Older s/w would really screw up the board if a member (with posts) was deleted, so we refused. With newer s/w, it was not so bad, so we drifted into allowing it. If we leave the posts and just delete the account, no ones posts are losts and the threads are accessible. We lose important information about the account, though.

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#12 michaeld

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 01:06 PM


Does anyone know when we started taking account deletion requests? Or was this always an option?

Older s/w would really screw up the board if a member (with posts) was deleted, so we refused. With newer s/w, it was not so bad, so we drifted into allowing it. If we leave the posts and just delete the account, no ones posts are losts and the threads are accessible. We lose important information about the account, though.

Is there a way to just deactivate the link to the profile that you get by clicking on the name? That would make it look like the account has been deleted (and logins could be prevented e.g. by changing the password) yet no info would be lost.

Dunno how compatible this would be with data protection laws though.

#13 gbrd143

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 02:32 PM

To my knowledge, it has never been mentioned, or at least not adequately stressed on the open board, that account deletions were being done ONLY as a special courtesy at the admin's discretion. Therefore, since the members (especially the newer ones) have recently seen it being done for everybody who asks (with one notable exception) they would have no reason not to think that it is a standard practice and something that they can reasonably expect to receive if they should ask for it.

There will definitely be some flack when/if we change the practice. I don't know how much, but I would be shocked if some of our more vocal complainers would let this imaginary personal affront slide by without grousing about it. Even so, the longer we let this privilege remain, the worse the reaction will be when/if we take it away.

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#14 michaeld

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 02:58 PM

Dunno how compatible this would be with data protection laws though.

Speaking of data protection, has anyone actually investigated the legal side of this? In the UK we have something called the "Data Protection Act", which places limits on how long personal data may be stored. Until recently Facebook refused to totally delete people's accounts (instead 'deactivating' them but keeping the info on their servers) and they came under fire from the UK Information Commissioner.

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Frankly, annoying though it is, if it were up to me I'd delete people's accounts whenever they asked. Even leaving aside the legal aspects of it, is it even ethical to store people's data without their consent? I kinda feel it's their account, with their personal info, so it's up to them how long it exists. The only obvious counter-measure would be to not let people back after they've deleted their accounts, but I understand why we want to avoid this. (Though I think there may be a case for not letting people back after they've deleted their account for a second time...)

#15 kbrd143

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 07:22 PM

Are we actually storing people's information? We don't even require that people give us their gender, after all. Nothing that is required to join is, in and of itself, personally identifiable -- unless the user chooses to identify themselves. Screen names, avatars, email addresses and the like can all be changed. Facebook collects personally identifiable information as a matter of course. There is no choice in the matter. We don't.

What we do, essentially, is publish what people choose to write. I actually liken what goes on here as more akin to, say, placing an article in a magazine. That isn't the kind of thing you can just take back. Once it is published, it's published, and no matter how much it might irk you, it is out there. And, when an account is deleted, the posts generally tend to remain. When they are removed, they do disrupt the board (say, when Fosco left taking all of his threads -- some of which we just needed a couple of weeks ago), so we've usually not allowed that.

At least, that is how we always viewed it in the past. And it is a perfectly valid way of looking at it. We are a simple message board, after all, not a social networking site. Those have a completely different function, and a different set of rules (and are, in my opinion, scary, which is why I don't use them). Those collect personally identifiable information as a matter of course. We only know what people happen to share.

(And I was under the impression that the PT never votes back here, but they can comment. Edit: Double-checked that. Link. )
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#16 michaeld

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 08:07 PM

I agree with the PT not voting. While I'm still not totally clear about the PT role in the Admods (new thread to come... sorry I've had quite a bit on my mind recently), the guidelines do appear to be clear that the PT can't vote at all in the Admods. Personally, I wish voting wasn't even allowed by the software; while I'm sure no-one would break the rule deliberately, accidents and misunderstandings do happen (e.g. the extra vote in the 1st round of the admin elections, assuming that was indeed a PT).

Anyway, I wasn't talking about people's posts on the public forums. I was thinking more of their profile, and possibly their PMs as well as any other info the systems stores (e.g. their browsing habits... does that get stored?) I haven't used Facebook in over 4 years, but as far as I can tell you don't *have* to give them anything personally identifiable either. It's just that people very often do, just like they sometimes do here (albeit not as often, I'd guess). So I don't see anything different, in principle, between the two sites in this respect.

But I'm only throwing out ideas here. I'm no legal expert, and it's not for me to make this call anyway. I do think the point is worth considering, however.

#17 Amcan

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 08:20 PM

I am not sure how to vote. Either Yes unless we name exceptions or No unless we make exceptions. I don't think we can have a hard yes or a hard no on this. Clearly, people abusing the system should not be allowed to continue to do so.


These are my thoughts.

In the one hand I can understadn some poeple who have general concerns abotu provacy.

On the other deleting doesn't actually get rid of their posts.

I don't know if deleting would get rid of their PMs to other people. Hmmm.

If there's sensative information then they need to edit that otu themselves.

If they want a break from the fprums we can always temp ban them. Or there are otehr options.



michaeld - Firstly welcome.

Secondly PT generally do not vote in here but the lines are sort of fuzzy. Sorry I can't be more helpful. But generally PT don't viote. Unfortunately there isn;t an option to turn off voting for you.
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#18 Tanwen

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 08:20 PM

I don't think we should force anyone to remain a member of AVEN if they don't want to. People do change their outlooks/mind/whatever you choose to call it and by refusing to delete the account we are, in effect saying 'Once a member, always a member' - which can't be right.
If the 'Delete me' threads are a problem, then just make it clear that the way to do it is pm an Admin. Just because [removed] has caused a few difficulties, it's no reason to penalise the rest of the board.
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#19 pawprint prettysure

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 08:27 PM

I think that the one-delete policy (that michael suggested) would probably work best. If they come back, then the account can be suspended, but won't be deleted again.

Also, I think it'd be good to make it clear that if you want your account deleted/suspended, you need to PM an admin. That's the easiest and fastest way to get it done anyway.

About PT voting. It was decided that the PT wouldn't be allowed to vote in the matters back here. However, I think there was some talk about discussing whether the PT would be allowed to vote in admin elections?

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#20 Amcan

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 08:33 PM

Yes one delte would be best. And theer is te alternative of simply locking the account/suspending it...whatever...

And yes there was brief discussion abotu whether PT vote on admin elections but ti didn;t seem to get anyhere. We decided to to run this one the old way.

And now I shall go make a poll to sort that out.
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#21 Tanwen

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 08:36 PM

It isn't against the TOS, so I would suggest we have no grounds to refuse - other than it makes life difficult for us.
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#22 michaeld

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 08:37 PM

And yes there was brief discussion abotu whether PT vote on admin elections but ti didn;t seem to get anyhere. We decided to to run this one the old way.

And now I shall go make a poll to sort that out.

I may be out of place here but do you mind waiting a day or so before doing this? I still have fundamental questions about the role of the PT here in the Admods, which I'll make as a thread when I have time to get my thoughts in order. It may be a good idea to make sure everyone is agreed on the basics (note there was disagreement here among the admods last time we discussed this) before anyone decides on fine points like what (if anything) we can vote on.

#23 sonofzeal

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 08:40 PM

I suppose a "one delete" policy would be the 2nd option, as the exception would only come up rarely.



I may be out of place here but do you mind waiting a day or so before doing this? I still have fundamental questions about the role of the PT here in the Admods, which I'll make as a thread when I have time to get my thoughts in order. It may be a good idea to make sure everyone is agreed on the basics (note there was disagreement here among the admods last time we discussed this) before anyone decides on fine points like what (if anything) we can vote on.

Oh god... we've had so many battles over the exact bounds of PT/Admodness that it's not even funny. I don't think any of us even care that much exactly where it is! It's just one of those issues that's caused us far more trouble than it's worth. If there's confusion now it's not because we haven't tried to clear it up, it's because it's been "cleared up" so many times that we all forget which "clearing up" is most current.

My two cents - as long as you're respectful, things should get along fine, so I wouldn't worry about it too much beyond that.
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#24 Amcan

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 08:47 PM

I think we would have grounds to refuse in cases like [removed] who has had accoutns deleted and then come abck.

Although we're back tot he the old TOS debate...
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#25 Tanwen

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 08:57 PM

What grounds would they be? You can only change your mind once? What difference does it make? It is an inconvenience, nothing more. How many have made multiple requests for account deletion? Could it be only [removed]?
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#26 Amcan

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 09:26 PM

But why Tan?

If you want to leave the site that much and have your account deleted and then you come back again and have your accoutn delted and then again then why is a person keeping coming back?

I understand totally a person would want to cut all ties and have their accoutn delted but if you feel that way why come back again adn again and keep having your account deleted?

Why not sinimply leave. Or lock yourself out of yoru account? Or ask an admin to suspend you?

Deletion to me signals finality - I am not coming abck. So when someone does and does it mroe than once I have to wonder why.

Yes people change their minds and that;s fine but if a person changes their mind makes a new account nad doesn't mention they had a previous account until they get asked and then has that accoutn deleted and then changes their mind again and makes another new one and then wants that one deleted I have to wonder if they change their mind that often why do they want their accoutn deleted and not simply suspended?

If I was the ttype to keeo changing my mind abotu coming abck I wouldn't keep asking for acoutns to be deleted.

[removed] just happens ot be the first person to request a third deletion adn as far as my memory goes he si the only one who has requested a deletion more than once.

Most people who are deleted never bother coming back or if they do its a long time later. And when they do they say they had an account deleted.

Interestingly we never used to get that many deletion requests. We seem to have more now than we did on the old software.
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#27 Tanwen

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 09:44 PM

I'm not trying to be awkward...really (you know how difficult I am when I really try ;) ) but if [removed] is the only one who's asked for multiple deletions why are we spending so much time discussing it? There are other more important matters on hand...the upcoming elections, are we going to include GBRD's suggested text regarding qualities for an mod???
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#28 sonofzeal

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 09:48 PM

I'm not trying to be awkward...really (you know how difficult I am when I really try ;) ) but if [removed] is the only one who's asked for multiple deletions why are we spending so much time discussing it? There are other more important matters on hand...the upcoming elections, are we going to include GBRD's suggested text regarding qualities for an mod???

This thread was intended for general deletion policy. And, right now, the vote seems to be going that most Admods don't even like deleting the first time. So if we're potentially moving to a place where even single deletes aren't normally performed, then I'm pretty sure that settles the question of multiple deletes pretty thoroughly, doesn't it? :P
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#29 Tanwen

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 09:57 PM

Reminds me of an old skipping rhyme (that I can't quite remember)

'Once you're in, you can't get out
Unless you touch the ground
Touch your head, clap your hands
And then you may go out.'
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#30 The Evil Cashew

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 09:59 PM

Tan. its being discussed because [removed] is throwing a fit. So we need to make a decision. No it may not be the most important thing on the agenda. but it IS on the agenda.

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