Topic deleted by author

Thanks for the link; that’s very helpful. Just to note, the point I was making wasn’t that the “right to be forgotten” only applies to search engines, but that in the primary example of that “right” in practice, the standard accepted procedure required filing out a detailed form, undergoing human review and a substantial delay on the order of weeks for requests that were approved. Indeed, the page you’ve linked states (emphasis mine)

The right to be forgotten appears in Recitals 65 and 66 and in Article 17 of the GDPR. It states, “The data subject shall have the right to obtain from the controller the erasure of personal data concerning him or her without undue delay and the controller shall have the obligation to erase personal data without undue delay” if one of a number of conditions applies. “Undue delay” is considered to be about a month. You must also take reasonable steps to verify the person requesting erasure is actually the data subject.

and also includes a lengthy template request form asking for a number of person details, justification for removing the data, a detailed description of the data to be removed, and a declaration, and requiring a number of supporting documents, including proof of identity and supporting documents for the data removal justification.

By that standard, a simple PM to a TL4, mod or admin that will likely be responded to within a few hours or days is far less of a burden, and thus its hard to see how it would not more than satisfy the requirements here.

Furthermore, the site also states, in part,

However, an organization’s right to process someone’s data might override their right to be forgotten. Here are the reasons cited in the GDPR that trump the right to erasure:

  • The data is being used to exercise the right of freedom of expression and information.
  • The data is being used to perform a task that is being carried out in the public interest or when exercising an organization’s official authority.
  • The data represents important information that serves the public interest, scientific research, historical research, or statistical purposes and where erasure of the data would likely to impair or halt progress towards the achievement that was the goal of the processing.

Therefore, in the event the individual’s posts were a meaningful part of an important discussion, there would be reasonable grounds to decline the request (if perhaps with their name anonymized, which they can easily do themselves); this hopefully shouldn’t happen often, if ever, but the option exists if removing the content would cause significant harm.

As such, there doesn’t appear to be any conflict with GDPR, so long as users can still request that their content be (non-destructively) deleted by moderators with appropriate justification, and allowing deletion of OPs without affecting the rest of the thread would avoid it completely.

This seems to have drifted off topic. Removal of individual posts, or anonymisation, is not really the point here as I understand it[1]. The issue here is deleting whole topics, where contributions from multiple people are deleted by one individual (the person who started the topic) who would otherwise have no ability to modify or delete posts by other people.

The Discourse model appears to be that whoever starts a discussion “owns” that whole debate (in some sense). This conflicts with what I (and I suspect many others) view as the purpose of a public forum, where discussions are publicly “owned”, and the shared property of everyone (with only administrators of the forum having rights to affect whole discussions).

I’m very strongly against allowing people who start topics to delete them, on a matter of principle. But if that ability doesn’t get removed, it won’t make a huge difference to me - I’ll just avoid contributing to topics started by people I don’t know (and trust), or to categories that tend to involve such people (e.g., the Users category).

  1. If people want to delete their own posts, then that is IMO not in the spirit of a public forum, but I don’t care that much either way (unless over-use of the ability starts to harm the overall forum). To me, such people would just give the impression of being selfish, treating the community as their own personal support service. ↩︎


And indeed, this also conflicts with actual usage—when posts get split out into a new thread, such as on the “running tests/docs” thread that got split from the “including tests/docs in the sdists” thread, it can be rather arbitrary whose post is actually the first one in the thread—on that particular example, it was my post, when it could of been any one of about a half dozen people’s.

If that user were to, for whatever reason (whether intentionally or not) delete that post—say, their personal opinion on the matter got shot down, or they simply didn’t believe their post that happened to be the OP was still accurate, they could wipe the whole thread with a couple clicks (of course, not something I would remotely consider in that case, but not impossible someone else might, especially if they thought it would just delete their post).

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How about a compromise? Let the OP delete the post as long as nobody has posted a reply, or perhaps within 30 minutes (or pick a time) of making the post.

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I think this just happened to me in

The page now reports that it “does [not] exist or is private.” – I had posted a reply, but on editing it errored out.

I’d echo Paul’s sentiment here – this topic was in the Documentation category, and others browsing may have seen it and been able to offer insight into the issue raised.


Not sure why, but the built in spam filter marked it after it was already up. I’ve approved it again.

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I have seen this in pytorch forums, they do not allow the creator of the original post to delete, if there are replies.
So, what happened once was, that there was a question by somebody and then I replied to it, but later the person who asked the question wanted to delete the question.
But since there was one reply to it, that person was not allowed to delete the question.
So, that person sent me a message, asking me to delete my post, so then they could delete the question.

But I had put a certain effort into giving a reply, so, I did not delete my answer.
Then I just sent a message to the moderator, and that question is still there, that person did not delete it.

Alternative to it could be that the creator of OP is allowed to edit the question, maybe remove the whole content of the question, and only keep one character like a . or something.
The only problem with that it would appear as if there are answers to an empty question.

But if the creator is allowed to delete the whole post including others answers also, that is like a bit messed up.
I think so that should not be allowed.