Members purging their contributions

We’ve seen this in a similar way a few times now. A new user being very enthusiastic about the forum and the community. They engage and post a lot and are granted membership on the forum (reach trust level 2). Then they are criticized for their tone or have an opinion questioned by another user. They complain to moderators, we don’t just side with them but inform them about how to discuss forms of engagement without disrupting existing conversations. They are not ready to do that, just feel let down and want to get out without leaving any trace. So they manually delete every single post they shared. As they engaged a lot, received responses, opened new topics, were quoted by other users,… it renders parts of our conversation quite incomprehensible.

The respective forum settings we currently have are:

  • new and basic users can edit (and delete) their posts within 1 day
  • members can edit (and delete) their posts within 30 days

How do you feel about that? Do you think it’s a problem that some users can purge all their contributions of the last 30 days? Should we change settings?

I think it’s fine. There is enough context from other replies to realize what happened and people have the right to erase themselves.


on most forums the limit is a number of hours or the next post on the thread, whatever is longer. but number of hours usually is a one digit figure.

I have no issue with it, and if they remember or commit to coming back 30 days later, that’s really a commitment.

As an interesting twist, I think this kind of behaviour is contrary to transparency and goodwill upon which the community is based. We live in a day and age where when it goes out on the internet, it’s often there forever. We need to realise that we stand by our comments, and that should trigger a pre-reflection process of choosing our words more carefully. Much like real life, it doesn’t have a purge or delete button for the things we’ve done or said.

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