Reconsidering the Ability to Delete All Entries/Comments Associated With an Account Upon Deletion
accounts, entries, comments
With the dramatic increase in recent years in both online and real-world harassment, I would like to consider revisiting the 2010 suggestion to give users the option to delete all entries/comments associated with an account upon account deletion.
The last time this suggestion was raised was in 2010, and it was rejected then. However, I think it's long past time to revisit the possibility of being able to delete all entries and comments associated with an account upon account deletion.
There are a lot of reasons people delete accounts. Sometimes those reasons are just a lack of time or interest, and that's okay. But sometimes those reasons get a lot more serious. We over-share sometimes. The people we meet online become friends, and we get lax about sharing personal information that perhaps shouldn't be shared in public internet spaces. Most of the time that never becomes a problem--most of the people we meet online are great. But sometimes the people who have access to your entries/posts/comments aren't great, and that can have repercussions irl just as easily as it can have repercussions online. The last few years have seen a dramatic uptick in everything from revenge porn to death threats to hacked accounts, and while stalking and real-world harassment are rare, they happen, and they're happening with increasing frequency. They happen often enough that (as of the time of this writing) a tumblr post about tips for how to disappear from the internet has over 760,000 notes.
Right now, Dreamwidth allows its users to delete comments manually, and to see the last 100/150 comments posted on paid/premium accounts, but many of us have posted thousands of comments over several years, and trying to find every single comment and offhand remark ever posted is an endeavor that's anxiety-inducing at best and impossible at worst. Giving users an option to automatically delete every post/comment they've ever made, even those made on outside communities or journals, would alleviate that burden entirely.
The biggest concern with this suggestion-and the concern that I saw raised most often on the 2010 post--was that it would inevitably leave conversations broken. There are ways to mitigate that: a suggestion I saw raised in the 2010 post was to add an "orphan all comments" feature in addition to a "delete all comments" feature. AO3 currently has a popular analogous option for those who want to remove their association with their fanworks without deleting them entirely. A quick review of several LiveJournal posts will also show that broken threads are in the minority, so we may not have to worry about that too much. Even if they weren't in the minority, though, it would still be a necessary evil; our conversations are important, but I don't feel that they should be more important than the safety of our users.
Should be implemented as-is.
Should be implemented with changes. (please comment)
Shouldn't be implemented.
(I have no opinion)
(Other: please comment)