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Should moderators be allowed to delete posts?

+ 0 like - 2 dislike
265 views
There have been accusations that comments were permanently deleted by an administrator. Since this accusation is serious, perhaps a better feature for moderators, instead of deletion, is "suggest deletion", which can only be approved by polarkernel. This way, no future user can claim that comments or posts were deleted by a hostile moderator unilaterally, and polarkernel would know all the content which was deleted. Needless to say, only outright spam, legally objectionable material (like deanonymizing a user), or material accidentally or incidentally imported from another site should be deleted, all the rest should just be hidden. This was agreed upon early, and it is still policy. I don't know if the policy was followed, but perhaps we should make it impossible to violate?
asked Jan 23, 2015 in Feature Request by Ron Maimon (7,535 points) [ revision history ]
recategorized Jan 23, 2015 by dimension10
Most voted comments show all comments
Are you seriously still stuck with this issue? : )

Deletion is used as an emergency measure, in case of large-scale spam attacks. Removing the feature would only serve to prolong the handling of such issues. Also, I'm quite sure polarkernel will be very opposed to the idea of having to approve possibly thousands of "suggestions" : )

(I'm not the downvoter by the way)

@RonMaimon There's no way I can convince you of that. You can ask polarkernel to check the event logs if you trust him better.

Edit: I now realise that there really was a comment erasing. I was unaware of this, and I apologise on behalf of the moderator who deleted it. This will never happen again, it was a terrible mistake, and will never happen again. Such unexplained comment erasings are simply a pathetic violation of the principle of community moderation.

@RonMaimon I'm pretty sure it's possible to query the logs for the "delete" action on posts belonging to the "Vladimir Kalitvianski" user, or something to that effect. By the way, could Vladimir be talking about the deletion of the review on koalas and red pandas, and forgotten that it was me who had deleted it?
There have been deletions in the distant past, around the time of the deletion of the 't Hooft paper review, when the meaning of "delete" was actually still unclear, but nothing in recent times. Vladimir also deleted some of his own wall posts. A few comments that Vladimir hid himself, were deleted later by moderators. Besides that, I can't find any content that was permanently deleted.
@polarkernel: I accept the results of your review, and the question is moot, since you can always do a review to verify accusations. Perhaps you can make this into an answer. (EDIT: The method of deletion was obnoxiously indirect. The comments were simply edited by a moderator so that the content would be empty, and then the site automatically gets rid of the empty comment. This underhanded deletion method leaves no trace in the logs, but it is just as infuriating of course, and violates the explicitly enumerated user rights, in particular, the principle that a user has a right to control the content appearing under their name. It is also a deletion in all terms except for logging, and must be considered a violation of the agreement to hide rather than delete.)
Most recent comments show all comments
I would believe it if there was a denial from Dilaton. Polarkernel only checked the logs for one discussion, perhaps the deletion occured elsewhere. You aren't being accused, and you shouldn't speak for someone else when you don't know for sure.
I got the sense that polarkernel only checked on the recent discussion thread in question, and determined there was no deletion. It might have been a bug in the submission process instead, or some other misinterpretation on VK's part. But I didn't see any denial by Dilaton of deletion, just by you, and I don't know if there was deletion or not. Maybe VK asked a question regarding this on meta which was summarily deleted? I have no idea. I trust all of you to tell the truth, since polarkernel can always verify everything, but Dilaton has said nothing, no denial.

1 Answer

+ 2 like - 0 dislike

Sorry, I deny taking such a task. This by the following reasons:

  • The new rules on treating off-topic posts exist now since 5 days. Although the decision has been taken by an extremely small community, I think everybody got it now.
  • I do not afford additional tasks. This would only waste time I require to continue the development of the site.
  • The time to react to spam posts would be extended unnecessarily. We get about 30 spam posts of registered and confirmed users every day. Some of them hit my traps, but I absolutely need the help of the moderators to protect the site.
  • I don't think that PhysicsOverflow requires any kind of super-police.
answered Jan 23, 2015 by polarkernel (0 points) [ no revision ]
Most voted comments show all comments
@VK It is not possible to comment comments. You have to use the comment button under the question. To your question: In this case I would find both events in the eventlog. What I can't recover is the content of the deleted post.
On 12. November, only the standard anti-spam facility of Question2Answer, using a list of censored words, was active. This feature was very helpful as long as spammers used words in the spam that are not commonly used by genuine users. With a very low probability, it is possible that your posts then had been affected by this feature, which however did not care about the reputation of a user. Unfortunately, the actions of this program have not been logged.

Recently, I have invented much more effective algorithms, installed since mid of December 2014. I think you will understand that I do not publish them to anybody for security reasons. It logs all detected spamming content to the system. I can't find any content posted by you there.
@polarkernel: Thank you very much for your answers. At that time (in November) I posted things, made screenshots before the content getting deleted and after it, and sent these screenshots to dimension10. He did not believe me (considered fakes) and then we experimented online, so he personally saw my posts/comments getting deleted shortly after posting. Then he found out it was that famous anti-spam program who did it. Recently it was Dilaton who did it with some means. You all must understand, I felt myself strangled and finally decided to quit. Not because of "warning", but because of factually blocking me by erasing my posts. I told to myself, well, it's their private play yard, they do what they want with me. So I requested deletion of my account. I do not regret my decision.

@RonMaimon: It was (if was) in November. Now it is different. Now it is bots and Dilaton with company, the founders. I am not hostile to the site, I wish it to flourish. I just do not want to mix with people who are really hostile to me, that's all.

@VK: I am sure that the people are reporting honestly. If you could remember a specific incident of deletion, please post the content and thread--- I think it is basically impossible for polarkernel to miss a deletion event if he has a log with all deletion events, and it is exceedingly unlikely that there is an evil conspiracy to hide deletion here among dilaton and polarkernel. It is more plausible that you misinterpreted the single hiding event as a deletion. But if you remember the specific content and the specific thread, one can look. But if you don't, please don't make the accusation, because it might be you reimagining the very real hostility to your posts as an outright deletion of them, which seems to not have happened.

(What actually happened was Dilaton removing comments by editing out all their content. This is not logged as a deletion by the site.)
Most recent comments show all comments

@polarkernel: Thanks a lot for your prompt response. I have two more questions/remarks: Dilaton does not deny deleting recently my comments and posts.  Why, if Dilaton is an honest person, does he keep silence?

dimension10 brought his excuses for some anti-spam software that was deleting my comments and posts in the past and presenting it as if it was I who deleted them. Was such a software in place indeed and how does it function now?

On 12 November dimension10 wrote via private message:

"Dear Vladimir, it seems there was indeed a bug in the system. Very sorry for the error, and apologies for any content you might have lost.

It seems that the Q2A framework has some strange way of dealing with negative-rep users. It seems to be a supposed "anti-spam" filter, but it's very badly done (which is why the bug was only encountered occassionally), which is why your comments sometimes got deleted. The resulting behaviour is the same as that would be if you had deleted them yourself.

However, the filter only applies to questions, answers, and comments, so the wall messages disappearing is not explained by this...

The bug is now patched, and you can continue to post without the fear of auto-deletion. "

But he did not bring his excuses publicly. Publicly his position is still the same: I am a dishonest person. I am fed up with all that!

@VK: Now that you see it was not due to moderator action, or anyone playing with your mind, you can perhaps reconsider your hostility to the site. The moderators have not marked your comments for deletion, you just happened to use words that are considered spam by a bot. (EDIT: No, actually, it was a moderator removing all the content from a comment so that it would become empty, and then disappear through normal site cleanup--- sorry for doubting VK)

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