The ethics of allowing posters to edit or delete their old posts for any reason. Is it their right?

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WWu777
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The ethics of allowing posters to edit or delete their old posts for any reason. Is it their right?

Post by WWu777 »

I have an ethical question for you all. Some of my forum posters edit out hundreds or even thousands of their posts from years ago, when they are angry or off their rocker or depressed or crazy or having mood swings or whatever. Sometimes for a good reason, but often for no reason at all.

While part of me recognizes that it may be their personal right to do so, with their own posts, the drawback of this is that it leaves gaps in the discussion topics, and if they are the OP in the topic, then the title of the topic is blanked out to a line or dot only, which looks bad when you have topics with empty titles.

So what's more important: Giving posters the right to edit or delete their own posts, for any reason, even for no reason, or maintaining the integrity of the board and preventing gaps and blank titles from making the board look bad and weird? When there's a conflict between individual civil liberties vs. maintaining the structure of the topics on the board, which is more important? What do you all think?

Do any of you deal with this issue too? If so, how have you handled it? Do you allow everyone to edit or remove their posts for any reason? Or do you disallow it? Or do you only allow it if the poster has a good reason and makes a special request to the admin or moderators?

Should I go to Post Settings and put a time limit on how long a user can edit or delete their post? If so, what's the best time limit that's fair and reasonable? 3 hrs, 6 hrs, 12 hrs, 24 hrs? What do you all think?

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Re: The ethics of allowing posters to edit or delete their old posts for any reason. Is it their right?

Post by Elias »

Limit the editing time?
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Re: The ethics of allowing posters to edit or delete their old posts for any reason. Is it their right?

Post by P_I »

As the OP has pointed out, it is a balancing act between the right of the poster and the rights of the readers and those who have replied.

On boards that I'm involved with, the first thing to decide is who owns the posts and what rights do they retain, then spell that out clearly in your board rules. Each board is different.

On one board that I'm involved with, there is no time limit on edits. Occasionally some destroys a discussion by taking their ball and going home, editing all their post to delete content. But the nature of the board is such that the first post in a number of topics needs periodic updates to current information, so limiting the edit time would be problematic.

On another board, we've picked 48 hours as the allowed time to edit/delete a post. That allows comments made in haste can be rephrased or deleted.

So the answer is ... it depends. Which is why phpBB provides you the option in ACP.
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Re: The ethics of allowing posters to edit or delete their old posts for any reason. Is it their right?

Post by Random American »

Maybe it is best to just limit the editing time, especially if it has the possibility to destroy a discussion that others are participating in. If they want to delete an old post no one has replied to, that's fine, but editing an OP blank is not something I would allow. If they posted personal information due to a lapse of judgement or something else that needs to be redacted, they can request a moderator to edit it out.

I don't think they have a "right" to edit their posts blank at any time, unless your country has laws that state otherwise or you put such a right in your terms of service.


Edit: I think 12 hours is more than fair as an edit limit.

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Re: The ethics of allowing posters to edit or delete their old posts for any reason. Is it their right?

Post by WWu777 »

I guess 12 hrs or even 24 hrs should be enough time for someone to decide if they want to edit or delete their post.

But why do some people decide to suddenly delete all their posts or blank them out? I understand some may regret what they posted, or feel what they posted is incriminating and may get them banned from certain countries or blacklisted. Even though their real name is not connected to the post, they still feel that powerful people or corporations or government bodies may have the power to track someone down from their forum posts. Is that possible? Do agencies like the NSA or Chinese government have the power to identify a poster from his post alone?

However, some people do it just for the heck of it, like they have bipolar disorder or something, or are angry at the world. So they take it out by deleting all their posts to get back at everyone. I guess that wouldn't be a good reason. When you ask them why, they don't give a good reason. They just say they feel like it or they no longer feel the board is "worthy" of their posts or something like that. Do any of you know why some people do that?

Btw, is there a way to allow certain trusted members to always edit their posts without time limit? And allow them to override the board's post settings in their permission settings? Is it better to try to edit their individual user settings or create a group and put them in there, called "Unlimited Editing" or something like that? I find when I try to change a user's permissions, I have to do it for every board, one at a time, which would take a long time. I can't just change it with one click, I have to do it in the permissions of every board category, which since I have many categories, would take a long time. Is there an easier way?

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Re: The ethics of allowing posters to edit or delete their old posts for any reason. Is it their right?

Post by Elias »

I would group them up and adjust that group's permissions.
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Re: The ethics of allowing posters to edit or delete their old posts for any reason. Is it their right?

Post by WWu777 »

Elias wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 1:15 pm
I would group them up and adjust that group's permissions.
How do you allow a group to override the time limit set for editing posts in the Post Settings? I don't see any permissions in the permissions panel that allow you to override the board settings on time limits to edit posts. Even if you select "Can edit own post" to yes, wouldn't that be overridden by the Post Settings and the time limit set there? Anyone know?

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Re: The ethics of allowing posters to edit or delete their old posts for any reason. Is it their right?

Post by P_I »

You might want to look at viewtopic.php?f=456&t=2552146 if you want settings by group.
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Re: The ethics of allowing posters to edit or delete their old posts for any reason. Is it their right?

Post by WWu777 »

P_I wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 10:49 pm
You might want to look at viewtopic.php?f=456&t=2552146 if you want settings by group.
Is that extension stable or in beta mode? Instead of installing a new extension, I can also just make the person a moderator too right? Then they can edit any of their posts any time right? And everyone else's too? As long as I trust them of course.

Btw does having too many extensions on the forum slow down its page speed over time?

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Re: The ethics of allowing posters to edit or delete their old posts for any reason. Is it their right?

Post by Random American »

Global moderators are exempt from the limit and can edit posts at any time. Administrators are too.

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Re: The ethics of allowing posters to edit or delete their old posts for any reason. Is it their right?

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie »

editing posts is a moderator permission. the only thing being an admin gives you is access to the admin panel.

the user created when you first install a phpbb board is automatically put in the admin group, the global moderator group and the registered user group.
he is also a founder. I am not sure if founder status gives one moderator permissions or not. have to go check that.
nope, from what I can see, being a founder does not give you moderator permissions but it does give you admin permissions.


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Re: The ethics of allowing posters to edit or delete their old posts for any reason. Is it their right?

Post by Toxyy »

If it has already been archived by the wayback machine or another alternative, it won't matter much really.
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Re: The ethics of allowing posters to edit or delete their old posts for any reason. Is it their right?

Post by Random American »

Not every post is guaranteed to be archived in that manor, and some boards have forums that require an account to read the topics.

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Re: The ethics of allowing posters to edit or delete their old posts for any reason. Is it their right?

Post by Random American »

Btw, I notice that many boards don't allow the deletion of posts. Phpbb.com is one such site.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 11:56 pm
editing posts is a moderator permission. the only thing being an admin gives you is access to the admin panel.

the user created when you first install a phpbb board is automatically put in the admin group, the global moderator group and the registered user group.
he is also a founder. I am not sure if founder status gives one moderator permissions or not. have to go check that.
nope, from what I can see, being a founder does not give you moderator permissions but it does give you admin permissions.


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Alright, I stand corrected about Administrators.

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Re: The ethics of allowing posters to edit or delete their old posts for any reason. Is it their right?

Post by Dog Cow »

Toxyy wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 4:55 am
If it has already been archived by the wayback machine or another alternative, it won't matter much really.
Or if you maintain long-term backups of your database, you can restore from a backup.

Many years ago I considered a revisions system where every version of a post is saved in a separate versions table.
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