SL - Deleting your own comments


This page is now for a broader discussion of the issues surrounding deleting one's own comments.

In the KGS Rooms / Policy Discussion page, helger removed his comments. That made the discussion hard to follow, given the replies. He or she suggested removing the replies as well. Then after Dr Straw made a reply to a reader's questions, Ian Davis removed his own comments and also removed an explanatory comment by wms.

I, Hu, think this is getting out of hand. I am on the point of restoring all the removed contents, but have held off momentarily to get some feedback since some broader principles are involved. I note a few points:

  • The discussion should not have its heart ripped out. Other people's comments and the flow of discussion have been written based on the presence of those comments.
  • By removing wms' comment, an important explanation by the principal behind KGS has been removed. Restoring wms comment alone will leave the discussion somewhat incoherent.
  • The solution to bad speech is more speech. If the commenters wish to amend their remarks, they should continue the discussion by appending more remarks. I fear that they are dissidents who wish to damage the discussion rather than engage in it. If they want to leave KGS, they are welcome to do so, but I don't think they should effectively sabotage the discussion, whether or not that is their objective.
  • The discussion will be gone in less than a year, maybe less than six months, I predict, as the issue settles down, a few dissidents leave KGS, and the majority of people adjust or continue as they were. When the issue settles down, then all of the discussion can be removed, and any remaining dissidents can have their points distilled to a few Wishlist items.
  • I am requesting this meta-discussion, because I have not seen deletions like these before, and do not want to see it set a precedent for SL.

So, are there any reasons not to restore all the deleted comments?

IanDavis: Well I think there's nothing worse than out of date rot on the web. DrStraw provided an edit which addressed all of my points, rendering my comment totally answered, so I decided to remove mine. This left wms's comment useless - so I took that out too. Ths is a wiki, what I can contribute I can take away. I don't see the issue at all. Sorry.

Helger: yes, there are reasons. The discussion went nowhere, I feel my concerns were ignored. Privacy advocates were outvoted. Given that musings on sensei's are like writing on the water (the same is true about the English Chat Room discussion), why should we keep this discussion on Sensei's? Majority of Sensei's readers are not interested in it anyways. The discussion could be focused to two short sentences by a simple master edit. No, I am not going to do it. I am just going to remove my comments on KGS-related pages. (And I am going to remove this one within 2-3 days. So please do not reply if you would later feel offended when I my comment.)

Dieter: This discussion in fact is a special case of the general issue. Such a page and its discussion would have some value to future users. Not [KGS issues discussion discussion], so I request a name change and a discussion abstracted from the issues at hands.

IanDavis: I agree actually.

Hu: Done.

Neil: If you think that a record of a discussion on SL should remain fixed and unchanging for all time, I think you forget what a Wiki is.

For related comments and discussion see [ext] Wiki Mind Wipe and linked pages on [ext] WardsWiki.

Hu: Clearly, I don't think a record of a discussion on SL should remain fixed and unchanging for all time.

Dieter: Soon we will have encyclopedia style pages and discussion pages. Wiki etiquette obliges to make your edits consistent and not deleting other people's contributions unless that's what the page asks for. Cutting out your earlier remarks on a discussion page will always violate wiki etiquette:

either you leave the replies as they are in which case they become irrelevant and awkward

or you delete them altogether, which is not what a discussion page asks for.

We'll see how the new changes work out. I believe they will have a major effect on SL behaviour.

Neil: So you deny that someone can make an edit that removes his own words?

DougRidgway: I've deleted my own comments in the past, and may want to do so in the future. Editing is what makes wiki different from Usenet; what defends wiki against trolling. If Discussion pages are append-only, I'll have to be very careful what I write on them.

Hu: In a sense, wiki pages are append-only, since there is a record of all edits. It is wise to think carefully before writing, so that remarks don't need to be deleted. Having a capability, such as removing one's own words (which is not denied, by the way), does not mean that it should be used thoughtlessly or irresponsibly. Even more thought should be applied before removing one's own remarks than in writing them. If they can be removed without disturbing the flow of a discussion, then feel free to remove them. My first reading of the Wards Wiki discussion referenced above indicates that the consensus there is to not remove one's own remarks in general. If editing Wikis is a defence against trolling, then arguing for self-editing after the fact of writing would seem to be arguing that trolling should occur freely so long as the troll removes the flamebait. Not a good way to go. Thinking, proofreading, and rewriting before posting is similar to "measure twice, cut once".

DougRidgway I don't think we disagree, not in general. Just to clarify: the troll defense is not for the troller, but the trollee: if you get trolled, and realize it later, you can delete your response. This is a mechanism for breaking the troll cycle, without resorting to deleting someone else's work, which has its own problems. (BTW I corrected your comment, please check then delete this.)

SL - Deleting your own comments last edited by Dieter on April 12, 2009 - 19:26
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