Removing posts of deleted account

KatieC

Member
I have a former member on my forum whose account was deleted a couple of weeks ago. They are now requesting that all of their content be removed. Since their account was deleted, I am having a difficult time tracking down every single post they made. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to speed up the process of locating all of their posts?
 

ENF

Well-known member
I don't know how to do this without doing it from the database level... and that could have unintended consequences if you just delete the posts from the DB.

But, just to give you our procedure - We don't permit deletion of accounts, but we do allow people to request that their personal information be removed. In this case, to avoid the situation you are facing, we do the following steps when a user wants to leave the site:

1) Rename the account
2) Remove the email account
3) Change the password
4) Disable social interactions (privacy settings, etc.)
5) Delete all private conversations'
6) Remove Promotions, Additional Access Levels
7) DB Level: replace any occurrences of the user name where it's not automatically replaced.

This process leaves the account intact and all content linked for further action if needed. We do require the requester to specifically identify PII content that needs to be address. The onus is on the requesting member to identify and report offending content, we will not pursue this.

To date, five years since this policy was put in place, it's worked fine for our purpose and requesting members were happy with the results.

On a side note, we generally don't permit people to just blanket delete their post content unless there's a legal reason to do so.
 

RallyFan

Active member
All depends on your Terms of Use and Privacy Policies of your site (please don't leave them on defaults).

If your forum is catering for GDPR users you'll also have other considerations at play.

For example, ours states that accounts will not be removed/deleted, and only posts that contain personally identifiable information will be removed. Users need to complete a "Data Removal Request" Form, whereby they list the URLS of each post they want deleted.

If the user really wants their posts removed, let them do the heavy lifting.
 
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ENF

Well-known member
For example, ours states that accounts will not be removed/deleted, and only posts that contain personally identifiable information will be removed. Users need to complete a "Data Removal Request" Form, whereby they list the URLS of each post they want deleted.

If the user really wants their posts removed, let them do the heavy lifting.
Fairly identical to ours - The responsibility on the member is key. We've refused bulk requests with out a very good reason and will continue to do so. To be clear, we're trying to keep threads and content integrity together. Deleting posts in the middle of a thread is confusing for new readers and those who land on the thread by search. (Thus, making our site look fragmented and unreliable...)
 

RallyFan

Active member
Fairly identical to ours - The responsibility on the member is key. We've refused bulk requests with out a very good reason and will continue to do so. To be clear, we're trying to keep threads and content integrity together. Deleting posts in the middle of a thread is confusing for new readers and those who land on the thread by search. (Thus, making our site look fragmented and unreliable...)
The other thing is you get members who will be like "why has my post count decreased significantly!!!"

Umm well lets see, we just deleted someones account with 15,000 messages including several hundred threads they would have created.

Far easier to refuse and put the onus back on the user.

That said there are specific subforums I instruct robots.txt and Google NOT to cache, because I don't believe it needs to be cached for the world to see.
 
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