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How to delete your previous questions within AskMeFi
December 5, 2012 1:44 PM   Subscribe

How to delete your previous questions within metafilter or AskMeFi? If you can't delete, why not and do they stay online forever?
posted by daveg02 to MetaFilter-Related at 1:44 PM (55 comments total)

Because they are meant to help everyone, not just you.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:46 PM on December 5, 2012 [26 favorites]


Forever.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:46 PM on December 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


This is covered in the FAQ here. You can't remove old questions, but if there is a specific reason you need a question or two out of your profile, we can discuss whether or not we can make them anonymous. Hit us up on the contact form with specifics.

The reason for things sticking around is this is a public site of helpful questions and answers and we try our best to keep the entire archive of old questions and answers intact. You never know when a problem you had two years ago will help out someone in the same situation today. If there is sensitive material in a question, we will consider making it anonymous for you, but given that people help each other out out of goodwill, we don't like to make a habit of removing old questions and answers that people left in the hopes of helping one another.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:48 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Heya, the FAQ goes over this a little. In short:

- You cannot delete your own questions or comments, no.
- They do stay around forever, yes. Nothing automatically expires on this site.
- If you have concerns about a specific question or comment you need deleted for some reason, you can contact us mods at the contact form to discuss the details.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:48 PM on December 5, 2012


Nothing automatically expires on this site.

Well, the edit window.
posted by Egg Shen at 1:54 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nothing automatically expires on this site.

The milk goes bad eventually as well.....
posted by HuronBob at 1:56 PM on December 5, 2012


Sometimes I catch a whiff of the rotting corpse of a banned spammer, but I'm good with that.
posted by rtha at 1:59 PM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


The MetaFilter opening screen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1_fDwX1VVY
posted by GuyZero at 2:05 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just FYI and in my opinion, it's best to send questions related to personal privacy directly to the mods, via the Contact link at the bottom of every page on the site.

Why? 'Cause if you're worried about privacy or some such, probably dozens of people have now looked at your previous questions and wondering which one you want deleted.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:06 PM on December 5, 2012 [28 favorites]


Questions do get deleted due to "poster's request" but then end up Googleable anyway because of the deleted post blogs. If I wanted to disassociate a question from my user name, I think I'd prefer to have it anonymized instead of deleted.
posted by lalex at 2:13 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


lalex: "Questions do get deleted due to "poster's request" but then end up Googleable anyway because of the deleted post blogs. If I wanted to disassociate a question from my user name, I think I'd prefer to have it anonymized instead of deleted."

That's pretty inside baseball for definitions of "deleted", though. Most people think of "deleted" as, well, deleted-deleted. Dictionary definition deleted.
posted by boo_radley at 2:15 PM on December 5, 2012


Brandon, it seems like warnings to a user like that are best done through MeMail. If you were worried about the user's privacy you probably just alerted all the readers of this thread to the fact that his or her previous questions may have some salacious tidbits therein, not to mention your own askme history which leads me to even question if you are a real person or just a Facebook spam account? HTH
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:17 PM on December 5, 2012 [11 favorites]


That's pretty inside baseball for definitions of "deleted", though.

Yes and no. If someone uses the same username throughout multiple social media accounts, and is worried that someone could google that handle and find some old embarrassing questions on AskMe, it seems fair to point out that "deleted" doesn't mean "gone".
posted by lalex at 2:22 PM on December 5, 2012


do they stay online forever?

Each question is actually machine translated into 15 languages, laser-etched onto a finely milled obsidian disc, and inserted into a titanium tube where it floats on a column of pressurized nitrogen. These cylinders are stored in perfectly formed niches carved into the walls of a long-term storage facility at the bottom of a mine shaft in the Nevada desert. The aim is to reduce any potential for entropic data loss, though at the clear expense of access.

Obviously nothing is certain, but there is a high probability that your question will survive at least as long as the planet does.
posted by R. Schlock at 2:32 PM on December 5, 2012 [18 favorites]


To delete your own MetaFilter activity, you have to play a flawless game, without dying, on a single quarter, and make it all the way to the kill screen. Then you have to beat the kill screen (not easy, given the way it's glitched to hell) and enter your name on the high scores list. 6–8 weeks later, cortex will appear at your house (make sure you're home; he only comes once) and challenge you to single combat. You have to win best-of-three-falls (catch-as-catch-can, not Greco-Roman); then and only then, can you have a question deleted.

Repeat as necessary for any additional questions.
posted by Eideteker at 2:32 PM on December 5, 2012 [14 favorites]


And yes, keep in mind that what R. Schlock says is true. The procedure outlined in my comment will only remove the question from the public website (and MeFi Gold users can still see it), not from the archive.
posted by Eideteker at 2:34 PM on December 5, 2012


As others have said, the "why not" of this is that the answers to your questions are a public resource meant for everyone on the web.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:40 PM on December 5, 2012


If you're ever on Potomac Avenue, be sure and do doughnuts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:02 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


....because Metafilter is forever.
posted by The Whelk at 3:03 PM on December 5, 2012


*cue James Bond as seen through a gun barrel*
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:05 PM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you die in Metafilter, you die in real life.
posted by maryr at 3:13 PM on December 5, 2012 [23 favorites]


Errr, at least how it's supposed to work.
posted by maryr at 3:14 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


They forgot to close my account after I died, and I've been a zombie ever since.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:16 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The secret to eternal life is on Metafilter...
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:26 PM on December 5, 2012


The secret to eternal life is on Metafilter...

Uh, I'm feeling a little pressure here.
posted by Meta Filter at 3:35 PM on December 5, 2012 [11 favorites]


My guess is that daveg02 is just wondering, and that there's no particular question that he wants to erase or to get his name off.

Also, I'd like for Metafilter to stay around forever, if only in archived form.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:50 PM on December 5, 2012


Grar expires. Snark is forever.
posted by Splunge at 3:54 PM on December 5, 2012


If you're ever on Potomac Avenue, be sure and do doughnuts.

BAAAAAAAAAAAHRGRAHARHAGHARAHRGHARWUBBLEWUBBLEWUBBBLEHEEEHEHRRRRR!
posted by davejay at 4:08 PM on December 5, 2012


Oh, wait, I thought you said "go nuts."
posted by davejay at 4:08 PM on December 5, 2012


Legacy. Besides your children, you will leave the world your deathless prose, your intimate thoughts, your revealing AskMe questions, and a generous portion of snark. MetaFilter will be your online tombstone.
posted by Cranberry at 4:10 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


onto a finely milled obsidian disc

Except obsidian is brittle and this is a terrible idea. I am beginning to think these "archives" do not exist at all!
posted by curious nu at 4:20 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The background radiation of the universe? It's actually an archive of the last universe's ask questions, if you know how to read it.*

* The Yaqui know how.
posted by maxwelton at 4:54 PM on December 5, 2012


Can I add questions to my history that I should have asked?
posted by mullacc at 5:01 PM on December 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


Since we're contacts, I've already done that for you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:04 PM on December 5, 2012


Nothing you put on the internet can ever be deleted. Nothing. Ever.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:05 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


ETAFIL

Nothing besides remains. Round the decay,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:06 PM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Looks like it's time to drag this classic post out again to put things into proper perspective for daveg02.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:35 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The secret to eternal life is on Metafilter...

Dear AskMe: Should I eat this, Peaches of Eternal Youth edition [special (pretty much divine) snowflake details inside]
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:00 PM on December 5, 2012


Because they are meant to help everyone, not just you.

Then why do they get deleted upon the poster's request?
posted by John Cohen at 6:01 PM on December 5, 2012


AirIntakeFilter: Wrong type of snow? [snowflake details inside]
posted by Talkie Toaster at 6:05 PM on December 5, 2012


Then why do they get deleted upon the poster's request?

That's not the normal procedure...

if there is a specific reason you need a question or two out of your profile, we can discuss whether or not we can make them anonymous

posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:48 PM on December 5
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:11 PM on December 5, 2012


Poster's Request deletions do happen but usually only to active, recently-asked questions. I don't think the mods delete older questions. I am not sure where the cutoff is. Also, the mods don't take Poster's Request deletions lightly and a request for deletion is not guaranteed to be granted.
posted by Scientist at 6:22 PM on December 5, 2012


It's Raining Florence Henderson: "They forgot to close my account after I died, and I've been a zombie ever since."

I'm a zombie and so's my wife!
posted by arcticseal at 6:37 PM on December 5, 2012


Nothing you put on the internet can ever be deleted. Nothing. Ever.

Then what happened to my vox.com blog?
posted by brina at 6:44 PM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Then what happened to my vox.com blog?

Is that a serious question? If so, Archive.org made an attempt to preserve a copy of vox.com after its closure was announced. Someone knowledgeable about the IA crawl format might be able extract your blog from that archive.
posted by RichardP at 7:02 PM on December 5, 2012


Then why do they get deleted upon the poster's request?

The general principle is that the questions are for everyone. However, in special circumstances the questions are made anonymous because the mods decide that the interests of the poster outweigh the general interest of tying the question to a persistent username. This seems pretty simple and straightforward.
posted by Falconetti at 8:28 PM on December 5, 2012


Then why do they get deleted upon the poster's request?

Because people make mistakes and it's not our job to punish people just to help them use the site better for the benefit of themselves and their fellow MeFites. So we'll axe something by poster's request once, sometimes. After that people basically need to learn how the whole thing works and/or talk to us if they have some seriously extenuating circumstances. What we want is for people to not treat AskMe like it's a place you can ask a question but then delete it once you get your answers. Not everyone knows and understands that so we try to be flexible. We're in the process of trying to make the "Ask a question" page a little clearer about some of this because for many people it's the first place they make a post on the site that isn't just a comment.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:25 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's not our job to punish people

Now I'm really glad I didn't apply to be a mod.
posted by rtha at 9:44 PM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


....because Metafilter is forever.

for-ev-er
posted by clearly at 11:24 PM on December 5, 2012


"Then what happened to my vox.com blog?"

It's now typepad.

"If you're ever on Potomac Avenue, be sure and do doughnuts."

He also likes to be motorboated.
posted by Eideteker at 2:48 AM on December 6, 2012


You're thinking of Fascination Street. I'm pretty straight.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:56 AM on December 6, 2012


Except obsidian is brittle and this is a terrible idea. I am beginning to think these "archives" do not exist at all!

Tools made of Melian obsidian also found on Crete (Knossos) and on Cyprus, substantiate the existence of sea routes in the Aegean from the Early till the Final Neolithic (6800-3200 BC).

I'm not saying Metafilter has existed for at least 5000 years (originally ΜΕΤΑΦΙΛΤΡΟΝ - the first post, inspired by Egypt, was "one of the strangest things I've seen in some time. I have no idea how these people got their cats mummified into their pyramids, or why". Posts about cute Minoan-bull frescos were a great hit and that's the origin of the expression "jumped the bull". Jumping the bull indicated popularity combined with a numinous sense, but imitation in the form of jumping the shark was frowned upon.

ΜΕΤΑΦΙΛΤΡΟΝ is broadly credited with popularising ideas such as the cosmic wheel -originally The Wheel, an expression of the random nature of misfortune and punishment. LOL was the latin transliteration of ΛΩΛ, an abbreviation of ΛΩΛΟΣ, meaning crazy, which was a popular comment in Metafilter in the record-breaking thread on Aristotle's On Comedy. There is scarce evidence on whether crazy had a negative or a negative meaning, which is reflected in the current neutral use of the interjection. LOL.

ΜΕΤΑΦΙΛΤΡΟΝ slides into obscurity after the destruction of the library of Alexandria, probably between 25 BC and the 2nd or 3rd century AD. After fanfic about a minor Jewish prophet spread like wildfire throughout the Roman empire, the old texts were not resupplied by decision of the Cabal. A successor under the Latin name of Metafilter can be found in select centres of knowledge including Rome, Baghdad, Constantinople, Florence, Canterbury, Paris, London, Philadelphia. Finally, secrecy is lifted and Metafilter goes online from Portland with its first online post furtively referencing that first post about Egyptian cats. Cats have remained popular on Metafilter for thousands of years with special love shown during the years of the Black Death and recent times when people can video their cats. Member ldavinci had famously claimed that the smile of Mona Lisa looked funny because he was trying to capture his cat's expression. The cat was named Lorenzo Meow III, il Magnifico.)

I'm not saying Metafilter hasn't existed for 5000 years either.
posted by ersatz at 8:13 AM on December 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Aristotle on blogs.
posted by languagehat at 9:02 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's also worth noting that AskMe gets mirrored (or at least, it used to) on lots of dumb content-farm-type websites, so even if it's anonymized on-site it may still be google-able.
posted by Phire at 9:09 AM on December 6, 2012


Think of every post as a kitten. Now you wouldn't steal a car would you? So why are you downloading the internets?

p.s Cancel the googles.

In conclusion the internet is a study in contrasts.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:03 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


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