hidden deleted stuff April 6, 2006 11:49 AM   Subscribe

"Matt could simply change the font color to match the background color of the page, so if you wanted to read [a deleted comment] you'd have to highlight it, like spoilers on a movie review page. That would be awesome." This is an idea so good, it gets its own thread.
posted by Saucy Intruder to Feature Requests at 11:49 AM (79 comments total)

Eh.....lets not and say we did.
posted by wheelieman at 11:54 AM on April 6, 2006


I mean, how would that be helpful? It wastes bandwith.
posted by wheelieman at 11:55 AM on April 6, 2006


What, then, would be the point of deleting comments? People will still respond to the "deleted" comment.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:01 PM on April 6, 2006


What? The scarlet D doesn't get its own thread?

And while I don't know that I actually support the implementation of this idea, I bet that people would respond less to the emblankened comment out of sheer laziness. And one thing remains true in design: if you can harness the power of the user's laziness, you are in damned good shape.
posted by cortex at 12:06 PM on April 6, 2006


What part of "deleted" are you not understanding?

A few people want to have some voyeuristic wankerage over things that are deemed not appropriate here. Tough for them. Rather thn trying to construct some weird pseudo-deleted, how about if we just learn to move on?
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:07 PM on April 6, 2006


Also, the non-borked link for those not already obsessively reading the original thread.
posted by cortex at 12:08 PM on April 6, 2006


I'd prefer a "page where you can see all the deleted posts but not in context," a la Wikipedia.
posted by rxrfrx at 12:14 PM on April 6, 2006


oh crap, did I screw up the link?
I need a nap.
*sigh*
Administrator, please hope me.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 12:14 PM on April 6, 2006


Why would we want to do this? Also, what f_m said.
posted by Gator at 12:22 PM on April 6, 2006


I like when we open threads to request features that we're all absolutely certain will never, ever be adopted.
posted by cribcage at 12:24 PM on April 6, 2006


hoped.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:24 PM on April 6, 2006


I'd prefer a "page where you can see all the deleted posts but not in context," a la Wikipedia.
posted by rxrfrx at 3:14 PM EST on April 6 [!]

I presented (kind of) this idea a while back, but it did not go over too well. It could have been the cheeky way I phrased my suggestion though.
posted by ND¢ at 12:26 PM on April 6, 2006


I think that a deleted comment should be and stay deleted. I have as many prurient interests as the next guy, but it's good when they're frustrated every once in a while.
posted by OmieWise at 12:27 PM on April 6, 2006


Look, I mean, I know this specific idea was awkward, but there continues to be a sharp division between the censor-things-that-break-the-rules crowd and the free-speech-4eva crowd. There needs to be compromise somewhere. Why would you law & order peeps complain if deleted comments were available somewhere but you never had to look at them?
posted by Saucy Intruder at 12:28 PM on April 6, 2006


NDcent, your cheeky suggestion was worth it for Mathowie's deadpan/surly response.
posted by rxrfrx at 12:28 PM on April 6, 2006


Yeah he smacked me down big time.
posted by ND¢ at 12:29 PM on April 6, 2006


A few people want to have some voyeuristic wankerage over things that are deemed not appropriate here. Tough for them.

Nice.

I just want to read what's been said. That is after all what these pages are all about, right? Words, communication, and so on.

If things were handled as there are with, say, a newspaper - wherein certain words are left out but still clear (ie. the PM told MPs to "f*** off") - then the offensive content is absent, but its absence does not result in the sort of wholesale 'Bermuda Triangle effect' of certain threads here wherein people argue or make reference with and to points that no longer exist.

If comments have to go, so be it. But most of us here are adults and I cannot for the life of me understand why there isn't some provision for people who actively seek out the deleted comments.

If the intent is a sort of slight of hand whereby we're all supposed to pretend a posted comment which got deleted never existed in the first place...well, that seems pretty absurd to me.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:31 PM on April 6, 2006


14 comments in and the "OMG cenxxorship" is invoked.

Saucy, comments are most often deleted so that people won't be able to see and respond to them (and bookmark them and drag them into future flamefests). This is a good thing.
posted by Gator at 12:33 PM on April 6, 2006


I agree with Gator. Comments mostly get deleted when they break threads. If people can continue to read them they'll continue to respond and the threads will continue to be derailed.
posted by OmieWise at 12:35 PM on April 6, 2006


Why would you law & order peeps complain if deleted comments were available somewhere but you never had to look at them?

To answer this specific issue, I'd complain because I would, inevitably, have to look at them because certain people wouldn't be able to resist dragging them out and commenting on them.
posted by Gator at 12:36 PM on April 6, 2006


it's almost Easter. maybe dead comments will resurrect
posted by matteo at 12:36 PM on April 6, 2006


I don't care much either way about deleted comments, but I'm almost embarassed by how much I like the digg comment system... we could really use some burying around here. I consider it a functional equivalent of "flag it and move on".
posted by prostyle at 12:37 PM on April 6, 2006


I cannot for the life of me understand why there isn't some provision for people who actively seek out the deleted comments.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:38 PM on April 6, 2006


What Gator said—the strongest argument for deletion is that the site benefits from the comments disappearing. It doesn't really solve the problem to take comments and put them somewhere else if the more dedicated folks will go to that place, see them, and then reference them on the open channel anyway.
posted by cortex at 12:40 PM on April 6, 2006


Dead comments could go to a separate section titled--wait for it--ZombieFilter.

Or not. As Omie said, if deleted comments can still be read, folks will reply, and the derail will continue.
posted by LarryC at 12:42 PM on April 6, 2006


I don't know why you think you're missing them. It seems like every deleted comment gets its own MeTa thread here afterwards.
posted by Gamblor at 12:52 PM on April 6, 2006


I'd just like to point out that I was being completely facetious with that comment.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:52 PM on April 6, 2006


I like when we open threads to request features that we're all absolutely certain will never, ever be adopted.

(Shhh. It gives the kids the illusion that all this this really amounts to anything. Keeps em off the streets, yknow.)
posted by crunchland at 12:52 PM on April 6, 2006


I cannot for the life of me understand why people actively seek out the deleted comments.

Well, at the risk of repeating myself, it's because I want to understand and follow the conversation. Maybe you've gotten lucky, but if I had a dime for every thread I read that had these sinkholes where whole chunks of discussion get flushed, I'd have a whole ot of dimes. Pick a big thread at random, and just imagine every fifth comment being absent. Wouldn't that be frustrating to follow? Wouldn't that annoy you?

Look, I've been around for awhile and I realise that this is a bit of a dead horse. But just because something has been noted ad infinitum as being erksome does not mean it thereby ceases to be so.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:59 PM on April 6, 2006


Besides, if someone asks in-thread, "oh, what did so-and-so say that got nixed?", someone else'll usually paste the offending comment, paraphrase it, or 'creatively interpret' it. So - again - I don't see how deleting it makes it magically disappear from everyone's brain.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:01 PM on April 6, 2006


there continues to be a sharp division between the censor-things-that-break-the-rules crowd and the free-speech-4eva crowd. There needs to be compromise somewhere.

There is. What we have now is actually mostly a compromise between those two sides. Entire threads that are removed (from MeFi and AskMe) remain visible though somewhat "buried" and deleted comments disappear, though I think maybe mathowie can still see them.

If you have problems with the guidelines that lead to comment deletion, this might be a good time to talk about them, but having (a few, very few) guideline-breaking comments go away is currently part of the MO of the site and is the balance between some people that would like every rude statement excised and the freespeech4evah crowd.

It may be that comment deletion is happening much more in MeFi than it had previously, but in AskMe there is rarely any conversation going on around one-off wisecrack comments so the effect stinkycheese is talking about is not one I am familiar with happening more than maybe once every few weeks or so.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:05 PM on April 6, 2006


I want to understand and follow the conversation.

If trolling and other shitty comments remain undeleted -- as in, still readable through whatever means, therefore still up for people to refer to and respond to -- then the conversations will be increasingly difficult to follow and unpleasant to read. Is that what you would prefer?

I don't see how deleting it makes it magically disappear from everyone's brain.

No one thinks that deleting comments results in a completely sitewide "out of sight, out of mind," but if the record of the offending comment is gone, it's harder to continue a derail and harder to bring up again and again when the "evidence" is gone.

Cleaning up shit may still leave shitty odors for a while, but as long as the shit is removed, people are less likely to keep talking about the shit as if it was still there fouling up the room.
posted by Gator at 1:06 PM on April 6, 2006


...just imagine every fifth comment being absent. Wouldn't that be frustrating to follow? Wouldn't that annoy you?

Well, if you've got dios (insert polarizing character here) pp greased you see this all the time. That's when you just walk away... or chortle as you see the same sentence quoted and responded to by three dozen seperate users in the span of five minutes. It's like watching a defunct group of superheroes get their asses kicked by an invisible villain circa 60's Batman. Bam! Zap! Oof!
posted by prostyle at 1:11 PM on April 6, 2006


Well, I've said what I wanted to say. I don't agree that conversations are easier to follow when 'shitty comments' (this is of course subjective) are deleted, but then I used to add every "uh" and "yeah" when I transcribed interviews for my zine, so perhaps I am overzealous in my pursuit of recorded conversation.

To strain the metaphor, if I enter a spotless room and a crowd of people start in with the "whoa, you wouldn't believe how messed up this place was an hour ago!", I admit, yes: I want to see that mess. If not the mess itself, then a photo of the mess, or an artists' rendition or something...
posted by stinkycheese at 1:16 PM on April 6, 2006


Actually dios, none of them. This was an honest post that I thought held links to interesting and valuable information. I did a search here and found no previous posts regarding the topic covered and, since I thought it noteworthy, posted it.
posted by Gamblor at 1:21 PM on April 6, 2006


Assuming that deleted replies are deleted for a reason -- that they're assumably too offensive or too noisy to remain -- there's absolutely no valid reason to keep them around in any form. That we keep deleted front page posts available for viewing is more a malfunction of the low-fi version of the front page, and not really a justification for why the rest of the deleted items throughout the site should be accessible.

However, if they were retained, I think the way they handle messages below the viewing threshold on the conversations over on Digg would be a good way to handle them, not to mention the whole ajaxy, web 2.0 cachet it would bring to this site.
posted by crunchland at 1:32 PM on April 6, 2006


lol emblankened
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:46 PM on April 6, 2006


The gaps can be confusing, right? I don't need to see all the deleted comments (just like I don't stop and rubberneck at traffic accidents), but it would be nice if there was a little [comment deleted] marker to explain the non sequiturs.
posted by Gamblor at 1:53 PM on April 6, 2006


Of course, you can figure out that there was a comment deleted because of the confusion, so you don't need a marker at all. Voila!
posted by smackfu at 2:09 PM on April 6, 2006


Bad, bad, bad idea... We need less shitty comments, not obfuscated shitty comments.
posted by SweetJesus at 2:32 PM on April 6, 2006


posted by Gamblor it would be nice if there was a little [comment deleted] marker to explain the non sequiturs.

If every deleted comment had a [comment deleted], then everyone would demand to see the deleted comment(s), and we'd be back to the question of why comments are deleted in the first place. The reason the comments are removed is to prevent any more disruptions.

Besides, Matt/Jessamyn already post a little "some comments deleted, please try to stay on topic" remark when comments have been removed.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:34 PM on April 6, 2006


Do we want posts deleted because we really, truly, don't want to see them or because we want to somehow punish the poster?
posted by klarck at 2:39 PM on April 6, 2006


One reason this suggestion would suck is that if a particularly long comment were deleted, those of us who didn't particularly care to read the deleted comments would have to scroll through a few blank screens to get to the rest of the thread. People intent on disrupting the flow of conversation would probably delight in posting such comments.

Admittedly, that's just a visual gap, while reading responses to deleted comments creates a gap of a different kind. In an ideal world, people wouldn't bother responding to comments that are obviously destined to be deleted, and we wouldn't have to worry about either type of gap.
posted by Acetylene at 2:45 PM on April 6, 2006


I'm with jessamyn: What we have is the compromise. In my ideal MetaFworld, all the noise would be mightily wacked. In (from what I understand) ryvar's MetaFworld, all comments would remain. What we have now is that some is wacked, and some remains.
posted by Bugbread at 2:50 PM on April 6, 2006


What we need is a [comment deleted] tag with a link to the thread with the deleted comment intact and in context, as well as an explanation by Jessamat as to why the comment was deleted next to a voting button that will allow you to vote on whether or not the deletion was valid coupled with a button that will automatically post the deleted comment as a MetaTalk thread for more navel gazing.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:51 PM on April 6, 2006


smackfu writes "Of course, you can figure out that there was a comment deleted because of the confusion, so you don't need a marker at all."

Yes and no. Some people are just Dadaist. So sometimes you sit there staring at a comment thinking "Is this person being surreal, or is something missing?" Personally, that doesn't bother me.

klarck writes "Do we want posts deleted because we really, truly, don't want to see them or because we want to somehow punish the poster?"

Neither one, I think. We want posts (or comments) deleted so that they don't bring about more likewise posts/comments. So, in a way, "we" (ok, me, and probably at least one other person) want them deleted because we really, truly, don't want to see many, many more like them.
posted by Bugbread at 2:54 PM on April 6, 2006


Neither. As Gator said:

"No one thinks that deleting comments results in a completely sitewide "out of sight, out of mind," but if the record of the offending comment is gone, it's harder to continue a derail and harder to bring up again and again when the "evidence" is gone.

Cleaning up shit may still leave shitty odors for a while, but as long as the shit is removed, people are less likely to keep talking about the shit as if it was still there fouling up the room."


To put it another way: After the shit is cleaned up, new folks may walk in the room, sniff questioningly, and ask, "I smell shit. Did someone shit in here?" And other folks say, "Yes, there was shit. But it's been cleaned up."

So there isn't a reason for everyone to see and smell the shit before it's cleaned up. Those of us who were here already saw and smelled it, and we're glad it's gone. Trust us, it stunk.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:55 PM on April 6, 2006


Next idea: replace deleted comments with [comment deleted] text wrapped in a link. The link, when clicked, fires of a request to a script on the server. The script lodges a record that user Foo requested access to deleted comment Bar.

Three days later, the another script fires off an email to user Foo—if and only if Foo has provided one in their profile—with the contents of the deleted comment but not the identifying info.

This simple, straightforward system has the following advantages:
  • the prurient and/or voyeuristic desires of the requesting user are satisfied
  • the time-delay prevents any timely, derailing responses to the comment
  • the removal of thread-identifying info prevents any easy connection to the originating thread
  • the removal of commentor-identifying info prevents any cult-of-personality or King-of-Shitpile reputation feedback
  • by restricting this functionality to logged-in users, mefi's dirty laundry is kept in the family
There is only one notable disadvantage to this scheme:
  • you've got to be fucking kidding me.
posted by cortex at 2:55 PM on April 6, 2006


It would still show up in text mode browsers, as well those for sight-impaired users.
posted by cellphone at 4:24 PM on April 6, 2006


Probably in lofi too.
posted by graventy at 4:29 PM on April 6, 2006


What happened to the idea of having a talk page for every post? A very interesting idea that I was never in love with, but is certainly worth a try all else being equal.

I thought talk pages where going ahead for sure.. One can imagine that dumping offending comments to the talk page would act very much like this requested feature - semi-deletion, or whatever.
posted by Chuckles at 4:32 PM on April 6, 2006


If every deleted comment had a [comment deleted], then everyone would demand to see the deleted comment(s), and we'd be back to the question of why comments are deleted in the first place.

That's not a bad thing. It lets people see just how many comments are being deleted, and hence forces the admins to be responsible and accountable. It also makes it clear which users are having the most comments deleted, revealing, hopefully, both the arseholes and the martyrs.
posted by Jimbob at 5:17 PM on April 6, 2006


Why not obfuscate deleted comments the same way deleted threads are now? It seems to work all right. Don't do anything in the thread itself to show that a deletion happened, but if you enter the url of the comment directly, you can see the comment by itself and the reason for deletion. It doesn't adversely impact the thread, but the those who truly want to track it down can see what it said. And it maintains link continuity for the callouts.

Having a page that shows all the deleted comments just gives the offenders an outlet. They know that even if their comment is deleted, people are still going to read. Maybe more people, since people don't visit every thread, but the deleted comments page would be a simple way to see where the action is.
posted by team lowkey at 5:44 PM on April 6, 2006


How do you achieve eternal bliss? By saying dada. How do you become famous? By saying dada. With noble attitude and fine deportment. Until you go crazy, until you pass out. How can you get rid of everything infernalish and journalish, everything nice and neat, everything priggish and brutish and foppish? By saying dada. Dada is the world soul, dada is the point, dada is the world's best lily-milk soap. Dada Herr Rubiner, dada Herr Korrodi, dada Herr Anastasius Lilienstein.
posted by languagehat at 5:56 PM on April 6, 2006


Don't do anything in the thread itself to show that a deletion happened, but if you enter the url of the comment directly, you can see the comment by itself and the reason for deletion

I don't believe this is technically possible. Comments are referenced by anchors, they don't really have their own URLs. Unless one were to set up a whole new "list comments by number" function.
posted by Jimbob at 5:58 PM on April 6, 2006


I don't believe this is technically possible. Comments are referenced by anchors...

As it exists, you're right, but it also looks like each comment has a unique ID that the anchor is based on. So grabbing the anchor and redirecting to the deleted comment may be too intrusive to the functioning of the existing pages, but having a page that takes a comment number and displays it would be easy-peasy. I don't know how the tables are set up, so it might not be as easy to show what thread the comment was made in.
posted by team lowkey at 6:14 PM on April 6, 2006


replace deleted comments with [comment deleted] text wrapped in a link...

How about we just replace the deleted comment with a picture of a pissing elephant?
posted by Gamblor at 7:31 PM on April 6, 2006


forget it.
nobody's going to hilight chunks of blank page.

if this joke doesn't work i'm going to look really dumb.
actually, it's a dumb joke regardless.

posted by chococat at 8:29 PM on April 6, 2006


looks like i'm dumb. it worked in preview.
posted by chococat at 8:31 PM on April 6, 2006


Live Preview is the devil. THE DEVIL.
posted by cortex at 8:42 PM on April 6, 2006


bugbread just wanted to clarify. You said: In (from what I understand) ryvar's MetaFworld, all comments would remain.

No. Ryvar's pretty damn happy with the site as it stands right now. A few tags back would be nice but I don't really care. A few less comment deletions is always appreciated but I like the feel of the site right now. Balance has, in my mind, been achieved.

I am very happy with the site right now, which is why I'm doing more of the suggesting changes and less of the crusading.
posted by Ryvar at 10:04 PM on April 6, 2006


Oh, topic at hand: I actually think deleted comments should stay deleted. jessamyn pretty much said what I would, except that I feel like comment deletions aren't up on MeFi. To be honest, I feel like we're in the goddamn Silver Age of Metafilter.
posted by Ryvar at 10:09 PM on April 6, 2006




On topic, I don't think having little [comment deleted]'s is a bad idea.
posted by Stauf at 10:49 PM on April 6, 2006


Ryvar,

Thanks. I think I might have been confusing your opinion with someone else's. Sorry about that.
posted by Bugbread at 2:08 AM on April 7, 2006


Why not just do it the other way? Nasty, ad-hominem, baiting, crass, inconsiderate, etc comments can only be posted if the user pre-greys them out. Otherwise you not only have your comment deleted, but your account deleted as well.

This will provide all the jerks their release, while we all know better than to listen to it.
font color="grey">You assholes./font>
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 2:54 AM on April 7, 2006


font color is deprecated, learn CSS you asshole.
posted by quonsar at 4:26 AM on April 7, 2006


Stop the fucking whining before I have to rob a convenience store for cash, get on a plane, fly to where you live, and shoot someone, probably you but possibly your dog.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:44 AM on April 7, 2006


This is MeTarded
posted by ijoshua at 5:58 AM on April 7, 2006


This is my town. Out here you're a trespasser. Out here I can pick you up, burn your home, fuck your wife, and kill your dog. And the only thing that'll protect you is if I can't find you. And I already found you.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:30 AM on April 7, 2006


The system is good as it exists. Shut up.
posted by klangklangston at 6:36 AM on April 7, 2006


I think I might have been confusing your opinion with someone else's.

Nah. A year ago that WAS my opinion. I'm really enjoying the site right now and I feel like the admins have the balance set near perfect. Either things have changed or I have or (my vote) a little of both.
posted by Ryvar at 7:51 AM on April 7, 2006


When my biographers dig through the archives, they're especially going to want to see my deleted comments.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:19 AM on April 7, 2006


[comment deleted] would be a good thing. And actually delete them into the void. And watch how quickly certain users rack up a [cd] total.
posted by bardic at 10:08 AM on April 7, 2006


"Hey, man, wanna see my [cd] collection?"
posted by Bugbread at 11:09 AM on April 7, 2006


[cd]s NUUUUUUUTS!
posted by rxrfrx at 11:23 AM on April 7, 2006


Despite the protestations of my girlfriend, that joke will never, ever get old, even though at some point "MP3s nuts!" will suffice.
posted by klangklangston at 12:23 PM on April 7, 2006


I think far too many comments are getting deleted, lately.

If too many comments are deleted, this becomes NiceNet, jess and matt become mom and dad, and everything sucks.

I think the only reason comments should ever be deleted is if they are completely obnoxious and targeted and mean spirited, i.e. "XYZ is a fucking squirrel-rapist sumbitch asshole." or if they make no sense, "EO309cs9003r face-smashing on keyboard f29309j0ca;f."
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:51 PM on April 7, 2006


Yeah, because that's an accurate picture of what's going on here. You're evidencing the arrogance of someone who contributes more noise than signal and doesn't see why that's a problem. (And for digs at incoherence, El Pap isn't even close to Tomcatspike.)
posted by klangklangston at 6:55 PM on April 7, 2006


Baby_Balrog writes "If too many comments are deleted, this becomes NiceNet, jess and matt become mom and dad, and everything sucks."

If too many comments are deleted, this becomes maturenet, jess and matt become the hosts of some barbeque, and everything is just fine.

Ok, that's probably overstating the case, but your comment is as well.
posted by Bugbread at 7:48 PM on April 7, 2006


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