Thread deleted, missing or imagined? May 21, 2008 12:17 AM   Subscribe

Yesterday there was a thread about by someone suspecting an apartment scam, it seemed to be a reasonable question but this morning it seems to be gone?

Did I dream this thread or was it deleted?
posted by missmagenta to Etiquette/Policy at 12:17 AM (42 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

You didn't dream the thread, unless I had the same dream.

Also, mathowie had the same dream, but he thought it was a nightmare, apparently.
posted by dersins at 12:29 AM on May 21, 2008


OMG pb is anonymous!
posted by dersins at 12:31 AM on May 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


missmagenta, do you use the awesome plutor script? it doesn't work perfectly, at all much, in AskMe, but it's great for hunting down a deleted post.
posted by dawson at 12:41 AM on May 21, 2008


yeah, we removed that post at the request of the poster, and starting in the next day or two, you should see the deleted threads script start working more correctly in Ask MeFi.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:52 AM on May 21, 2008


He didn't like the answers, I guess.
posted by loiseau at 12:54 AM on May 21, 2008


See what happens when you sleep?

Cheers.
posted by missmagenta at 1:05 AM on May 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


and starting in the next day or two, you should see the deleted threads script start working more correctly in Ask MeFi
very, very cool.
posted by dawson at 1:57 AM on May 21, 2008


yeah, we removed that post at the request of the poster, and starting in the next day or two, you should see the deleted threads script start working more correctly in Ask MeFi.

No horse in the race here, but if someone requests that one of their questions be removed (presumably for privacy reasons or something of the kind), but it's not really removed because you can just install a script that will show it again, isn't that kind of, well, bad?

I guess it's always been this way on AskMe, but it just struck me that even if the absent threads deny search engine bot access, they're still there, and could be still be used for whatever nefarious purposes the original poster was worried about when they reconsidered and asked for deletion...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:10 AM on May 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Good point, stavros. I think of the "removed at poster's request" as a courtesy, and I think that in many cases it's fair for it to not be totally removed. After all, the poster caused others to put their efforts in answering the question, and they certainly didn't request the deletion. Perhaps this should be made clear in the FAQ.

That said, in cases where the post can cause imminent harm to the poster, and many of the answerers are saying "get this question deleted," I think it should be removed entirely. An example would be a recent question where someone admitted to a crime.

That's the difference in my mind: imminent harm versus potential future embarrassment at the hands of cyberstalkers.
posted by grouse at 3:13 AM on May 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think usually when a question is later considered to be revealing or private the request is for it to be made anonymous because the question is still something they want answered but preferably they don't want it linked to their account.

I can't imagine any reason why a poster would want a thread deleted but still linked to their account. In this case I have no idea why the poster wanted it deleted (other than they didn't like the answers they were getting), theres nothing particularly private/embarrassing/illegal in the question.
posted by missmagenta at 4:51 AM on May 21, 2008


We do have a nuclear option for truly messed up posts, yeah, but most of the time just closing the thread and removing it from Google view suits most purposes. We've seen a rash of questions where the OP requested they be closed and we may need to look a little more closely on what our policy is regarding that. Also, yeah, changing the way anonymous AskMes work will make the "show deleted" script better and we'll have to think about what to do about these questions surfacing elsewhere since threads deleted at the poster's request (like the one grouse mentions, though we got to it before the OP did) are a different animal than questions removed by mods for whatever reason.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:53 AM on May 21, 2008


Regardless of whether MeFi continues to serve the page, you can't "delete" things from the Web. I mean, there's an RSS feed, right? RSS entries are cached all over the planet -- that's what RSS is for. When you post something to a public website, you have no control over who indexes or caches it, or what they do with it.

To even promise that you'll "delete" something from the Web is disingenuous. It can't be done.
posted by sdodd at 6:07 AM on May 21, 2008


If you want an ask post deleted we'll just add it to metatalk.
posted by jouke at 6:26 AM on May 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


Thread deleted, missing or imagined?

All of the above, no doubt.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:53 AM on May 21, 2008


Thanks for the speculation, loiseau, but actually everything worked out just fine and I didn't think there was any point in continuing the thread at that point. The post was made in haste and I didn't think it served much of a purpose after the situation was resolved.
posted by baphomet at 7:25 AM on May 21, 2008


Well, that doesn't seem like a great reason to have an entire thread deleted. Do mattamynvacatex not require any justification at all, or can I just get a question answered and then deleted?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:44 AM on May 21, 2008


Yeah. I have to agree. I don't think threads should deleted when the "situation" is resolved. Can I get the mods to delete all the crap I've regreted posting over the years?
posted by Ragma at 8:14 AM on May 21, 2008


everything worked out just fine and I didn't think there was any point in continuing the thread at that point. The post was made in haste and I didn't think it served much of a purpose after the situation was resolved.

So there's nothing illegal, embarrassing, or potentially privacy-violating in your post and the situation was resolved to your satisfaction, butyou just wanted it deleted because... uh... well, for no reason? You do see how that's kind of fucked up and weird, right?
posted by dersins at 8:18 AM on May 21, 2008


I'm not especially interested in being drawn into this conversation and refuse to do so. I requested deletion and my request was granted. I would have been fine with it if it hadn't been deleted, but my reasons for requesting the deletion are personal and will remain so. At this point your concerns are procedural and have nothing to do with me, so you can kindly leave me out of it.
posted by baphomet at 8:35 AM on May 21, 2008


So there's nothing illegal, embarrassing, or potentially privacy-violating in your post and the situation was resolved to your satisfaction, butyou just wanted it deleted because... uh... well, for no reason?

Yes, he wanted it deleted. So they deleted it. That's fine. I think people think of AskMe threads as entertainment vis-a-vis MeFi threads. While AskMe can often be entertaining, I think honoring posters' requests for deletion should trump other reasons for keeping them around. It's supposed to be a site that helps people, after all.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:52 AM on May 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


At this point your concerns are procedural and have nothing to do with me, so you can kindly leave me out of it.

TAG NO BACKSIES
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:54 AM on May 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


At this point your concerns are procedural and have nothing to do with me, so you can kindly leave me out of it.

You brought yourself into this discussion. Now you would like yourself removed from the discussion. This is sounding familiar....
posted by dersins at 9:07 AM on May 21, 2008


Don't be a dick to the guy.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:11 AM on May 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah I'm failing to see how having a question removed is anyone's business really. I enjoy AskMe and if everyone wanted deletion after they received an answer things would suck, but most people aren't going to do that. Um, right?
posted by dawson at 9:18 AM on May 21, 2008


Do mattamynvacatex not require any justification at all, or can I just get a question answered and then deleted?

I read the justification as slightly more... justified when we agreed to it this time around, but "I made a mistake posting that question" is generally an okay reason for a very occasional thing.

This is something we'll tighten up policy on somewhat I suspect. AskMe is, generally speaking, not for asking a "temporary" question and this will be our approach going forward. People shouldn't expect that they can ask a question and later take it down, but there are rare cases in which we'll do that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:21 AM on May 21, 2008


Yes, he wanted it deleted. So they deleted it. That's fine. I think people think of AskMe threads as entertainment vis-a-vis MeFi threads. While AskMe can often be entertaining, I think honoring posters' requests for deletion should trump other reasons for keeping them around. It's supposed to be a site that helps people, after all.

It's also supposed to be an archive of helpful stuff that might help other people without them even having to ask the question. I don't think people want it left up for "entertainment" purposes, but people spent some time answering the question. I'm not sure if there's a point at which people won't bother answering if they imagine there's a chance the question will be removed, but if there is that's not exactly good for AskMe either.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:23 AM on May 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


Systemic vs. incidental is the thing here. As Jess says, maybe firming up the front-end policy a bit in the FAQs is called for, but an ask-and-regret sort of situation is at this point a rarity, not a daily thing. Anybody asking us to systematically or casually remove questions Just Cuz is going to get a lot more pushback than someone who on one occasion had reason to want to have their question deleted after the fact.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:09 AM on May 21, 2008


Instead of deleting the question, you could move it over to projects, because nobody ever reads those.

I keed, I keed! I read them, honest!
posted by misha at 10:32 AM on May 21, 2008


So, uh, was it a scam? Is it something I should be watching out for as I apartment hunt?
posted by inigo2 at 10:43 AM on May 21, 2008


YOU'LL NEVER KNOW!
posted by dersins at 10:53 AM on May 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's too bad it was deleted, for what seems to be a not-great reason ("it was resolved"), since there was a good amount of information there that would be useful for others who find themselves in the same boat.
posted by rtha at 11:41 AM on May 21, 2008


Clearly what has been resolved is that all MeTas should be posted in uptalk?
posted by team lowkey at 11:50 AM on May 21, 2008


starting in the next day or two, you should see the deleted threads script start working more correctly in Ask MeFi.

Hm, I wonder if I should start adding deleted ask mefi threads to the blog then. Or maybe start another separate blog for them or something. The safe bet might be to not mess with them at all, I dunno.
posted by puke & cry at 11:55 AM on May 21, 2008


The safe bet might be to not mess with them at all, I dunno.

Can't you just omit the ones that were removed at the asker's request?
posted by necessitas at 12:34 PM on May 21, 2008


Can you please remove every comment of mine that didn't get a favorite, every question that makes me seem like an uninformed idiot (ie, all of them), and anything else that makes me seem less handsome than I actually am?
posted by maxwelton at 1:41 PM on May 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Reading the apartment question, it seems pretty obvious baphomet posted it in haste, and that missmagenta's final answer nails the situation nicely:

The current tenant has asked for an extension to their current lease, the landlord has asked you if thats ok/possible, you said no, he said he'll call the tenant when she gets back from work.

I certainly don't see anything that warrants a threatening email, you haven't even given him time to call the current tenant. Theres been no indication that if he can't work something out with the current tenant he's going to keep your money.


It's understandable that baphomet might have been a bit embarrassed after realizing that missmagenta was right, thus his "personal" reason for asking that the thread be deleted. I guess it's legit to ask whether that was a good enough reason to, um, dishonor the time put in by the folks who answered, but in the end a general rule like "If a poster realizes the question is embarrassing, let's go ahead and delete it for them" probably does more good than harm.
posted by mediareport at 3:54 PM on May 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Perhaps making a question anonymous at a poster's request instead of deleting it is a good compromise? I guess that doesn't address the "too much personal info" deletions, though.
posted by danb at 7:29 PM on May 21, 2008


This is something we'll tighten up policy on somewhat I suspect. AskMe is, generally speaking, not for asking a "temporary" question and this will be our approach going forward
Good news, that. I'm pretty sure this has been on the increase lately, based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever.
posted by dg at 1:55 AM on May 22, 2008


based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever.

It's definitely been showing up as an issue in MeTa more, that's some sort of evidence.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:29 AM on May 22, 2008


Yeah, that's what I felt was happening, but I had no actual data to back it up. In MeTa (as it is in SCIENCE!), feelings != evidence. Good to see my feeling backed up, though.
posted by dg at 4:29 PM on May 22, 2008


I agree it would have been "better" to simply mark it as answered and close the thread. Deletion seemed unnecessary.

Further, deletion caused (obviously) speculation whereas a simple "The situation has been resolved. Thank you all for your help" would have just ended the thread and everyone moved on.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:40 AM on May 23, 2008


There is no "close the thread" feature in AskMe. We'd have to build a whole new feature to make that possible and it would just be for an edge case scenario that rarely happens. This was fine, not optimal but fine. We'd like it to not happen often.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:28 AM on May 23, 2008


« Older User tags question   |   Push it. Push it real good. Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments