It’s archaeology-hostile. It pisses me off to no end when I am searching for information on reddit and come across people replying to deleted posts by some paranoid user who wishes comments were more ephemeral like Snapchat.
This is what the next dark age of mankind will be like, people from the future looking for historical information and finding nothing but deleted or decayed data.
Here’s a tip: if you don’t want something to be up for all time, don’t even bother posting it. Keep it to your self. There are a lot of damning things and incidents that could end people’s careers and reputations that I’ve never posted about because I do not want the permanent liability.
I feel like the art of staying anonymous has been lost on people. It’s not that hard.
We all make mistakes and say things we later regret, sure the content forms part of a bigger picture which should be preserved but shouldn’t we be allowed to tidy up our publicly available historic opinions if they don’t match who we are now?
I’m pretty careful in what I post on social media or on websites, but I’ve definitely said things in the past that I wish I hadn’t, both on and offline, and unless I were a person of significant public interest (such as a politician) I don’t think it’s important for those mistakes to be documented for eternity.
In fact, if you don't want your anonymous account tied to you anymore in any way, sell it off to someone else. I bought this account for $500.
Of course, there are ways to throw some dirt into those gears, like posting fake details or trading/selling accounts every now and then...
And are you saying that the previous owner of the account is the one who didn't want it tied to him anymore, so he sold it to you (and you are therefore providing an anonymizing service to him?).
I wouldn't go that far, though I am generally sympathetic to your overarching argument.
I wouldn't go that far in part because I'm a woman and women seem to attract stalkers a lot more than men. I was a homemaker for a long time and had a very private life. Trying to figure out how to interact effectively in the public sphere has been a struggle for me.
Part of that is me. Part of that is other people. People react differently to a woman than to a man.
So, on the one hand, I needed to figure out what I was simply doing wrong. On the other hand, I needed to figure out how to effectively navigate a situation that can, at times, be actively hostile and dangerous, even if I am not doing anything wrong. Those two things confound each other and I don't know of any good sources of instruction.
This has helped make me very aware that sometimes people get into real trouble and need extraordinary measures to help extract them from the mess.
I think those extraordinary measures should be made available at times. But I also think it should not be the default solution.
I generally agree with you that there are other approaches that we need to be pursuing that are more nuanced and that try to balance different concerns. I think gutting the value of a forum so that people can remove all their content at will on a whim can readily go bad places. I am not crazy about it as a policy/law.
I went through a lot of changes in a short period of time and basically rebooted my entire internet life for various reasons. Some people have noticed I changed handles here and some haven't. To try to clear up any remaining confusion, I recently noted in my other profile that I am now posting under this handle.
Thankfully, there's a really easy solution that HN today will not consider/is not taking seriously enough: Just change the goddamn displayed username for each comment to "<deleted>" or whatever.
1) this kind of (seemingly; it's all a black box in reality though) naval-gazing-based decision making is exactly why the GDPR makes sense. We can't run our lives on the whims of a few random people.
2) Does YCombinator tell us all of this stuff when we sign up to HN? No. We have to find it out by ourselves. When we e-mail them to ask them to delete our contributions, since there's no delete button, they just say "sorry, we can't do that".
This kind of stuff is what the GDPR is good for.
If a US company has no physical presence in Europe I see no reason why they should comply with their bullshit.
And under a Trump administration... good luck.
Do you really think YCombinator has no EU exposure? It's a multi-billion dollar company.
There's your requested blog post. It's been slightly edited from the original (plus a few paragraphs tacked on to the end of it), so you can enjoy reading it a second time to look for the small differences between the blog post and what you remember of the comment.
(I have fixed multiple typos in the past few minutes. If you refresh, it might stop being gibberish.)
FYI, the piece is not a rant.
Also FYI, I am talking about people like you. Your problem cannot be solved by the mods deleting your multiple cross referenced accounts that you complain you want deleted while continuing to make new handles and then voluntarily outing yourself each and every time. It just would create headaches for the mods while feeding your delusion that your behavior is not the issue and does not need to change.
As et-al said in a sister comment, in "ye-olde-internet" pseudonyms and some degree of anonymity was de-facto. When the real-names policies first started coming out, there was real pushback. Nowadays I see much more sentiment towards having some central authorities to protect users, and it worries me as, among other things, a loss of agency and empowerment to protect onesself. (do not read this to say that there are spaces regulation isn't important; but pushing the line too far and normalizing a lack of awareness and ownership over your situation is a real risk if the pendulum swings too far)
Do you feel it is reasonable to ask this of adolescents who might disregard or circumvent measures their parents put in place (if they even have them)? They are not yet aware of what consequences this can have or the magnitude and seriousness of them. They are not mature enough to do so in many cases.
This is what the next dark age of mankind will be like, people from the future looking for historical information and finding nothing but deleted or decayed data
No. It absolutely should be allowed. Sites like the internet archive exist to preserve internet data.
For now. But one day they'll come for those archives too.
Also, even records of mundane communication people had throughout thousands of years in the past is of great value to archaeologists in learning about how people lived their lives and how different events affected them.
Since we live in a time where we have the privilege of rediscovering the past in greater detail than ever, we should have the introspection to be mindful of what we are leaving for our future as well.
Meanwhile, works by Archimedes, Homer and Shakespeare, as well as innumerable other cultural artifacts, have been lost to time. As well as the original tapes of the moon landings. The ancient Sumerians writing their tax records in cuneiform never intended to leave a record for the ages. We still probably wouldn't know how Egyptian hieroglyphics worked if not for one artifact that happened to have it printed alongside known languages - and we still have no clue about Linear A, and many other languages.
What gets left behind as an artifact of the ages tends to be determined by random chance, and beyond that, the cultivating desires of the wealthy. In other words, it almost certainly won't be you or I who decide the value or longevity of our work.
>Since we live in a time where we have the privilege of rediscovering the past in greater detail than ever, we should have the introspection to be mindful of what we are leaving for our future as well.
The web wasn't meant to provide a lasting store of knowledge. It is ephemeral and stateless by design. If you want people to think long term about the collective data archive of humanity, asking everyone to just never delete anything is not going to cut it.
Who owns the data?
Any current archaeologist would give an arm and a leg for a few good reddit/HN threads from ancient Rome.
I'd be fine with just being able to change my user name, or leaving my comments with a "[Deleted]" user name in place of my original like reddit.
Facebook changed everything by encouraging people to match their online accounts to real names, supply photos of themselves, and their family tree. Usernames became actual people. And all of a sudden, anonymity was lost.
And now people want to be forgotten again. I shake my head at the heavy-handed way of mass deleting comments. It’s understandable for Facebook where the person and account are closely tied, but for sites like HN, I hope we keep the shared knowledge, but just scrub out the name.
Recent revelations shed a whole new light on this 'encouragement'.
Still, the comment which provides no other valuable information is retained.
I try to handle my privacy pragmatic, it doesn't have to be as black and white as you suggest here.
It may be insightful for others if you divulge your methods.
You click the link and it will automatically query google, various Whois tools and other lookup services to get a fix on the user, the end result is a nice little one-page mash-up listing all the domains you own, a bunch of recent photographs, your political leanings, your sexual preferences, your last three known addresses, any children you have and where they go to school, your present location on a google maps page (it moves when you do, it's near real-time, maybe a minute or two delayed), your current employer and an estimate of your bank balance and some possible avenues for blackmail.
All this powered by the friendly AI of some HN start-ups that want to show off their technology, and blessed by the Holy Trinity of online surveillance: Peter Thiel, Eric Schmidt and Mark Zuckerberg. This is Hacker News after all.
Then 15 minutes later, this comment appears, with only a slight variation in wording.
I am starting to doubt myself. Eerie.
Apologies if it may have (hopefully only temporarily) contributed even in its removal!
Thanks for trying. I've been noticing more reddit-like comments lately and it's tiring since it worsens the signal:noise ratio here.
Most registrars will now hide your info for an additional fee.
Thx, it's the < 60 second validation method I was fishing for. Turns out it's just AI
Most people should simply use different usernames on different sites.
If you are genuinely concerned about your privacy, publicly complaining that you have been doxxed is one of the worst things you can do. It encourages other people to go looking for that info, check how easy it is to find, etc.
This inclines me to think your reason for complaining is probably something else. And that makes me wonder if the mods declined to do as you asked because the situation is more complicated than you are stating and their decision was more nuanced.
And I am posting my speculation because the mods are unlikely to say something like that. It would be a dick move and just make them look bad. I think they are reasonably up on when to just keep your mouth shut.
I am not religious about it, just pointing out even when someone partially doxes you, HN won't remove the comment.
I have talked to the mods at times about privacy concerns for myself. I'm a woman and I get weirdly personal interest and invasive questions at times. They have been consistently responsive and supportive.
Though I have not as yet ask them to delete anything. I am typically looking for a more nuanced approach to the problem space.
So my experience differs from yours and I know of cases where they have been highly responsive in deleting info, even when it was the poster themselves who doxxed themselves.
I don't intend to argue this further. I'm sorry you're unhappy with the call they made, but your experience does not warrent the sweeping statements you are making about HN policy. It is simply not an accurate picture of HN policy and moderating practices.
You posted anecdata and then followed it with a sweeping conclusion rather than stating "in this specific case, they would not delete it."
I rebutted that with my own anecdata and assertions that your sweeping statements are not accurate.
Like so many people here, I'm pretty pedantic. This is a problem space that interests me.
Also, I frown on character assassination justified by "It's just anecdata, man! Don't get so worked up."
I'm weird like that.
Then you start questioning my motives, throwing your anecdata and accusing me of character assassination.
My original comment just stated a fact. I was polite to the moderators. I did not 'beg' for the dox, the other commenter was a raving lunatic.
You are wanting to have it both ways, to suggest this is policy while claiming you are doing no such thing. I have provided my anecdata that supports the idea that, no, this is not true in all cases.
If you weren't trying to smear them, you could have replied to my rebuttal with something like "I stand corrected. It isn't HN policy, though I am still unhappy with their decision." instead of accusing me of being worked up, which veers into personal attack territory and amounts to a cheap shot intended to undermine my points without actually addressing them.
But I said I didn't plan to argue this further, and would not have had I not felt your cheap shot was seriously out of line. So I intend to stop here.
Edit: And the primary reason I don't intend to argue it further is because this is a personal issue for you. I am trying to be respectful of that fact. But I don't think that fact justifies smearing both me and HN moderating policy.
Which is after you accused me of ulterior motives and you are merely getting worked up about phrasing. Of course I will extrapolate my anecdata just as you do.
> If you weren't trying to smear them,
I have not smeared anyone and take offense at this accusation.
The thread has been buried, this has turned into a one-on-one.
It's a tricky line to walk. If we censor a comment to please one user, other users can easily take offense and turn a little fuss into a big fuss. My sense was that leaving the comment flagkilled was the least risky thing to do: it was removed from the public internet, inaccessible to search engines, and so on. I explained all this to you and asked you to tell us if you still had concerns.
Now that a few months have gone by it's hopefully not so big a risk, and since you obviously do still have concerns, I'll redact the company name from that comment.
One thing I haven't got to yet, and am not sure how to even approach, is removing my old Usenet posts, which you can find on Google Groups (from 1995!).
I still comment on reddit and such, as I like to help people. I just come back later and remove the comments.
May I ask why? There are few things more frustrating than arriving in a help thread from search results and finding that the answer has been deleted.
It's a couple things. I may actually be wrong, and don't want to leave my stupidity open on the internet for all to see.
And secondly, for those who figure out my alias in real life and snoop me up on the internet and find things out about me that I'd prefer to keep private (things I am interested in, activities I partake in, etc).
Like Sharparam, reddit search results can be fruitless because of all the deleted answers. Imagine if StackOverflow was like that.
1). Your karma is too low
2). Your account is too young
3). You haven't been subscribed long enough
It's always a turn off when you've written a long and properly sourced info dump, but then the automod deletes it and you have to go fish it out of ceddit et al. And then asking admins to make an exception is always as fun as getting your license renewed. So I do what the OG does: Keep a couple of accounts dedicated to each subject-matter, and delete my posts routinely.
If what I post is important enough, it'll propagate. If it doesn't, it dies. That's not the reason I do it, however. It's a boycott against Reddit as the world's discussion platform. Good luck figuring out the answers to those really important questions or why all the commentators are applauding [deleted] ;)
It is a pity Reddit has become the go-to discussion platform because you have one identity tied across multiple interests (unless you happen to create specialised accounts). It's also plagued with the eternal September because users easily hop between subreddits. As such, few people bother reading the FAQ or searching before asking a question.
I think they took it away?
I think that ship sailed a long time ago!
Logical deletions would be just marking the user/comment as deleted ( updating a column in a table ) while keeping the data internally. Physical deletions would mean they remove the data on their servers.
Then the next question is whether the deletions are shallow ( superficial ) or deep ( complete ). For example, they can just do a shallow delete of the account/user on their front-end servers. But that leaves back-end servers, disaster recovery servers, staging servers, storage tape long term backups and also log backups.
Even if data is deleted on all live servers, database and log backups stored on tape and sent off to storage facilities still have your data.
Deleting your account/comment isn't as simple as people generally think.
I think at the very least a 'hide' feature for a comment would be useful. Presumably you don't want 'anonymous' comments created either so you'd need to hide the entire comment from the public and not just the username.
Sometimes one accidentally leaks personal information, and in this day and age privacy matters (or should).
HN isn’t such a system because HN isn’t build to keep any privacy information. It’ll be interesting to see how stuff like chosing your real name as a username plays out in the courts, but as it stands right now, HN won’t have to delete your data because of the GDPR.
Other comments may refer to you but you have no gdpr privacy rights over that.
Careful! You may be onto something here.
(The fact that people will find a way of disagreeing about pretty much anything online is a whole other matter.)
You have a long history of—among other things—breaking the HN guidelines, ignoring our requests and warnings to stop, getting banned, creating new accounts, and posting false statements about HN moderation. I mention that because readers have a right to hear true statements about this and not just the false ones. I don't mind being criticized for mistakes we actually make—it's good to be, so we can correct them—but spreading outright lies destroys this community by undermining its confidence in the site. That's not ok.
Since you obviously don't want to use HN as intended, I've banned several of your accounts.