As the web currently stands, if you put something on it you have already lost control, so framing the question as one of "owning your own data" is misleading.
I've up-voted the question because I believe it's important and should see a discussion of how future systems might be able to handle this, not because I agree with the implicit sentiment. Personally it would be fascinating to see a real world implementation of the "Oubliette" as given in Hannu Rajaniemi's novel "The Quantum Thief."
I understand where you're coming from in wanting that control, but I would encourage anyone who feels that they should be in control of what they put on the internet to meditate on the word "publish."
You would laugh at Stephen King if he suddenly demanded that everyone return their copies of the Dark Tower, right? At one point he made the decision to "pull the trigger" so to speak, and publish that work. Like any trigger with lasting consequences, once you pull it, they are there.
This isn't to say that one shouldn't be able to delete one's comments, but in an open and distributed system you'd need to track down all the copies, and it seems there is no way to know you've got them all. And if you can find a copy, there's no guarantee that the host will respect a request to delete it.
These are difficult questions, and I have no solutions. Having said that, I don't think that being able to delete comments here is really that important or desirable. I respect that others will disagree with that.
I agree, but also people may quote your comment, repost it in another platform like facebook or tweeter, make a screenshot, print it in a newspaper, make a t-shirt, ... Once the comment is out there, deletion is only an illusion.
On HN, you have two hours in which to edit your comment or even delete it if no one has replied to it. If you aren't sure you want it to remain on the permanent record, you can remove it at that time.
People who think they can erase what they said at will tend to behave poorly. People who think they can change handles with impunity and fool everyone tend to behave poorly. They think they can get away with it.
There are valuable things said in comments that people often want to look back up.
Having a record helps prevent he-said-she-said style of arguments. People tend to remember things differently from what actually happened. A written record can show who actually said what.
If you say it once and someone is stalking you, they will remember it or even keep a record of it. If there is no record of your remarks for you to reference, you may well forget that x, y and z is out there.
Yes. It's a huge glaring oversight that a community so IT focused and that often complains about "Facebook" and privacy can't even see when it's happening.
But HN is not a utility like Facebook or Youtube, so you can argue, their site, their rules.
But the irony is what is annoying. The idea of dogfooding privacy and digital rights seems lost on HN.
PS Getting Shadowed banned will help stop getting yourself indexed at least.
PPS And the argument other sites might index HN anyway so it's ok to do is so flawed it's delusional.
PPPS The argument that the old info is of value is also "horder" style delusional. We need to stop this idea if absolutely everything is not kept (at the cost of privacy) it matters.