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There needs to be a balance between individual needs for protection, fairness to the other commenters in a thread, and community interest in having an archive. Threads are a co-creation, which means their ownership is shared (pg wrote about this here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6813226).

That doesn't mean we don't care about users' needs for protection—on the contrary, we care a lot and help people with these requests every day. No one goes away empty-handed. We just have to use more precise tools than wholesale deletion. These include renaming accounts, retroactively assigning comments to throwaway accounts, deleting specific posts (especially if they don't have replies), redacting specific info from posts, and more.

It would be nice to be able to at least retroactively anonymize your username. When we were living in a kinder world, I didn't think twice about using my real name as my username, but I echo GP's fear: Norms change through time, and I guarantee that something I posted years ago that was benign and uncontroversial then would get me fired today.

EDIT: Reading the other responses, it looks like HN will actually do this if you ask. Nice to know! +1 to the request to automate this and provide UI for it for users to self-serve.

While I like the moderation on HN that's a joke answer. Have you ever had a discussion internally on this? Lots of comments don't fall under 'co-creation' whatever that means. Some comments reveal personal information and should be deletable by the poster.

you could have option to anonymize posts just by removing the name of the poster, pretty sure that would be enough for some maybe even majority and off-load lot of work from you to pay attention only to those who want remove posts completely

We do that by randomizing the account name on request.

my point was this should be automated without human intervention, since there is no value lost for other readers, if it's just name randomized

Is there a disclaimer upon account creation that your account, once created, cannot be deleted?

Thanks for the response, I had not seen that post from pg and I didn't realize that comments can be manually deleted upon request.

I definitely appreciate the idea of there being a community interest in both the creation and archive of the work. The salient question in these times I think is whether it will continue to be possible to safely create public works of this type. This is a social issue beyond the scope of HN, but the drift of users away from public social networks and toward private messaging apps is evidence of a change that's already underway.

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