Post deletion and resulting collateral damage

Incidentally, I don’t recall offhand what happens to the children of author-deleted posts? Do they stay? I don’t think this necessarily informs how mod-deleted posts should be handled if they do stay, but if they did disappear, similar messaging would be useful.


Does it always? I’ve been in at least one conversation where someone prompted a response from YT, and I probably knew better than to engage, but when I went back later it was like scorched earth… I had an angry email from the OP in my inbox, which may or may not have prompted the erasure, but when I looked back here on bbs a bunch was gone and I didn’t have any email notification that things I’d posted had been deleted. Nor any text from said deletions
To be clear, overall the, erm, extraction, has seemed beneficial overall. But I never got a notice that things I’d posted were removed as collateral damage.
(Not criticizing, just clarifying.)


as someone else noted in this thread or another similar one, if you made a reply to a comment that gets deleted it will often be deleted as well and that will get no notification.


I think @orenwolf means that mod-deletion of the offending post triggers a deletion notification to that user. The missing piece that I brought up originally was all the children of the offending post, which just evaporate into the ether.


Yes, I think I misinterpreted @gracchus ’s post as being about all the “fallout” deletions, which is what I was responding to a (misinterpreted) response to.
Thank you :pray:


They do. Otherwise, we would be allowing users to delete the posts of others, which would be uncool.

Correct, sorry for the confusion. If a post is flagged then removed, it triggers a notification (but not for child replies (“collateral damage”), which is the issue IMHO).




I’m assuming the answer is no, but asking for completeness: would it make sense to allow the responses to a deleted post to stay, since their silent deletion is so (apparently) distressing to the user?

I guess as the lesser of two evils, it’s still a pretty big evil, since it probably quotes the deleted post… but… what if the deleted post was scrubbed from the reply, too? Just brainstorming.

1 Like

It would have to be done on a case-by-case basis or you’d run the risk of leaving a whole bunch of posts without essential context to give them meaning. And case-by-case means more work for the mods. Unless… what if users got a message saying, “The post that you replied to has been deleted. Would you like to edit your reply for context and leave it up, or just delete it as well?” I would actually like to have that option when posts are author-deleted as well. Sometimes my response stands on its own, but other times it loses all meaning without the post that it’s in reply to.


I can understand the rationale for deleting the orphans of a mod-deleted post. They tend to be long (mostly in-good-faith, on the part of the non-flagged people) posts alternating with offensive or neglectfully malignant content from the flagged user. If I had to wager a guess, most of the flagged user’s content would eventually get flagged anyway, and you’d end up with a long series of disconnected, earnest arguments replying to… nothing?

I personally don’t mind so much when a post gets deleted in this way, except that it is super disorienting. For me, a notice would be sufficient to clarify what happened to that exchange and not make me doubt myself. Being able to recover my text, by having it included in the alert, would be a bonus – sometimes I want to save some good turns of phrase for later arguing with racist relatives on Facebook, for instance. (Yeah, maybe that’s not healthy, but I have to try.)



When I started moderating here, I tried this approach. I left flagged posts up rather than deleting them, and left responses alone.

The problem is, the offending posts were flagged for a reason, often because they were inflammatory, derailing, or otherwise inappropriate. What I found was that the replies did not bring the conversation back on track, or simply caused the same poster to feel they need to reply to defend their now-deleted original (flagged) post, since later replies continued to reference it.

I’ve realized there are basically two options: for off-topic but otherwise appropriate derails, these can be split off into new topics (and our merry band of Leaders have been excellent at doing this!), but for all other cases, the originating post and replies are removed. There are some very specific cases where especially good replies get restored (possibly with mod editing to remove references to the original flagged post), but that is people-intensive work, and a very rare exception.


It seems like the overall incentive structure is do not respond to trolls. Because if you do, your reply may go poof.

But, it can be hard to tell what a troll is, and the response could be very good on its own.


Asking a community to NOT dunk on trolls only aggravates the community because it’s impossible to read text without internalizing it.

Flagging is great. dunking is cathartic. even more cathartic when you know that your dunk will disappear with the offending post; the suffering a troll inflicted on you is purged by creating new thoughts, typing it, and then reading the resulting dunk post.

(Of course, this creates a little more work for moderators.)


This creates a LOT more work for moderators, and worse, utterly derails a conversation where instead, a single crappy flaggable comment may not have. It affects the entire discussion, and we will absolutely take action on users who are unable to come to that realization on their own.

Our purpose here is to encourage constructive discussion, not provide somewhere to lob insults at trolls. People who want to do that can go live on reddit.

This, too, goes back to why deleting these offending posts is important. Leaving them there further degrades the conversation.


and that’s “increased mod interaction + workload” again


i’m not trying to both-sides this, although i truly can see both sides of this, but let me ask if this might be a better way to approach the problem if either wiping all replies or leaving replies with no context:

if you see a comment which is clearly awful and has either been flagged into hidden status or clearly will be, and you have a response which deals with a larger issue than just “dunking” on the irritant why not write a comment which does just that without hitting the “reply” button so that the response isn’t directly tied to the offending comment? or is that too close to “gaming the system” to be feasible?


Come to think of it…why is it possible to respond directly to comments that have already been flagged? Is it possible to turn off replies to flagged posts? Unless the flag was in error or bad faith (rare), allowing replies only draws attention to it and wastes everyone’s time.

1 Like

That’s exactly what I try to do with my “Something Else” flags. In that situation, I’m usually not sure if the post I’m flagging crosses the line. A response that won’t go away might be useful for others.

Unless they’ve been hidden, there is no indication to other posters that they’ve been flagged. If you’re responding to a hidden post, well, that’s on you.


Sorry, yes, I meant flagged and hidden.

People do respond to hidden posts, though, and I think we might as well make it impossible to do so (if possible on the technical side) in the interests of avoiding further derailment until the mod squad arrives.

There’s one reason to leave that (mostly silly) option open: malevolently flagged posts. There are some recent examples of posts that have been hidden that were unhidden after mod review. If the post is innocuous and gets hidden, I might want to risk the reply.