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Forums: Index > Wiki discussion > New Discord rule - Deleting messages

While this hasn't ever been a prevalent issue, from time to time we will encounter users who will delete their own messages in bad faith, usually in order to remove context, forcing the moderation team to comb through our message logs in order to understand incidents fully (and this is assuming that they're even aware that messages were deleted and that the logs need to be gone through).

After a recent conflict in which one of our users ended up being kicked and ultimately banned due to message tampering, a temporary order was put into place, insisting against deleting messages entirely; this forum is to formalize and clean up that rule so as to better understand the spirit of it going forward. For further clarification, should the community decide against this rule clarification, both here and in the upcoming vote, the administrative decree that's currently in effect on our Discord will be nullified and removed. 寧靜 Fox.png 00:39, 27 January 2021 (UTC)

Rule parameters:

  1. Personal messages can still be deleted/edited, so long as important context isn't removed that destabilizes a wider conversation/debate, or places other users in a potentially bad light. In all essentiality, regard this as an extension of Rule 5: Don't be a dick.
  2. Due to ambiguity, what constitutes important context will be left up to moderator/administrator discretion. If in doubt, please double-check with a moderator before proceeding.
  3. In most cases, this rule will never apply to any content that constitutes memes, personal information, or casual conversation. With that in mind, please remember not to abuse this right, as doing so excessively still counts as spamming/general disruption, even if it's done in good faith/fun. All things in moderation.
  4. Messages are not to be deleted, whatsoever, within the Vault-Tec Administration category, including, but not limited to the channels: overseers-desk, chatmod-desk, editing-staff, discussions-staff, security-desk, reddit-staff, individual-moderation, & check-user-queries.
  5. To expand upon the prior rule parameter, messages are not to be deleted from monthly meetings unless they are objectively off-topic. All relevant messages must be able to be presented at the end of each meeting during its transcribing for transparency purposes.

Rule implementation

  1. In cases that are deemed objectively bad faith, typically a warning should be given out before proceeding to a kick, and then a ban, depending on the severity of the offense(s).
  2. Should a user delete their own messages in order to fabricate evidence/intent against another user or users, an immediate ban should be given out, extending to the wiki as well.
  3. In cases of good faith, deleting personal messages can still constitute spamming, whether intentional or not, which should follow standard procedure, starting with a warning, moving onto a kick, and ending with a ban.

Community feedback:

  • This has my support. --kdarrow Pickman heart.png take her for a spin! 00:43, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
  • This has my support as well. In my humble opinion, there really should be no reason to be deleting copious amounts of messages in good faith. This is the internet, if you say something dumb or embarrassing who really cares, we'll all forget about it in 10 minutes. It's when you cause trouble and insult people then immediately delete those messages to cover yourself up that we remember. Thank you this has been my TED Talk. -Not Alex FO76 Free States.png 01:15, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
  • Sounds good and I support the idea. Point 1 explains that it includes editing a message as well as deleting one, so maybe that out to receive some clarification or a follow up, especially since "delete" is the only term used in the later points. For those curious as to why it matters the rule needs to covers the spirit of deleting messages, not just the act of pressing the delete button, since there is a serious difference in how the two acts are performed, despite a nearly identical end result. If I wanted to "delete" a message and all of its content I can just as easily do so without touching the delete button. How?
    • Hit edit
    • Type a single "." or anything else, for that matter
Functionally, that message is deleted and the context is every bit as destroyed. The Dyre Wolf (talk) 04:20, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
Dyre is right, we should word it so that it reflects this point. As in, "removes the original content in its entirety, en masse, by way of editing or deleting." Something along those lines. It would be less egregious in that we could still see there was a back and forth (to avoid the one sided conversation ploy) but as Dyre said, functionally identical. --kdarrow Pickman heart.png take her for a spin! 10:56, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
  • Time to be the devil's advocate as I always do. Putting opposition here purely because I disagree entirely with NotAlex's statement - "if you say something dumb or embarrassing who really cares, we'll all forget about it in 10 minutes." That might be true elsewhere, but on a Discord channel operated by a wiki? Past messages can be and often are used against the users who sent them, weeks or months or even years later. And often, the ability to delete your own old messages and hope that the chatlogs don't catch it is your last stand against someone who may use that info or that opinion against you. |\| () |\/| /\ |) | Talk | Discord | NMC 05:37, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
To no small degree, you have highlighted the core issue and restated it as the exact problem being addressed, rather than offering a defense for it: "the ability to delete your own old messages and hope that the chatlogs don't catch it is your last stand against someone who may use that info or that opinion against you." This exactly the attitude that results in rules like this having to be codified. Any instance where information may be used against you is strong enough to necessitate it being called a "last stand" as more than hyperbole, is if that "someone" you are concerned with is a staff member or offended person who may report you to a staff member. What you are describing is a fear of accountability and consequences. If it is personal info you did not mean to release, there are already provisions written above which allow you to delete that information. No one wants anyone to accidently dox themselves. But if you have an opinion that will be used against you, an opinion you were confident enough in to share, and your immediate concern is how that opinion is going to get you into trouble if it is caught by someone scanning the chat log? Tough. Man up and either stand by what you said when you thought no one was looking, or take responsibility for saying something wrong, whether you knew it at the time or only upon reflection. But one of the most important features of the rule is to help prevent users from making and deleting inflammatory statements, hoping it can be done to skirt rules. The only time I can remember where you have had any serious (as series as wiki drama can be, anyway) repercussions for saying something, where the information was used against you, was when you made inappropriate remarks in the security desk, which ultimately resulted in a vote of no confidence being initiated and your resignation as a staff member. Everyone makes typos and everyone says something silly, but if you want sympathy or free reign to make cutting remarks and incite bullshit, where deleting messages is your saving grace, then you need to look elsewhere. The Dyre Wolf (talk) 10:17, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
What I'm arguing here: I don't want to see the "problem" addressed any more than it already is. Few things in this world anger me more than the "accountability culture" that has seemingly sprung up everywhere on the internet in the last five years or so. Not everything that needs to be said here is civil, and it's annoying when it seems like every route to say what needs to be said is blocked by a wall of "accountability." In real life, it's easy to get something off your chest - you just say something, and as long as no one records it, it can stay between you and the three or four other people you're chatting with then and there. Not dug up by a moderator after the fact. On the NP discord the only viable way to do the same thing, is to send messages and then nuke 'em when the conversation is over. And yes, this is a rant in and of itself, exactly in the same fashion. No I'm not making any sense. |\| () |\/| /\ |) | Talk | Discord | NMC 16:56, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
  • Yes, I'm an Anon. Take my opinions with a grain of salt. Staff already have access to the logs and should be monitoring them regardless. There are Chat Moderators for a reason. Mass deletions and edits should be punished, yes, but adding this rule will only cause undue complexity and confusion for the average user. I understand the user who caused this issue is now permanently banned. Problem solved? Moderators should be responsible and do their job by actively monitoring the chat and logs. Otherwise all they're doing is flaunting a colored name. 08:24, 27 January 2021 (UTC)
Truth be told, I find myself agreeing with this anon. Part of the reason I left the Discord is because admins/moderators both seem largely unaware of the tools at their disposal (there is a moderation log, that includes deleted messages), and have no responsibility for themselves. Admins/mods should not be talking about accountability without first enforcing it on themselves. Even then, this seems like a kneejerk reaction to one problem user and more indicative of a lack of competency regarding the Discord server as a whole, hence why the server is such a shitheap. AllYourFavorites (talk) 16:21, 29 January 2021 (UTC)
  • Having witnessed first-hand some of the recent issues, the problem was that people were saying some pretty inflammatory things, getting a strong reaction from someone, and then deleting their messages. It made the person with the strong reaction look like they were just attacking this person randomly without reason. There's nothing in the chat that indicates a message was deleted. If discord would leave a placeholder like (2 messages deleted) in that spot, this wouldn't be a problem. Yes, the admins can see what the messages were, but you lose 100% of the context for where they were in the conversation and it made a difference. That said, having this be a separate rule is overkill. Rules 4, 5 and 8 could be rewritten and combined and be done so in a way that covers this sort of 'flame baiting' and bad-faith actions without having an explicit rule of 'don't delete messages.' Gilpo1 (talk) 15:43, 1 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Ah, at last a proper writeup of what the rule will entail. Looking at things, it seems to be well thought out so I congratulate you on managing to avoid some of the easier hurdles to trip on, but there still seams to be some ambiguity. What determines "Objectively bad faith"? I don't doubt theres content out that could be made in some genuinely bad faith, moreso that I feel an obscure metric is ripe for either abuse or misinterpretation. I've met more than my fair share of people, most of them on the NP discord to be truthful, who don't conduct themselves in bad faith and are morso just utterly utterly utterly tactless to a point it could be misconstrued that way at a glance. On the flip side though, every instance is going to be highly dependant on extra circumstances such as the wider conversation or how well the admins know the person, and addressing each measure specifically would be theoretically impossible, it's definatly something more "Case-by-Case". I suppose what I'm trying to say is that this rule will either stand or fall on how it's exactly written, and how close the staff follow to the exact wording... LovinglyGaslight (talk) 19:27, 1 February 2021 (UTC)

Policy vote forum overview
Amendment 1Temp Chat moderators · Vote · 13 January 2013 · 12-3-3
Amendment 2Kicks and bans · Discussion · Vote · 15 June 2013 · 14-1-1
Amendment 3Discord rules · Vote · 15 April 2018 · 14-2-3
Amendment 4Deleting messages · Discussion · Vote · 20 February 2021 · 7-0-1
Related topicsUser conduct guideline · Discord moderation