Some time ago there was dismay on Mastodon (and Pleroma ?) instances about data scraping. Before that happened there were privacy concerned people automatically deleting their own toots, limiting them for example to the latest toots for thirty days. With Lemmy things are different since Lemmy is a link aggregator rather than micro blogging, and Mastodon has boost option (Called replay with Pleroma ?). However deleting your older comments (but not posts) automatically would be really nice for privacy reasons.

It seems to me that when you put something on a public part of the internet that you should assume it will be archived automatically by any number of crawlers. Innocuous things like the wayback machine on archive.org, but also any number of corporations or governments could do for whatever they see as in their interests. I feel that deleting or autodeleting leads to a false sense of security, in fact it might draw more attention if something disappears.

Kromonos
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I blocked the IP ranges for archive.org. Archive.org was the first stop of my bullies and stalker to fetch data from my homepages. It’s also possible to send them an email with a removal request. Their service for removal is not the fastest, but it’s ok.

@ajz
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I feel that deleting or autodeleting leads to a false sense of security, in fact it might draw more attention if something disappears.

Several people on Mastodon delete their old toots. Here a blog post from a well-known person on Mastodon with their reasons : https://kevq.uk/why-i-delete-old-content/

excerpt : I also wouldn’t want something I’ve said years ago be taken out of context (or taken correctly, but I’ve changed my opinion since). So it’s easier to delete my shizzle.

@BrownNote
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I think the more productive thing to do would be for people to learn that people can change.

Halce
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How common, or how real is it that something someone has said in the past, would be not merely a poorer, if clumsier articulation of their present, but instead a fundamentally different nature, to the point of being decisively opositional altogether?

@BrownNote
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To learn is to change. If you haven’t changed any of your opinions over the course of your life, then you haven’t learned anything.

That’s why most people can recall at least a couple extremely stupid things they did while they were younger that they would absolutely not do today.

Travis Skaalgard
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I have had many opinions over the course of my life that directly contradict opinions I have now. I feel like it’s exceedingly common.

poVoq
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It might be “easier” but is it the right thing to do? Also, as others have said, likely there is a copy of it somewhere anyways, so why bother deleting it?

@ajz
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You keep pushing your own agenda in this conversation without looking at my privacy concerns, and it makes me feel uncomfortable. More than before I feel like deleting my account here.

soronixa
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agreed, when we share something publicly that can be accessed by anyone there’s not much room for privacy. the best one could ask is having some anonimity so no no one can link the posts to your real identity.

Deleting Comments is bad, since your Opinion or Knowlege might be important for someone or yourself in the future. A better way to decrease a digital footprint is the ability to post things anonymously. This comment should not be tied to my account. Anonymous posting also brings other benefits like a bigger engagement. I really liked FlowChat from @dessalines@lemmy.ml

@Thann
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What about having an option to “post anonymously”, and only mods of that community and instance-admins can see the author?

@federico3
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Anonymous comments would be best, but only if it’s integrated with upvoting/downvoting/flagging to provide personalized ranking of comments.

@tralalaaaaa
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Anonymous posting sounds like a moderation nightmare

poVoq
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I feel a bit torn on this. I think Lemmy is more like a traditional public forum (which serve as important knowledge preservation storage a bit like an adhoc wiki and unlike chat and micro-blogging). So while there might be exceptional cases where your posts should be delete-able, I don’t think it would be good to have such as a default option.

@ajz
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Yes, agreed, therefore I mentioned deleting comments not posts.

poVoq
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Why would comments be different? Many people only read the top comments on link aggregators as they are often more informative then the link itself.

@ajz
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See also my other new comment about issues

Posting a URL or an image can show a little bit about yourself, but comments and a posted question will show a lot more. Leaving the old posts like they are makes some sense since people can benefit from reading it without a very high chance of giving up your own privacy.

poVoq
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Reading also your other comments, I don’t think I agree. Posting stuff publicly is well… public. If you don’t want stuff taken out of context or otherwise abused it is probably better to not post it publicly in the first place.

Note however that legally speaking the barrier for “private” posts are pretty low in most countries, i.e. posting something on a invite only (even if the invite link is public) Discord channel is apparently considered private communication and thus you can press charges against someone publicizing it without your consent. I think that is why some Mastodon instances do not have a public feed, but with federation it becomes a bit murky.

But IMHO maybe what you are really asking for is invite-only Lemmy communities?

Kromonos
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Maybe not that bad idea: password protected communities 🤔

soronixa
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I think if you don’t share any personally identifiable information (eg don’t sign up with your email), you won’t really need to delete your posts. if it can’t be traced back to you, and doesn’t contain personal information, then it isn’t a privacy concern is it? the question would be if lemmy stores something like IP addresses? if yes, use Tor pr a vpn, and that’s it in my opinion. no need to remove your contributions, I’m sure people appreciate them :)

@ajz
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My issues :

  • data scraping and building a profile by others and abuse it
  • risk for doxing due to writing style, grammar mistakes, and content of comments
Kromonos
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I can confirm the doxing part. I don’t want to know, how much data my stalker and bullies would use, when I wouldn’t use tools like https://forget.codl.fr/ to delete my old posts on Mastodon.

soronixa
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interesting. I don’t think a profile would be much useful if it couldn’t be traced back to you, but as you say it’s possible to use writing style and grammar mistakes to fingerprint you. maybe use translation services that rephrase what you wanna say? or make intentional mistakes with some of your accounts? and have different accounts for different subjects, one for foss, one for politics, one for veganism, one for your job, one for your hobbies, one for more personal things, one for answering technical questions …

but yeah, do what your threat model asks for. but if you’re going to delete your account and leave, just know that it was a pleasant experience interacting with you and your content, ajz :)

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