September 1, 2009 in Feedback
In some countries, offering users the ability to cancel their accounts (thereby deleting all of user's data and content) is becoming a legal requirement. It would be good if you explored the possibility of adding this feature to the "My Settings" section; with the necessary "Are you sure you want to cancel your account? This action is irreversible" prompts and help file informative entry, that is.
I agree this would be a nice feature to have standard. Such a feature should just disable the login for the account and perhaps hide it from the memberlist, but I would not want any of the posts deleted.
In Canada, Facebook are having to remove content if members decide they wish to cancel their accounts.
Canada's concern: Facebook doesn't make it clear what happens to your personal information after you pull the plug on an account. Deactivation doesn't necessarily mean deletion, and users couldn't be sure that their account data was being wiped clean.
The fix: Users will be given an option to either deactivate or delete their accounts. Upon deactivation, they'll be notified of the option to delete, and can elect to do so should they want all their data gone for good.
If Facebook are having to do this, then so will forums surely.
There is a mod to do this for 2.3.x (and probably there is one around for 2.1.x too somewhere) , I'd expect one will appear for 3.0.x at some point too. :)
I don't know the situation regarding FaceBook, although with forums (unless local law dictates otherwise) , I thought it would depend on how your terms are for your board (if the site or the post author "owns" the posts etc)
Could be totally wrong about that though.
I'll upgrade my mod for that to IPB 3 but I do not have any date right now.
Well, unfortunately, as far as legislation goes in some places in Europe, all account data has to go when a user cancels--including the user's posts, pics, etc. This certainly poses a problem for forums, as every time a member cancels, a lot of threads could become meaningless, or be deleted entirely (if user in question is the topic starter, for example). Given that some markets do not require this (for now), this could be an optional feature (e.g., "enable account cancellation?").
An even better version of the above feature would be to "suspend" the user who decides to cancel for 30 days (the number of days being an Admin choice), thereby "hiding" all of the user's content for 30 days. At the end of this period, the user and his content gets completely removed from the system--no return. This, with the appropriate warning to the user upon canceling the account (your account will be temporarily suspended, making all of your data unavailable to the public... at the end of this period your account and contents will be deleted). This would add more security to the site owner in case of conflict, and, should user change his mind about canceling, he would have the opportunity to "make up his mind" (like a cooling off period).
To most forums this might be an overkill, but, in some instances, it may be necessary. I am building a student community, and would certainly want to keep a member's data for 30 in case they did something stupid and decided to "run".
I think that I would want a user's profile information to be changed, his email address to be changed/removed, PM's deleted, gallery images deleted, blog posts deleted and his account renamed and banned, but not deleted, so that his posts stays in tact under for example a user called "deleted_user_00234" or whatever. If a user wants specific posts deleted (due to personal information contained in it) then he/she can request that separately. I delete all personal information from the forums in any case, as I think it's looking for stalker trouble, and my users are urged to not make their details public.
To me, this would be a much better option, since deleting post data just makes topics become useless. I've had this happen a few times, and I've always refused, but I do live in a backwards country when it comes to this type of thing, so for now I'm ok. However, when this does become a requirement, I'd like this option to be available, but with certain limitations, as explained above.
I can't see how posts in a public forum would have to be removed by law. I would be interested to know what is actually deleted when cancelling a facebook account. I can't imagine them having to delete messages sent to other users wall/group posts etc. Only the users own wall and images etc.
I agree a cancel account feature may be appropriate to delete profile info/avatars/pictures etc. but submitted content should be left intact.
I have a court document allowing me to retain a member's private information (Real name, Address, Phone Number) while that member has active posts. I do purge dead topics. The reasoning behind this is that a member can come on, make a slanderous post, and then attempt to delete his personal info.
One cannot equate this to Facebook in Canada. Facebook never deleted your private information at all even if the account was deleted.
These rules are in my terms at registration time and also in my guidelines.
Hence I cannot support 'automatic' deletion by a member. 'Limited' might be acceptable.
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