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Imagine a website where users can create posts, and other users can comment on these posts. Example: Q/A website, StackOverflow, or Reddit.

Should deleting a post result in:

  • The URL of this post becoming unaccessible (404 or a message)
  • All of its comments being deleted (including from user-comment pages)

or

  • The URL of this post remaining accessible
  • The post itself being censored (removing the author, title (?), text, ..)
  • All of its comments remaining readable (including on user-comment pages)

closed as primarily opinion-based by Matt Obee, Alan, locationunknown, Wanda, Shreyas Tripathy Feb 7 '18 at 9:32

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    This seems like a stategic decision that would vary from one website to the next, rather than a UX question with a general answer. – Matt Obee Feb 1 '18 at 11:26
  • Totally agree with @MattObee. At the same time i personally lean towards deleting comments too as content for the comments is lost along with original post but once again it depends on type of website/forum board. – Awfor Feb 1 '18 at 12:01
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This is something that should be explained in the terms of service or the privacy statement.

Site visitors may expect that community knowledge-base sites like StackOverflow or Reddit may keep comments in the database. But users of a social media site like Facebook would expect that, if they delete a post, all of the comments related to the post will also be deleted.

This expectation of privacy will become law soon in the EU. The GDPR -- General Data Protection Regulation -- will take effect in May. See https://www.eugdpr.org/.

This idea of being able to control or delete your words and images online falls under "the right to be forgotten".

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I agree with Matt Obee.

If you want to keep the URL though i suggest to keep the post too.

Instead of deleting it i would "disable" it or set it to "inactive", which displays users that haven't commented on this post a "This Post has been deleted due to..." message only, while i would display users that already commented on this post the same message above the disabled comment but still showing them the original comment and all other comments.

Why i would do this? Because it could be relevant to those that commented even though it has been deleted/closed.

Also it is really frustrating to write a 10 page essay just to see that the OP got deleted with every comment below it.

You could anonymize the name of the original poster if discretion is an issue.

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