To allow users to delete, or not to allow users to delete?
I was chatting with one of my fave clients last week about whether or not they should allow their users to delete their posts. It was toward the end of the call, so I thought I might as well feed two birds with one scone 🕊️ and write up my thoughts and see if the community had any additional thoughts on this one.
First, what’s possible and why.
In Vanilla, if you set your roles and permissions so that a user can delete on the category level, it will allow them to delete any and all posts in that category, so this should definitely be reserved for admins and mods🙅♀️.
Out of the box, users (aside from those with the all encompassing category level permission) can’t delete their discussions (or questions, or ideas, or polls, basically the first post in any thread, or comments (or answers, basically replies).
There is no way to allow users (aside from admins and mods, who would then be able to delete all the things), to delete those discussions. The reason for this is the following scenario: what if I’m a user who posted an interesting discussion, that then received tons of thoughtful replies. If I then come in and delete that discussion, all those comments will go with it, which is not usually fair to the commenters and the rest of the community.
So how do we handle these requests?
If your community really wants the ability to delete their own discussions, I think the best approach is to add a ‘delete this post’ option to your reported posts options. This way, the user can still request their thread be deleted and an admin or mod can make the executive decision. If the post has a lot of replies and the user really really wants it deleted, I would suggest to use the change author functionality and switch it to staff member or generic (aka fake) user so that the comments can be retained.
If the user is asking to be totally deleted, I would delete the user but use the “blank user content’ option:
Ok, but what about comments?
You can request (via your PM or Vanilla Support) to have an option enabled so that users can delete their own content. The timeline that they could delete their comments for would be the same as the timeline that users can edit posts (governed by your posting settings, or better yet, ranks).
What do you think?
Most importantly, what do you all think? Do you allow users to delete their own comments? Or do you restrict this ability for reasons I haven’t gone into here? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments!