Disappearing messages

I was wondering the Straight Dope on messages that seem to vanish.

I was perusing a thread today that I could swear I commented in, but couldn’t find my comment any more. I concluded it was probably removed by a mod (or possibly at another poster’s request) - for what reason I haven’t the foggiest, but I am not a mod and therefore don’t enforce the rules. Doesn’t even matter to me as most of the time when that happens, my message isn’t really adding something profound to the conversation anyways.

But I was thinking why, instead of making it an “un-message” a la Nineteen Eighty-Four, could it just not be removed, but still have the message place sitting there (ie the original poster name and such is there, but the text is replaced with [Removed by xxx for yyy]). It might also be a helpful hint to the poster of the offending message as to what to avoid for next time so he doesn’t make the same mistake again (as I wasn’t even warned about it).

As I said before, I’m not asking why a recent message of mine was removed, because I really don’t care to know the specifics and I’m not debating the decision at all, but I’d just like to know what the policy is on message removal.

I’ve seen threads removed because they are spam. I’ve seen posts in threads disappear when the database is having problems. I’ve done the I know I posted in this thread bit before. The database has always ended up needing repairs.

Or maybe there’s a sinister plot by the database to remove random posts until by the time people start catching on, it’s too late!

(OK, I’ve been watching too much sci-fi lately)

Generally, the explanation for a “disappeared” thread is either:

  • The initial post was from a spammer. (Sometimes these sound like normal people, and lure folks into responding.)
  • The initial post was from a banned person who tried to sneak back in as a sock, or some similar situation. There are people who get thrills from causing trouble (“trolling”) and when we ban them, we also cause their posts to disappear: why leave posts around whose sole purpose is to stir up angst?

I don’t know the particulars of your situation, but that’s the normal explanation. Sometimes, the thread title is changed, although that normally is minor and the thread is still easy to find.

It would help if you could link to the thread in question, so we can determine what happened.

As C K Dexter Haven says, we remove posts entirely only in limited circumstances (mainly spam, socks, and trolls). We don’t normally remove posts for other rules violations.

Sometimes duplicate posts are deleted, in which case an empty post with the poster’s name and “deleted” remains.

If you committed a rules violation in a thread, you would normally receive a public moderator note or warning, and in the case of a warning, a private notification.

If you actually tried to make a post and it did not appear, the most likely explanation is a database hiccup.

Nothing that you successfully posted on the Board has been removed. No thread to which you successfully posted has been “disappeared.” As Colibri suggested, perhaps there was a Board hiccup when you tried to post.

Here are the last 25 posts you’ve made to the Board since the morning of 9 Dec.

None posted to our forum where we hide posts that have been removed(but not deleted from the Board)

I’ve had missing posts too and finally concluded that I have clicked on Preview Post but then failed to click Submit Reply. This happens only on my most carefully worded and insightful posts – the ones that have taken half an hour to compose. I don’t notice that I’ve made no post until at least 24 hours later.

If you have Firefox, check out this addon. It will automatically save what you type in forums. If you are paranoid, only activate it on this site.