What's the community's opinion on "The Right to be Forgotten?"
This is kind of a question for Tildes as well as a discussion topic on Social Media more generally. For context, "The Right to be Forgotten" is an idea being kicked around in international law and...
This is kind of a question for Tildes as well as a discussion topic on Social Media more generally. For context, "The Right to be Forgotten" is an idea being kicked around in international law and human rights circles. It's kind of a corollary to the "right to privacy" and focuses on putting some guardrails around the downsides of having all information about you being archived, searchable, and publicly available forever and ever. It's usually phrased as a sense that people shouldn't be tied down indefinitely by stigmatizing actions they've done in "the past" (which is usually interpreted as long enough ago that you're not the same person anymore).
This manifests in some examples large and small. Felony convictions or drug offenses are a pretty big one. Another public issue was James Gunn getting raked over the coals for homophobic quotes from a long time ago. Even on a smaller scale, I think plenty of young people have some generalized anxiety about embarrassing videos, photos, Facebook statuses, forum posts, etc. that they made when they were young following them around the rest of their lives. For example, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez had people try to shame her for dancing to a Phoenix song in an amateur music video. An even darker version of this happens with people who might be the victims of targeted harassment. Often doxxing happens by people digging through peoples' histories and piecing together clues to figure out who they are or at least narrow down where they're from, where they work, etc.
In the context of Tildes, this would basically be a question of how do we feel about peoples' comment history lingering forever? Do we care about/agree with this "right" in principle and if we do, what should be done about putting it into practice?
The root of the issue is the existence of archives of data about yourself that is 1.) searchable, 2.) publicly viewable, 3.) under someone else's control, 4.) forever. Even if the ability to delete comments exists, it's infeasible for any individual to pore over the reams of data they create about themselves to find the stuff that might be problematic. The solutions would revolve around addressing any one of those numbered items. Unfortunately, hitting any of those has upsides and downsizes. Some examples:
Some people like being able to look back on old contributions and having them get deleted after a period of time (hitting problem #4) would be a bummer unless there is a system to selectively archive stuff you want to save from atrophy, which would be a function/feature that would take a ton of thought and development. What's more, there is no point in just saving your own comment if everyone else's stuff is gone because comments without context are indecipherable. It could work in a more selective way, so rather than a blanket atrophying of posts, but then you have the context issue again. Someone you were having a discussion with might choose to delete their entire comment history and there goes any sense of logic or coherence to your posts.
We could address the searchable bit by automatically or selectively having posts pseudonymed after a period of time. But in a lot of cases a pseudonym won't work. People tend to refer to each other by username at times, and some people have a distinctive enough style that you could probably figure it out if they're well known and long-tenured.
That's just some general food for thought. I'll yield the floor