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My username was deleted and all my posts were scrubbed
Posted: 25 November 2008 01:37 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I just had to sign up again as a new user.  Apparently my username had been deleted, despite the fact that I remain active on the forums and contribute time and energy to both the forums and to the organizations.  Moreover, all my past posts to the forums have been deleted.  I find this highly irregular.  Can someone explain why this was done, please?  I am a past Executive Director, a current Senior Fellow of CFI, and an Associate Editor of Free Inquiry, so this strikes me as bizarre, unless there was a wholesale scrubbing of the forums and past posts that I was unfamiliar with.  Seems unlike Free Inquiry, if so.  Looking forward to receiving some sort of explanation.

David Koepsell
http://www.davidkoepsell.com

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Posted: 25 November 2008 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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David, I have no idea. I’ll check with our technical staff, but this sort of thing has not to my knowledge happened before (we only delete spammers and the like), and it wasn’t anything on our end. Do you happen to remember your old username?

I can assure you that there is no intentional scrubbing of older posts or users. Whether there is some glitch or other in the system I have no idea. But this concerns me greatly. I do recall that you had some very important input on the forum which should have been preserved.

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Posted: 25 November 2008 05:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi Doug, I am very disturbed by this.  My username was drkoepsell, and I checked back on the forums where I did post, those discussions I was quite actively involved with, and my posts appeared to have disappeared, leaving only the responses of others.  It’s quite remarkable, unprecedented, and wrong.

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Posted: 25 November 2008 05:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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drkoepsell - 25 November 2008 05:35 AM

Hi Doug, I am very disturbed by this.  My username was drkoepsell, and I checked back on the forums where I did post, those discussions I was quite actively involved with, and my posts appeared to have disappeared, leaving only the responses of others.  It’s quite remarkable, unprecedented, and wrong.

I agree entirely. It doesn’t make sense to me.

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Posted: 25 November 2008 05:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Let’s see what, if anything, our technical staff can find out. I’ve emailed Alan, so he will be aware of this thread.

It doesn’t make sense that this would be intentional; there are plenty of nasty characters on this forum whose posts remain, and yours were always thoughtful and interesting. All I can think is that it was some sort of tragic mistake or technical glitch. I’m wondering if we’ve lost other members as well.

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Posted: 25 November 2008 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Stranger things have happened.  I am eager to uncover what exactly happened.  Thanks for looking into it quickly.

best,
David

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Posted: 25 November 2008 09:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I replied to the good Dr’s myspace bulletin about this topic and was wondering how strong his password was, someone could have cracked it and deleted the account “just for fun”

I would recomend that the forum administrators institute a strong password verification system.

the script linked here:
http://www.hotscripts.com/Detailed/46058.html

” Checks for uppercase, lowercase, numerical, length, and special character”

but I’m sure there are plenty more. Can the Admins scrub the logs and see if the IP that last logged that account in made sense?

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Posted: 25 November 2008 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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well now that I have searched I don’t even see a way for a user to delete their own account… perhpas ignoring oneself might do the trick but I don’t know.

I still think a strong password requirement is a good idea. but that’s just me.

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Posted: 25 November 2008 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I’d like to know what are the technical steps required to not only remove a user, but to also delet all his posts.  Please tell me those steps, and who must undertake them.

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Posted: 25 November 2008 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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drkoepsell - 25 November 2008 10:08 AM

I’d like to know what are the technical steps required to not only remove a user, but to also delet all his posts.  Please tell me those steps, and who must undertake them.

David, all I can speak to is the forum functioning itself; there are a couple of methods to delete a user. Someone with Admin privileges or higher can either delete the account and associated posts with a few clicks on a forum post, or they can do it through a separate internal screen, which lists members by username. The latter could have been done by someone inadvertently, without realizing that it would delete forum posts. (E.g., someone who dealt with the usernames for the website without realizing that they keyed to forum posts as well). There may be additional ways that a user account could be deleted. Since I am not privy to the full functioning of the website, I cannot be sure. But in any event I am only speculating since I do not know what happened. As you are aware, we are discussing the issue internally by email.

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Posted: 25 November 2008 10:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Thanks.  It would be great to know if any other accounts were deleted whole like this.  We’ll see if anyone else chimes in.  It would seem it would take a bit of effort, and not just a haphazard keystroke, and that it would occur during the course of some other maintenance chore.  I’ll still look forward to hearing who pushed the button and why.

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Posted: 25 November 2008 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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drkoepsell - 25 November 2008 10:36 AM

Thanks.  It would be great to know if any other accounts were deleted whole like this.  We’ll see if anyone else chimes in.  It would seem it would take a bit of effort, and not just a haphazard keystroke, and that it would occur during the course of some other maintenance chore.  I’ll still look forward to hearing who pushed the button and why.

I delete spammer accounts whole, and very infrequently I’ve deleted some user accounts that were “sock puppets” (two accounts for the same person) or when a banned individual has returned under a different username. But I am unaware of any active members in good standing that have been deleted, apart from your case. On the other hand, I believe you are one of the few CFI employees who posted here and then switched jobs. It is at least conceivable that there was a mistaken directive to remove your online account after you switched jobs, and that that directive inadvertently removed your posts from the forum. I do not know how these things work internally, and I do not have an internal CFI account anyhow since I am in a volunteer position.

I would only hesitate to assume that whatever was done was somehow intentional, horribly frustrating though it may be.

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Posted: 25 November 2008 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Well, there’s Barry Seidman, who left CFI but still posts and exists as an account…
And while I left the employ, I never left the volunteer work.

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Posted: 25 November 2008 11:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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drkoepsell - 25 November 2008 10:55 AM

Well, there’s Barry Seidman, who left CFI but still posts and exists as an account…
And while I left the employ, I never left the volunteer work.

Barry’s account was active when the forum was based on entirely different software, which I believe was completely separate from the rest of the CFI website network. Therefore when he left CFI employ there would have been no need to change his status on the forum. FWIW, Barry has been banned from this site for several years; he does not continue to post here. Now that the forum software is integrated, changes made to the CFI backend can effect the forum in ways that may not have been well understood by the person making the changes.

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Posted: 25 November 2008 12:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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OK, sounds logical.  Hopefully the fault can be found, and even better, fixed before anyone else sees their posts deleted and presence eliminated.

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Posted: 25 November 2008 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Yes. I find the whole thing very disturbing, and can only apologize. Several of us have been actively working to refocus efforts on the website, which I hope will avoid future SNAFUs like this one.

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