Alongside the issue of who owns forum posts, is the issue of what do you do if a member wants to have all their posts and their account deleted. More and more people are increasing their consciousness of their internet footprint and want more control of it, especially anything that might be seen of them in a negative light. How do you deal with a member who wants their footprint gone?
Firstly, it needs to be clear in the forum rules that members agree to when they join that this is probably not going to happen. Deleting a post is going to decrease a discussion threads value. At the same time, you don’t want to be seen as unreasonable. A user with no posts is easy to delete. A user with posts can be deleted and (at least in vBulletin) the author of the posts is changed to ‘guest’. If you do not like that designation and want to keep the posts a good compromise would be just to change the username, email address, birthdate, etc rather than delete the user. This may remove the footprint to the satisfaction of the ex-user.
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