Join 3,574 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


What are the rules & regulations of deleting self-authored Usenet posts?
June 22, 2006 5:10 PM   Subscribe

Is there a simple way to have very old Usenet posts authored by you, deleted?

Can Usenet posts older than 1 year be deleted? Although Google Groups makes this simple with their archive, many sites seem to also archive Usenet posts. For certain reasons, I'd like to have some things removed. If it's relevant, I still have access to the original e-mail address used.

The questions:
-Is there some kind of "headquarters" that will remove your Usenet posts from all archiving sites?
-Must Usenet posts be deleted at the request of the author, or can some authority refuse?
-If someone copied & pasted your information into their post, is that portion removable by some authority?
-At the very least, can you have your name or e-mail information erased from self-authored posts?
posted by pricklypear to Technology (11 answers total)
 
No. It's decentralized. There's no authority to ask.
posted by blue mustard at 5:16 PM on June 22, 2006


There is no Usenet "headquarters." NNTP is a decentralized system. When you post to a newsgroup, your message is sent to your local news server. Other "nearby" servers then contact that server and retrieve your message, and they pass it on to their neighbors, and so on.

You can send out a request to cancel a message, but there's no guarantee that everyone with an archived copy of your message will receive (or honor) the cancellation.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:18 PM on June 22, 2006


If you don't want it read by your grandchildren, potential spouses, potential employers, whatever, do not say it on the internet, whether you use your real name or a pseudonym. Find every archiver you can and make your request. Good luck.
posted by caddis at 5:20 PM on June 22, 2006


I'd trust that Google has become, for most people, the last word in Usenet, and just ask them to delete your posts from their archive. They might live on at some obscure NNTP server in Finland, but chances are nobody will look for them there.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:14 PM on June 22, 2006


Unless you can Google your name and find them.
posted by smackfu at 6:24 PM on June 22, 2006


I've done this. It can be done more often than you might think. Basically, you just have to find and contact the proper person for each site. That is the most difficult part.

If the data is hosted on someone's personal website, then look through the content on the website for their email info, and ask them, being as specific as possible about what it is you want removed. The difficult cases are those where the stuff is hosted by some web company, and the account has expired yet it's still online, and the company either can't or won't contact the guy just to save you some headache.

There is no easy way to do this. They can say no.
posted by Brian James at 9:10 PM on June 22, 2006


Is there some kind of "headquarters" that will remove your Usenet posts from all archiving sites?

no ... there are many sites that archive

Must Usenet posts be deleted at the request of the author, or can some authority refuse?

they probably can ... back in my alt.flame days, on another crossposted group there was a guy who didn't want his posts archived, and put x-no-archive in his headers ... but some other guy put them up on the web ... in spite of much whining and complaining they stayed up

in fact, usenet archivers aren't really obligated to obey the x-no-archive header ... even google keeps posts a few days before they disappear ... during which anyone on the internet can save the post and have a copy forever

If someone copied & pasted your information into their post, is that portion removable by some authority?

no

At the very least, can you have your name or e-mail information erased from self-authored posts?

no, although i believe that google munges e-mails

basically, you're stuck with your eternal presence on usenet ... as am i, before i decided not to post under my real name anymore

i guess that's the way fluffy, owner of news, wanted it
posted by pyramid termite at 9:24 PM on June 22, 2006


another note ... it's occured to me that, as others have said, most people check google, and google, if you're still in possession of the e-mail address you used for the posts in question, will cooperate with you ... (not sure what happens if you aren't) ... also, i'm not sure about this, but a lot of the other archivers started up much later than google, google having acquired the old dejanews service

so it might not be as dire as you may think

on the other hand, dejanews used to only go back to '91 ... and yet google now has archives for the 80s, too ... so somehow, someone was saving that information

you never know ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:30 PM on June 22, 2006


Also, keep in mind that even if you somehow manage to track down all your posts you can do nothing about any posts that quote you. So your stuff will likely still be out there in other people's quoted material.
posted by Justinian at 10:11 PM on June 22, 2006


Even if you can get Google and every other archive to delete your posts, you're still going to be searchable through all the people who quoted you while responding to whatever flames and vitriol you posted.

I use a different name professionally so that I can't as easily be Googled.
posted by solid-one-love at 6:47 AM on June 23, 2006



posted by unixrat at 6:49 AM on June 23, 2006


« Older What would you say to a reason...   |  I'd like to go to Modena, Ital... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.