Should mods delete links on topics when requested?

Hi, everyone. I would like to discuss a proposal to change how we handle requests to remove links on the forums.

The issue

We often have the following issues on forums:

  1. Someone creates a topic and adds a link — they might add the link directly to the topic content (or alternatively use the “page I need help with” field).
  2. This same person realizes that the link is publicly available (and often indexed by Google when added directly to the content), so they don’t want the link on the topic and ask moderators to remove it.
  3. As this is something covered in our guidelines, our moderators deny these requests (unless there is a safety reason for removing them), and this can sometimes trigger long discussions between everyone involved.
  4. Sometimes, these folks even contact the DPO mailbox to discuss this further.


While I’m not trying to justify OP’s (original poster) reasons and definitely not recommending us to change it because of GDPR (we’re technically allowed to keep these links), I believe we should change the workflow because of the following reasons:

  • We should stop spending all this time arguing with people — it would take us 10 seconds to remove the links instead of 20 minutes arguing about it.
  • It would improve OP’s experience on the forums — it is always good to make people happy when we can.

With that in mind, I would like to recommend we start manually deleting links on new requests as an experiment. If this doesn’t work out, we can document the reasons and revert this idea (or explore automated options for doing the same thing).

How do you feel about it?