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Deleting old material from the Ranch Fora

Campbell Ritchie

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 46424
Every now and again somebody asks us moderators to delete old material, and we usually don't. Not that we can't. After all, we suffer spam and delete several such posts daily.

Why not?

Anybody posting on the net should work on the assumption that once it has been posted, it is there for ever. If you can see it for more than a few hours, a web crawler will have found it and cached the page in some archive or other. So removing an old post will not remove it from sight at all; anybody with a little savvy can find it easily.
Another thing is that this forum is a resource for learners. We ask people to search, and the first place to search is here. Removing old material reduces the scope for searching and reduces the value of this website.

Some people have the genuine fear that their work will be copied, and ask for removal for that reason. Actually, having the work visible with a name on is the best defence against copying. Not because nobody will copy it, but because anti‑plagiarism software will find the original work very quickly and the plagiarist will receive a mark of 0, or maybe even suffer a worse fate.

Some people may be scared that beginners'‑style posts may be an embarrassment when they apply for jobs. I am sure that potential employers know when their applicants started programming and would expect them to post beginner‑y posts then. And such embarrassment can be avoided by changing one's display name.

We have an FAQ about this topic, which might be helpful.

[edited to fix link]
Amit Ghorpade

Joined: Jun 06, 2007
Posts: 2851

For people who feel embarrassed about the beginner style posts which are few years old, here is my view of it.
A recruiter or anyone evaluating finds the post would appreciate that few years back when you were a beginner, you had doubts and you did put in genuine efforts to get them clarified. If I were sitting on the other side of the table I would certainly appreciate this fact. Everyone gets doubts as a beginner and now they look like simple or silly only because you took time and effort to understand it that time and have build your skills, understanding based on that knowledge.
No one is born with the technical skills and expertise they have on their resume, everyone goes through the same learning process from 0 to what they are now.
Deleting the question does not hide the fact that you were a beginner at some point of time, it is obvious, isn't it?

|Asking Good Questions|
Jayesh A Lalwani
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jan 17, 2008
Posts: 2748

Also, as someone who has "grown up" as a developer using Usenet and Coderanch, I can relate to someone who is posting on coderanch when they were junior. This is how senior people learnt too. Finding someone who is 10 years younger than you and you see them going down the same path, you get a warm fuzzy feeling.
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Deleting old material from the Ranch Fora
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