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Proposal: Autism

Unlike other websites, StackExchange does not plainly allow you to delete your own posts. Questions with upvoted answers (or something like that), cannot be deleted, for example.

This proposed site may attract very personal questions, that the OP might not want on the net in the future.

Perhaps it is a good idea to add a message before someone asks his first question. Ideally, I'd like to see something like a terms and conditions checkbox, like: "I understand that I cannot plainly delete my question." Or, perhaps it should be allowed any time to delete your own post on this site - but I'm not sure about that.

I wanted to raise this discussion before the site enters (private) beta, to have it discussed before any problems come up, that's why I've asked it now already.

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    I don't see how this would be any more sensitive than Workplace or Parenting. – Nicol Bolas Apr 6 '13 at 7:13
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    @NicolBolas it would be harder to get a job when you profile yourself as an autistic than when you profile yourself as a parent. But yes, these sites can contain sensitive information as well, indeed. – user72809 Apr 6 '13 at 7:16
  • @CamilStaps actually, it depends. Assuming you have more severe autism, you already have problems. Being labeled can actually help because it removes the misunderstanding and false assumptions about your behaviour and intentions. – FolksLord Apr 6 '13 at 10:28
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    @NicolBolas I'd say that this is more sensitive than Workplace, and to some degree also more than Parenting, given that you may not be active here for yourself, but for somebody you care about and given that Autism almost by definition is a sensitive subject. I realize with Parenting you'll have good 'odds' of exposing your kids, but not all topics there are as sensitive and potentially stigmatizing as autism. I certainly think Camil's suggestion had merit, but I also appreciate the answer by the moderator. – user79480 Apr 8 '13 at 9:27
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We take our Privacy Policy very seriously. We go through extraordinary measures to protect users from having their personal information disclosed unless they explicitly wish to do so. So in actual practice, the potential for someone posting without knowing their question is going to be made public has been diminutively small. Even so, should a problem arise, the community self-moderation tools have remarkable abilities to take care of problems. Exceptional situations are easily taken care of by Moderators.

I can appreciate the feeling that a potential problem someone might encounter should be emblazon across the screen before such actions are taken. But with all the rights and disclaimers present in Creative Commons licensing — not to mention all the other ways you can run afoul an Internet forum — that "terms and conditions checkbox" would quickly become an endless bulleted list from hell.

I'm not saying your concerns are without merit. In light of the more-sensitive and personal subjects making their way to becoming sites, we are always looking for ways to improve the end-user experience and to protect folks from such problems. Thank you for raising the issue.

  • You convinced me with the role of the Moderators. Thanks, I'm glad to hear this! – user72809 Apr 5 '13 at 16:49
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This is a general problem to practically all your activity in internet. There is no neutral forum in this sense, because on every forum you can make faux pas which would have some impact on your real life.

So the rule of the thumb is, when any doubt, use pseudonymes or nicknames. In fact, I think, that on SEs such as Autism or Atheism it should be recommended to use nicknames making hard to identify real person. So I support your case, but in other form as you have stated.

  • On many other sites you're always allowed to remove your old posts. I've thought about pseudonyms, but that's hard because you want all your accounts to be linked. Anyway, when really wanting to hide your identity, it's your best bet, probably. – user72809 Apr 6 '13 at 10:33
  • Of course, there are always those few sites with asinine restrictions on editing or removing posts that are there for no reason. – Joe Z. Apr 10 '13 at 15:50

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