Fellow ANers, we have an issue that has reared its head of late, and it should be discussed and addressed.
Background: Recently we've had instances where the thread author has deleted the entire thread that they started. Their reasonings are their own, but needless to say, said actions caused great debate among AN members about whether or not this was a legitimate and reasonable course of action. The opinions were passionate and varied on both sides, though one side seemed to dominate the other in terms of numbers of people.
The Issues: The points being against deleting threads were several. In a nutshell, it's rude. And inconsiderate. And childish. But, the biggest problem with thread deleting is that it is a virtual slap in the face to EVERYBODY who participated in the thread in good faith that their points-of-view mean something.
Just as people often put a lot of time and effort into starting a thread, people who respond also put a great deal of time and thought into their responses. To have it wiped away as if it never existed is possibly the greatest insult one can bestow on a fellow ANer. You've essentially told them that their time and effort and opinions are meaningless and unworthy.
The primary point for deleting threads was, well... it's mine, it no longer serves my purpose, and I can do with it what I want.
Can you tell I'm openly against thread deleting?
Anyway, another issue brought up in favor of deleting threads was that a thread will often go off-topic. Ok, fair enough, but not often... pretty much always. This is the internet. It just is.
The Solution: I would suggest that the leaders of AN remove the ability for a thread author to delete their entire thread. While the author may have started it, it is my opinion that the thread becomes community property once others contribute, and it is not cool to have someone else arbitrarily decide what happens to other's posts and comments.
If a thread is so egregious that it needs to be deleted entirely, I would rather the AN leadership decide so as a group.