An Anti-Memory Hole index

Can you create an index of removed stories, the summary, their posted dates and removed dates, and the author name?

Story removal comes up as the answer to ‘Trying to find this story’ quite frequently and it’d be really useful to have the metadata of the story still available, just the story content replace with ‘Removed by author request’ or such.

This would help people searching for stories and diffuse the memory hole effect of quiet removals.

Actually a good idea, but the problem is, that I cannot show stories which the authors want me to remove. Not even their existence and summary.

Imagine you want your stuff to be removed because you’re afraid that the sole existence of the stories might negatively affect you. Then you wouldn’t accept them being listed to the public in any way.

Technically there is no way to discern whether the author would be fine with a listing or not.


Is that a legal restriction or a personal one?
This is metadata about stories, not the content themselves.

It’s my personal concern. As I’ve dealt with authors who were even concerned that their stories would show up on a Google search even after they’ve asked me to delete them.

I can’t delete Google’s cache, though. But at least it will be removed from their search after a while. I just cannot have those stories show up on any public list.


That seems a very niche edge case. Is it the case for all story removals? If we get enough votes on this feature will you reconsider your stance and implement an anti-memory hole?

It seems that if people are supplying personal information that can identify them, it falls under GDPR (but is foolish to publish online kinky material with your personal information if you think you are or will be in danger for doing so).

I think Martin is right here—if the stories are removed because the author thinks having the fact the stories are written is a negative thing, those stories should be wiped from the record, whether or not we agree with their judgment call. Authors should retain ownership and control of their online presence, to the extent possible.

There’s an army of folks on the site who have read widely and have deep memories, who are very willing to scour the internet for remnants of lost stories. If a story is out there, they seem to be able to find it. If it’s not and the story has been completely scrubbed, that’s an author’s choice that should be respected, imo. Relying on others to search may be less convenient than a database, but is preferable to denying an author the ability to withdraw a story if they feel it is best to do so.


I disagree. There are already valid paths for this kind of deletion of personal information on the internet, and solid guidelines around that handling and enforcement of policies.
Cases of personal danger or negative effects are cited in this thread but that’s a difficult claim to drill into since by their nature it’s secret and not transparent to make or assess those claims.

So it feels like it’s down to mostly ‘The author doesn’t want it online anymore for private reasons’

Author control of distribution of their work is relinquished when it is posted freely to the internet and then indexed and cached. That’s the whole point of the internet. If authors have second thoughts, fine, delete the content.
Don’t post under your personal handle if it’ll ever blowback on you.
But why delete all trace of its existence? It just contributes to censorship and lessens the free exchange and cataloguing of human works.

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I suppose our disagreement comes down to a competing set of rights: the right of an author to have control of their own work, and the right of a reader to be confident that the content of a site they care about remains constant. if I understand you, you feel that the reader’s right to know the location/status of a story trumps the author’s right to control whether or not there’s an official record of their posting a story at some point. It’s a point worth debating and hardly a new argument—people have been arguing about whether stories belong to authors or readers at least since commercial publishing started being a thing.

A point I might make: there are so many situations out there an author might find themselves in that might prompt them to want a story removed. Maybe someone is in a situation where being gay is illegal or dangerous, and they want the security of knowing that—however unlikely—no one will ever find their stories. Perhaps the stories in question explore a kink that the author has come to feel is unhealthy and they don’t want their work even mentioned online. Maybe a gay guy has decided to undergo conversion therapy and wants to completely eliminate their gay past, including stories they’ve written. Maybe someone is transitioning and deleting everything they have done under a previous name or identity. Maybe a person is running for office and can’t have any chance of their stories being found. Maybe someone based their username on a relationship that turned violent, and needs to remove stories for protection. It seems to me that given the stakes that are possible, it’s the best course of action to let the author, who has the most to lose, set the terms of their official record on the site as much as possible.

If Martin were to say, “what you do here will always and forever be officially recorded, beyond the usual background tracking that happens on the internet,” I think far fewer people would be willing to contribute to the site. We don’t sign contracts to join—it’s a community, and like all communities we should have the freedom to leave if we decide that’s the right decision for us.


I used to post on a web forum that proudly maintains a policy of never deleting user accounts even by request. I posted on it as a teenager and well into adulthood. Periodically one of these “deep memory” users would dredge up something I wrote 10+ years ago and throw it in my face. I have long since left that forum community and it sticks in my craw to this day that I couldn’t delete my account on the way out. That forum even contributed to my being outed while I was in the military.

The fact that I know that Martin would delete everything I have ever written here if I needed him to makes me feel safer to use the site.


No, you’ve misread me. I’m arguing against the total erasure of everything associated with a work that was freely posted to the internet.
Framing that I wish to take artist control away is not the right tack for this discussion.

Author safety is still a very vague concept you’re trying to put a lot of weight behind, and using extreme edge case 'what if’s around an author deciding to reverse a decision they previously made (their right) AND any information that it ever existed (that’s the bit I disagree with). I’ll say again, who the hell is using their real name when they write hardcore gay fetish porn and post it online freely?

Delete the story content? Sure! That’s the authors perogative.
Delete all mention of the story and who created it (pseudonyms are by far the most common author names on here). Please no. That’s worse than banning a work, it’s erasure.

Deleting all mention and info about a story is the outcome I don’t like. My memory is not infinite, no ones is, so why take a tool designed to record information and publish it widely to the aether, and then completely reverse that?

I literally can’t see a situation where an authors work can’t still be indexed so it can at least be discussed unless, again, they’re using their real name in a boneheaded way attached to material they want to disavow. I don’t suggest politics for them.

Well, it sounds as if we won’t convince each other, because I still think that, as amul pointed out, it’s possible to have situations change and that a policy of keeping a record runs counter to that reality (or, perhaps, reality as I have experienced it). Thanks for letting me know I misread you, it helps me to know what you’re really saying as I re-examine the boundaries of my own argument. Thanks too for reading though and responding the rest of my argument in good faith despite my misreading.

It’s encouraging to see how passionately you care about the stories that have come and gone from the site. The pace of new stories is so fast nowadays that I sometimes wonder if anyone even pays attention to any stories that are older than a week. Nice to know that there are those who care for past stories even when new ones come cascading in on an hourly basis.


I really wished I could create a compromise. As it is, I don’t see a chance. I’d need a flag like a “soft delete” and a “hard delete”.

Technically this wouldn’t be such a problem, but the issue is, that it wouldn’t help for all the stories which have been deleted in the past. The don’t have this qualifier, and I don’t see any way to come up with it.

I really would like to be able to help you, @Nipstug, but I really don’t see how.

This seems like a solution looking for a problem. In the vast majority of cases when someone posts here asking about the whereabouts of a story, someone else knows the answer. I don’t see this as a huge problem or a good use of Martin’s time.

In fact, I would argue that there is a benefit to having people discuss removed stories on the forum.

Anecdotally, when I removed my stories from GSS, it was only the fact that people were posting here, asking what had happened to them, that made me realize (because I’m a dumb fucking idiot) that there were still people going back and reading my old stuff from years ago. If an index had been implemented, like OP suggests, people would have searched for the stories, seen they were deleted, and perhaps thought to themselves, “welp, that sucks”, and then gone about their day. No forum post, and thus, those stories would most likely have stayed in the graveyard.


Maybe sometimes people should start to listen to me :wink:. Back then, I really tried so hard to convince you that your stories are really popular :slight_smile:

But I’m just so glad that you decided to come back and bring at least some of the stories back up!


The stories are the author’s intellectual property. They alone can decide what is and is not available. While losing a good story is unfortunate the mere memory of the story might be enough to imagine a new story. I remember some of R. Chris Cooper’s stories. Do I have his name right? I forget. They are a reminder of how precious writing is in its ability to inspire. That being said I would prefer vague memories of a once posted story to feeling like I was defiling an author’s wish.

You can do something Martin, you just choose not to. This is a theme here where an idea is proposed, you immediately shoots it down on personal disagreement grounds, and then your stance changes not one bit through discussion.
I asked if you’d change your mind with a feature vote… no response.

You mention past stories metadata being gone, but many times you’ve filled in the gaps about missing stories and how to contact authors, so you’re basically doing this anyway, just in an annoying gatekeepy ‘Please consult the oracle for forbidden knowledge’ way.

I didn’t say anything like that. What I said is that I cannot technically discern why a story has been deleted. I don’t know which stories would be fine to be listed and which wouldn’t.

As for the general tone of your message… imagine you’d be in my shoes and people would talk to you like you just did.

Also, I don’t see where your idea of a theme comes from. If I didn’t want to get ideas for what to improve, I wouldn’t have asked in the first place. And as you see, NONE of the request EVER got implemented, right? Right?


I do think it’s hard to read your main argument as being more than, like… “my own convenience is really much more important to me than caring about authors’ rights to their own work or their well-being.”

I feel it’s hard to engage with you in good faith, I dunno. I don’t know if you’re doing it with intent or not, but you sorta, like… keep fabricating these distorted versions of what people have been saying in this thread? And then you’ll respond to those made-up versions instead of giving actual consideration to what people have shared in this thread… It does come off as you being more interested in finding reasons to throw a tantrum than actually caring about meaningful discussion, though…

“Maybe if I throw enough of a tantrum, I’ll get my way!”

But, my guy, you are a grown adult…


“I do think it’s hard to read your main argument as being more than, like… “my own convenience is really much more important to me than caring about authors’ rights to their own work or their well-being.””

Now who is distorting what? I’ve been super clear that artists are fully fine to control their own work. Erasing all mention of that work is what I’m objecting to, but I’ve noticed that authors replying to this thread take it very personally when they don’t have 100% control of their work including any traces of it. On the internet. Which was designed to exchange information. Freely.

And the personal well-being thing… c’mon. Talk about fabrication and distortion. The weakest argument for author autonomy of their work is the one that keeps getting thrown up as the strongest.

Maybe I’m throwing a tantrum about the increasing commercialization of spaces for gay men and erasure of our online history? Maybe it’s weird and directly insulting to say tantrum when you should say shouting into the void.

When a story is posted on the site, it is with the understanding that, at any time and for any reason, their stories can and will be removed from the site when they ask for it.

The “rights” of the reader have never and probably will never trump those of the author on this site. There is no binding contract in play here that gives you the right to see someone’s work when they don’t consent to that.

All rights are reserved to the author. Implementing which you request would be a massive violation of trust. To me anyway.