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Logged in at Google, I can delete old messages in Google Groups that were written by me. Is there a way to remove a complete thread that was opened by me (years ago) directly on the NNTP server that hosts this group?

Where can I get informations about the "person" who hosts a group?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

No, you cannot, even if you gain access to a server and manage to delete the post. There are mirrors that still serve the thread you deleted on one server.

In extreme cases, e.g. hate speech, very dangerous content, etc. it might be possible to convince the maintainers to remove all data they can find. But it's still available on peoples' hard drives.

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Sure, that people can download messages and crawlers store these thread. But when there is a way to delete the complete thread on the hosting server, than Google will remove the content from Search somedays and that will help a lot. – rabudde Jul 27 '12 at 10:12
The problem is that there usually is more than one server and it's almost impossible to delete the thread from all servers. A thread does not only contain your content, it's also content and messages provided by other people. That makes it very unlikely to be deleted. – Marco Jul 27 '12 at 10:22
You're, but when I opened the thread, it should be my right to decide if the thread should be deleted – rabudde Jul 27 '12 at 10:27
I disagree. You ask a question, for instance. And I invest hours of work to investigate and write a long, detailled answer that might help you and other people. I would hate it, if you had the right, for whatever reason, to delete the question and render my work useless. That's simply how the usenet works. Think before you post. If you don't like the sysem, feel free to use a different one, eg. stackexchange. There it is easily possible to delete questions if there really is a reason to. – Marco Jul 27 '12 at 10:40
If you had published a book with your philosophy ten years ago, would you think it reasonable to try and destroy/recall every copy ever sold ? – Alan B Jul 27 '12 at 14:15

By posting to usenet you are implicitly commanding all available usenet servers to make available your comments or content to other users. This means copying and sharing that message across multiple servers and country boudaries, all of which have different rules and may or may not honour your request to either post or delete a message.

What you are looking for though is a Cancel Message thought it's usefulness is limited.

A cancel message only works "per message" and you do not have the right to cancel someone elses message

If someone has copied your message in order to reply to you then you have no right to delete that message as it is their content that they have posted. It may include your content but by posting your message you have implicitly given people permission to copy your message in order to reply.

I. What are cancel messages?

A. What are cancel messages?

Cancel messages are a specialized form of message to Usenet that, when they arrive at a server, request that the post bearing the Message-ID contained within be deleted. In essence, a cancel message, if heeded, cancels another post. Hence the name.


D. Who is generally allowed to issue cancels?

In general terms, the only people that are always authorized to issue cancels for a message are the original author of the message and the postmaster at the site the message was posted from. However, there are rules that allow third-party cancels in specific circumstances, such as group moderation, spam and spew cancellations, article forgeries, and a few other limited circumstances; those people in charge of these duties are generally authorized to issue cancels directly relating to the job.

You did not post the reply so you have no right to cancel that message.

Your newsgroup reader of choice should allow you to cancel your messages, but not replies to your original message. The thread would survive the deletion of your original message.

There are also the important words in that page:

In essence, a cancel message, if heeded, cancels another post.

No server actually has to heed that cancel message and may in fact simply ignore it if the server was set up either intentionally or accidentally to do so. In which case any servers downstream from that server may or may not get the cancel message and so may keep the message indefinitely.

That page has a whole host of information on what you can and cannot do to get your messages recalled.

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The OP asked for deleting a thread, not a message. And, as you already mentioned, cancelling a message does not work reliably. – Marco Jul 27 '12 at 14:26
I know he asked about a thread and if you read my answer you would know that I confirmed that deleting the thread is not possible but a single message is in theory. I was simply providing more detail about the process and limitations inherant in the usenet system. – Mokubai Jul 27 '12 at 14:42

For recent Usenet messages, it might be hard. In regards to Google's Usenet archive, you used to be able to delete ('nuke') a post if you still had access to the email address it was sent from or could get a court order that it was your email. This possibility was removed without explanation sometime around 2011, and some deleted messages were resurrected by mistake a few years before that.

If you're European, you can have posts you wrote and posts you are cited in delinked from searches for your name, however, by arguing that they are old and no longer relevant. Be prepared to appeal to your local DPA if Google is unwilling to delink requests. The DPAs will probably suppot you if the material is old and pose a problem for you.

List of European DPAs (for appeals)

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