Notes on Reddit History Removal

So, in the process of deciding to work on purging more of my content from parts of the internet that I just no longer agree with, time for Reddit to go. I create it back when I started my blog, have met some interesting people there (many of who post here on occasion), and… the place is unrecognizable lately.

The new interface appears to have utterly ruined the place, focusing more on video content than the text that made it sane, and the mods have gotten rather insane, I’m banned or shadowbanned from a few places for daring to post links to stuff I’ve written externally instead of writing the same post over and over and over and over again, and there’s been a mass exodus of technical posters over the past few years, as far as I can tell (in that the people giving advice in solar/battery subreddits don’t know their head from the wrong end of a lithium runaway, etc).

Thus, notes on the removal process.

Reddit Power Delete Suite

Installs via a bookmark and works magic with Javascript.

The export feature on this simply doesn’t work with a long posting history. It pulled 76k of content, via a data:text/csv; hyperlink, which is utterly incomplete.

Nuclear Reddit

Harder to set up, requires Python3, ffmpeg and a few pip packages. Also, your username/password, and API access. It chews for a good long while saving out posts in a sane format (text) you can review later.

On the other hand, it doesn’t save comments on sufficiently old posts for some reason. Before about mid-2017, submissions just don’t have comments archived out. Not that I really care…

We’ll not discuss just how much time I’ve apparently spent on Reddit, but… definitely a lot based on my submission and comment count. 164 submissions, 11993 comments. :confused: Though only 77k words in comments, apparently…

I’ve decided on a two pass approach, based on editing comments first, then deleting things. So, after it’s saved everything and you’ve verified it, run the delete option with “Edit comments, leave submissions.” This will overwrite your comments to some fixed string, which may help prevent finding the deleted data at places like - though I wouldn’t fully rely on that. Reddit claims to only store the latest version of the comments, though, of course, there are the various backup sites on the interblags. Shouldn’t have posted anything sensitive, though, right?

Then, run again with “Delete comments, delete submissions.” Not that it has gained much, but… feels cleaner.

The comment editor seems to be broken for me, so just modify the script and replace the strings with something or other. You almost certainly will not want to link Ruqqus as in the default script, as the place seems… sketchy would be a polite term.

Also, there are a few bugs in the comment overwrite code. It’s Python, fix it. I’ve filed a bug.

Mmm… progress.


This will take a long while.

Once that finished, I ran it again, deleting the edited comments and submissions. Experimentally, there were a few comments it missed for some reason - but it did cover most of them.

Save your backups off, if you care about them, because they’ll get overwritten if you run it again.

Run it again, delete everything. The magic incationtation is DELETE USERNAME - replace username with your username, no square brackets, all caps.

Let it run, it’ll take a while longer.

This… also didn’t delete everything. It claimed to remove submissions, but didn’t seem to actually get all of them, and also missed some comments.

However, it cleaned out enough that PowerDelete was able to work some magic for a while. And get almost all the submissions removed.

It couldn’t clear everything, but it left little enough I was able to clear the rest out by hand.



Historians will be confused. Good job. :slight_smile:

Well, probably not, not anymore than they already will be about 2020.

In some ways, I do feel bad about ripping up a lot of the tracks, but Reddit has gone off in directions I don’t support, and don’t wish to lend support to. If they want to seek video-based “engagement” and such at the cost of driving technical content off the site, fine. They’re welcome to do so. I just despite that sort of pivot and want no part of supporting it, even with legacy content. As they leave mechanisms to remove all content, I’m good with it.

I agree. I’ve done a similar nuke and pave simply because I don’t know what will be done with what’s there (and frankly none of it was exceedingly important).

Welcome! And, good to hear I’m not the only loon doing this…

Bumping this topic, as Reddit flames out in epic “But Mah Profits!” IPO fashion.

My accounts are long gone, but consider this “an offer to support whoever else wants to remove theirs.”

The reddit implosion is hilarious to watch. I had some old accounts that I went and deleted, but I didn’t bother deleting the comments (they’re not terribly many). One had two-factor (that I have no record of, but it was years ago) that I couldn’t delete. :frowning:

I’ve seen Mass delete Reddit comments brandied about as another delete tool (maybe the same as above).

More interesting to me is that more and more people are talking about “small community” - things like Killing Community @ and CommunityWiki: Smol Net for example.

Reddit fell over because their code couldn’t handle so many subreddits being private, and that seems have cascaded to making HackerNews fall over a bit, and so on.

Now claims are coming in that Reddit will just “undelete” your posts:

If this is verifiable and true, they may have just opened themselves up for some fun. Time to submit GDPR deletion requests if you’re in those areas, or the equivalent (some states like CA copy parts).

I think the update speculates it’s a bug, maybe related to private subs?

In any case, I’m glad I gutted my account years back. :slight_smile: The drama has been fun to watch from a distance.

How to Delete your Reddit Account and All Data under GDPR/CCPA - Thomas Hunter II seems to think it’s more than a bug, but I would delete your content and then after a month or so delete your account; because once the account is deleted you can’t touch any comments anymore.