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After someone moves your comments to chat (without asking you), you lose the right to delete these comments yourself. This is unfair; after all, you've done nothing wrong that would justify losing this right. How do you regain this right?

I mean moving resulting in "Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – StrongBad♦" with a URL to a chat discussion (the name "StrongBad" is just an example here; there is nothing personal here, and my question is general).

When speaking about the right, I mean the right given to you earlier by Stack Exchange (not by the law, a distinction rightfully noticed in Wrzlprmft's answer).

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Very generally, once you put something on the Internet, it is very difficult to undo. While some legislations grant you some right to delete your private information or similar, there is no universal right to delete your content.

Specifically, when you post something on Stack Exchange, you do so under a Creative Commons licence. The reason for this is that this site is supposed to be a repository of knowledge and wouldn’t work if people could arbitrarily delete their stuff. You retain a right to have your name disassociated from your posts though (but I presume that this is not your issue). Thus, if you so wish, forfeit the right to delete your content when you post it. You are only granted a certain right of self-deletion so you can clean up after yourself. But:

  • You cannot delete your questions once they have an upvoted answer. (Also see this FAQ.)
  • You cannot delete accepted answers.
  • You cannot delete chat messages older than two minutes. Also see this declined feature request on Meta SE: Allow owner of message to delete them in chat.

Finally in the specific case of comments moved to chat, your comments are already deleted. They continue to exist in another form as chat messages, but then this is the least prominent form of content on Stack Exchange anyway. Also almost everything that has been on the Internet for a certain time persists in some archive. Finally, there usually should be no pressing reason to delete such a message:

  • If you posted something rude or otherwise bad, you shouldn’t have done so in the first place (and deleting it doesn’t make you less accountable for it).
  • If you posted something that is now obsolete, there is no shame in that.

There are some rare exceptions, e.g., if your comment contains sensitive information due to some accident or similar. In this case, please flag the original post for moderator attention and specify the message and provide a good reason why it should be deleted.

  • Can you moderators delete chat messages, too? – Federico Poloni Sep 5 at 7:14
  • Note that, even if you don't have the right to delete them, the Creative Commons license gives you the right to disassociate your name from them (i.e., make them anonymous). I suspect that SE will make the procedure to do it unnecessarily complicated, but it's your right. – Federico Poloni Sep 5 at 7:18
  • @FedericoPoloni: Yes. Going by experience, disassociating posts is not made very complicated. I have never witnessed a request by somebody to disassociate chat messages. – Wrzlprmft Sep 5 at 7:40
  • For reference: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/96732/… . Note that the "contact" link is wrongly named there, that there is no "contact" link at all in chat pages, that in the contact page there is no predefined help topic for "I want to disassociate a post", and that for this reason the request will likely go through a human customer support representative rather than being fully automated. I call this "unnecessarily complicated", when compared to a simple "disassociate" button in a context menu, but that's my view. :) – Federico Poloni Sep 5 at 7:57
  • @FedericoPoloni: Right now, post disassociation is a very rare event. I have encountered only a handful of such requests during years as a mod. Making this user-controlled would require a considerable effort, as you would have to prevent all sorts of accidents and loopholes, such as somebody posting a rude comment and then immediately disassociating it to cover their tracks. This effort is simply not worth it. – Wrzlprmft Sep 5 at 8:20
  • I guess that part of the reason why you encountered only few such requests is that the suggested protocol to handle disassociation requests (as described in my link above) does not involve asking a moderator, but contacting SE's customer support. – Federico Poloni Sep 5 at 8:27
  • @FedericoPoloni: I doubt that. I would expect that a considerable portion of users doesn’t care or succeed to find the suggested protocol and just flags the post. Yet, I have never seen this happen. (The disassociation requests I mentioned were all embedded in larger drama.) Also, think about in what circumstances you would reasonably want disassociation of individual posts. In many cases, deleting your account, renaming your user, or using a legitimate second account will get you what you want in an easier and usually cleaner way. Disassociation is by nature exceptional. – Wrzlprmft Sep 5 at 8:47
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    It doesn't surprise me at all that a feature that is not advertised, buried in the license, uncommon in other internet forums, and cumbersome to request is a very rare event. I am not sure in which direction the causation arrow goes, though. :) – Federico Poloni Sep 5 at 10:06
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    @FedericoPoloni: PS: I dug a bit, and an SE employee told me that they have roughly one disassociation request per week (for the entirety of SE). – Wrzlprmft Sep 5 at 15:47

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