Re: Downing Street - again!
by Simon at 01:11 09/11/04 (Forum::Online Communities)
OK, attached to this post is a ZIPed text file which goes through the forums one by one showing the lifespan of each message in days, whether we recorded it as missing, the thread ID, the message ID and the subject. I've omitted the other fields (author, body) to save space (you can always search the archive itself for the subject line if you want to find back a particular thread or message)

If the lifespan is 0 or -1 and the message is marked as missing ('M'), then it was deleted the same day. The reason it's either 0 or -1 is because the message posting date on the No10 site was not in 24hr format and so we can't tell if "09:41" was AM or PM.

If the lifespan is 0 and the message is NOT marked as missing, then it was still present when the forums went offline.

A quick scan of this report indicates to me that there were regular withdrawal-fests of entire threads, plus the occasional withdrawal of seed messages (sometimes long after they were posted). It's impossible to know the motive for the thread withdrawals - it could have been for reasons of trying to make the site quicker (ie delete the old stuff).

The first version of the forums suffered far more from obvious censorship than the second (post-crash) version (especially in the Taxation forum), but unfortunately I wasn't explicitly recording 'date found to be missing' for the first version. I was instead trying to fetch the header of each message as each archive index page was displayed, and adjusting the output at my end (to mark messages as 'gone') if I failed to retrieve the header for a message at that particular time.

ZIP file (922 K) Downing Street threads report
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