Once You’re Gone, You Can’t Come Back

(This article is about Linkedin’s publishing features, I guess the headline qualifies as clickbait, is the first time I did that intentionally, and sickened to say this, but it felt great).

For the second time, I inadvertently deleted a draft of an in-progress Linkedin article. In both cases, I don’t really know what happened. I think today the draft was deleted when I was merely trying to delete the header image.

Unlike the previous occurrence, the draft I deleted this morning was approaching completion. I had just done my final(ish) rewrite and was planning to publish the article this morning.

Linkedin’s Help section said “Once you’ve deleted your article from LinkedIn, it no longer exists on our platform and we’re unable to retrieve it.”

Hmm….that has a bit of a 20th century aroma, doesn’t it?

I acknowledge that I was controlling the mouse and keyboard, I was the user who (unintentionally) went through the sequence of events to delete the draft.

Though rewriting a nearly completed article seems like a rather severe punishment for the crime (misdemeanor?) of an absent-minded misclick. Agree?

One (3rd-party) help page suggested a work-around that would have me create a new, empty article and “just” paste the text of the deleted article.

Just? Paste? That assumes that the text of article is on my clipboard, and that I JUST copied, or JUST cut it. It’s an equally viable recommendation to say ” ‘Just’ don’t delete anything, ever.”

Perhaps Linkedin could “just” add a draft-restore feature.

I understand why all deleted content can’t be in a recoverable state until the end of time. Linkedin can’t store every byte of user-created data forever. There has to be a purge cycle.

Though, the ability to recover recently lost content seems like an expected feature of modern information systems. At least I expect it.

Perhaps it’s time that Linkedin and I had the “Principle Five” talk, about tolerance for (user) error in design. Quite simply, Principal Five of the Universal Design guidelines holds:

  • “The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.”

I recognize that not every potential user pitfall can be accounted for in testing a site as large as Linkedin. Thus, improvements are often going be the result of input from users.

On that topic, I don’t see a means to submit feature requests or to provide constructive criticism to Linkedin. It might be there somewhere, but is not immediately evident (<sigh> a Princple Three violation).

Providing users the ability to recover an inadvertently deleted draft does not have need to be a lifetime commitment for Linkedin. It seems that a predefined recovery window (one or three days, perhaps) would be sufficient.

Hell, I if I had a 45-second window to recover a draft, I wouldn’t be writing this article.

If you were fished in by the headline and read this to very end, thanks for doing so, here is a token of my appreciation;


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