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Is there a way to completely delete chat messages (including history)?

The Purge History option leaves a "last version before deletion", and once a message is deleted it can't be edited to remove this information.

I've believe I've seen messages completely eradicated with some trickery where messages are moved to another room (with x messages moved to/from someroom messages) but the actual messages themselves somehow don't end up in the other room.

Anyone know how this is done?

  • 1
    The purge tool is simply broken, it requires you to edit the post before purging to actually do anything useful. If you purge first, you'll have to resort to some trickery as you can't edit deleted chat messages with the regular UI. – Mad Scientist Jul 8 '15 at 7:57
  • @Mad and is the broken purge bug already reported? If not this question can be changed to be such report, can't it? – ShaWiz Jul 8 '15 at 9:30
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    @ShadowWizard meta.stackexchange.com/q/251059/151385 – Mad Scientist Jul 8 '15 at 9:36
  • @rene I'm asking for a way to completely delete chat messages. If it requires the use of some not-entirely-documented features, then so be it. – gandalf3 Jul 8 '15 at 10:05
  • Hide or remove from database? – Universal Electricity Jul 8 '15 at 13:00
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@thesecretmaster wrote a userscript to do this. Try it out.


Assuming you're a moderator on chat - the following doesn't work for mortals. You have two options. Either:

  1. Ping me in TL and I'll just do it for you.

or

  1. Do it yourself.

If you choose the latter option:

  1. Get an extension for your browser (all the instructions here are for Chrome, though it's possible in other browsers) that lets you fake post requests - I like Postman.
  2. Get your chat fkey:

    1. Go to any chatroom on chat.stackexchange.com (the sandbox works nicely)
    2. Open Chrome's network inspector (View > Developer > Developer Tools, choose the Network tab)
    3. Send a test message in the room (content doesn't matter)
    4. Look in the network inspector for an entry that says "new", click it and look for an entry called "fkey" near the bottom:

      enter image description here

      Copy it.

  3. Find the chat message you want destroyed and open the history page. Look in the URL for the message ID:

    enter image description here

  4. Open Postman and use it to send a POST request with these parameters (you're going to trick Chat into letting you edit that message, even after it's been deleted):

    enter image description here

    1. Set the URL to chat.stackexchange.com/messages/### where ### is the message ID
    2. Set the request type to POST
    3. When you set it to POST, it will show you a place where you can enter form data. You want two entries here:

      • text, whatever you want the censored message to say now
      • fkey, the chat fkey you copied earlier.

Hit Send. If you haven't angered Cthulu yet today, it should say "ok" in the response box. Hit purge history on the message if you haven't yet, and you're good to go.

  • Perfect, thanks. For other FF users, I found that this can be done from FF's network tab in the dev tools. – gandalf3 Jul 8 '15 at 18:52
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    I've gone ahead and userscript-ified this, for anyone who wants it. – thesecretmaster Aug 16 '18 at 21:07
  • That's probably worth an answer, @thesecretmaster – Undo Aug 16 '18 at 21:08
  • @Undo Feel free to edit it into yours, but credit really goes to you because it's just a simplification of what you've already got. – thesecretmaster Aug 16 '18 at 21:09

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