Ahhhh Caslon16000, I read your thread recently. Here's my (moderate) rebuttal:
Caslon16000 saidThread owners should be able to delete individual postings on their threads, instead of the whole thread.
When the original poster of a thread deletes a long animated thread, many posters can consequentially feel disheartened that the amount of time, thought, and effort they spent into posting was simply effaced for illogical reasons out of their control. However, based on the postulate that the thread creator is the author of the thread, the thread creator has free will to delete their own thread, but with ramifications.
Whether a decision to delete one's own thread is simply tactful or not, it is not reason alone to claim that the person who delete their own thread should not have the right to make that decision. While you may have the right to express your opinion and share facts in a thread, it is still under the premise that the thread starter is tacitly giving you permission to do so. And while you have the option of deleting your own post, you may also have the option of deleting your own thread. Both are concepts you have started, and therefore you may be able to delete both. Similarly, while you have the freedom to express your thoughts on RJ, you are operating under RJ's rules of operation which can supersede your own, resulting in your post's or thread's demise. The near ubiquitous canon of online debate is that you may delete your post, the thread starter may delete their thread and therefore your post, and the moderator of the website may delete any thread and any post.
Having said this, just because someone has the right to delete their own thread, it does not make them an amiable source of communication if they delete their thread based on false premise, or based on no premise. To illustrate, in recent news a restaurant kicked out a Lesbian couple for kissing while inside that restaurant. While the restaurant has the right to refuse anyone, gay organizations have the right to protest their decision which in turn will likely damage their reputation and cause them to lose some business. Similarly, if someone deletes their own thread because they simply do not like opposing viewpoints, then anyone has the right to expose this person for their fallacious form of thinking. As frequently done so in reality, trenchant social pressure online can easily trivialize the importance of a single person, in this case the online user who deleted their own thread.
To provide some middle ground on this issue, just as the website moderator has control to delete a post or thread, thus superseding any poster's decision, the moderator can also decide to stick a thread or lock a thread. Sticking a thread involves placing the thread into a higher tier of importance by keeping the thread at the top of the first page regardless of how recent posts have been made inside it. A good example of this, that many RJs would probably agree with me on, is the "Mighty Pushup Challenge" started by Rockbiter. That thread is not only the epitome of the intentions of this website, but it is an ongoing thread as it has taken several months to barely reach 1/4 of it's goal. Therefore, it would be beneficial for nearly everyone to keep this thread at the top of page one until the moderators decide it's no longer "sticky" (probably when it reaches one million). Similarly, a moderator could decide to "keep" a thread without sticking it to the top. If enough RJ posters convince the moderators that a thread is important despite the thread's originator's opposition, the moderator can supersede the thread starter's impending decision by keeping the thread. Meanwhile, a moderator can choose to lock a thread typically when the thread that get out of hand or is irrelevant to start. When a thread is locked it means that no one can post in it anymore, and it floats out of the first page of a forum rather quickly. However, the thread has not disappeared from the website, and all posts are in tact and URLs that reference the pages in that thread can still be posted, keeping that thread alive yet more indirect.
In conclusion, the reason for freedom of deleting one's own post is based on the presumptions that the thread starter has authority over their own thread and has a valid reason for deleting their own thread. It is more important to preserve their right to delete their own thread, as this concept coincides with the general understanding that the creator of anything online, whether it directly harbors other posts, may be deleted by the originator. However, not all threads are deleted in good faith, and anyone who deletes a thread without good reason will endure as much backlash as their opponents wish to serve them. Moreover, there are other options besides deleting a thread, should the moderator chose, that serves as a middle ground for opposing parties. Lastly, although someone may delete a thread that other people disagree with, the opponents of the deleted thread can still keep the original thoughts of the deleted thread alive by restarting a new thread with the same concept as the deleted thread, and vowing not to delete that new thread.