Are and synonyms?

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Destruction of data or physical data storage media

Excerpt for : none

I can't find a difference in how these tags are used; seems to be favored for physical destruction of data storage media but both tags are used for logical data destruction.

  • I feel a subtle semantic difference even when restricted to data only: deletion is more likely to be performed by the owner of the data, while destruction is something that requires an outside agent. Or to put it another way: deletion may be part of normal operation, destruction is not.
    – biziclop
    Jul 31, 2015 at 19:41
  • @biziclop I don't think your two characterizations are equivalent, and neither of them corresponds to any distinction I feel between “destruction” and “deletion”. Jul 31, 2015 at 19:52
  • That's why I posted them as a comment rather than an answer, I'm not quite sure about them myself.
    – biziclop
    Jul 31, 2015 at 19:56

2 Answers 2


I can see scenarios where it would be useful to have them as separate tags, assuming we populate the deletion one, with being used for physical items (hard drives, paper etc.) and being reserved for intangibles (files and other data stored on electronic media), however depending on numbers this could also work just fine with one tag for both.

I'll await the community view, but thanks for raising this one.

  • I agree, normally one is used for software and the other for hardware. destructor might be a gray area term, but I'd still lean towards tagging it with [memory management] rather than either of these two terms.
    – RoraΖ
    Jul 21, 2015 at 12:55
  • If they're not being clearly differentiated by the community currently, doesn't keeping them both imply on-going maintenance any time the tags are used? Would that be worth it? (And I'm not saying it isn't, I' just raising the question.)
    – Xander
    Jul 24, 2015 at 12:52

My name is Scott Pack and I approve of Rory's assessment.

If we restrict to data and to media I think we'd be in a good place. By and large I think this is a nice line that's not too fuzzy.

There is quite a lot of linkage between them. Both will be handled in the same policy, may be performed by the same people, are described in the same standards, etc. The real point at which keeping them separate makes sense is that the techniques and caveats are very different.

  • Then we need to retag a lot of destruction questions. Jul 23, 2015 at 12:35
  • @Gilles On the plus side there's only a couple dozen destruction questions so that shouldn't be too terrible to go through. I wonder how many would be left behind and at what number of questions we decide whether a tag should stick around.
    – Scott Pack
    Jul 23, 2015 at 12:43

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