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Glossary » explicit destruction

explicit destruction

a design principle that suggests that anytime information is permanently deleted (or for that matter, any irreversible action is performed), the user should be required to explicitly indicate that the deletion/destruction is actually desired. This is important when deleting files, writing over files (e.g. saving over an old version), or whenever data will be permanently lost. This principle is often violated in database systems, where, for the sake of efficiency, data is overwritten as soon as a user moves to a new record, even without explicitly acknowledging that the previous data should be lost. The principle of explicit destruction is related to the forgiveness principle, which suggests minimizing irreversible operations so that users can explore without fear of destroying any information.