One of our sites began exhibiting a periodic bug where users would try to save their profiles and get an error about an illegal value in one of the fields (a cck field for "industry," fwiw, that we disabled by removing edit permissions for it a month ago). The field has a number of possible values as checkboxes, so users were able to pick more than one when the field was available to them for editing, prior to us disabling it.
We noted that admin users could save the profiles, and that they would then begin to be savable by users with normal privileges.
We zeroed in on the content_field_industry table, and began running through cases with assorted users before we finally figured out that field records with multiple deltas sometimes suffered from the issue, but other times didn't. After more digging around, we finally observed that:
if the record had more than one delta and values in the field_industry_value column had a leading space, the record would fail to save for normal users
if an admin user saved the user profile, any delta records with a leading space in the field_industry_value column would be destroyed and the profile would become editable by a normal user
if the record had more than one delta and the values in the field_industry_value column had no leading spaces, normal users could edit their profiles with no error
We don't want to lose the data, but we don't want it to be edited by normal users anymore, either, and we don't mind the thought of losing meaningless deltas (the ones that serve a historic purpose rather than a "this is a multiple selection" purpose).
Is there a safe way to clean up this issue, perhaps by simply deleting leading-space deltas?