I just noticed that in this thread: How can I select to keep data from a chosen site when I clear Private data, most of the names aren't clickable.

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

The question got migrated from StackOverflow and the user doesn't have a linked account on SuperUser. Therefore, it's a ghost account. They can reclaim the post by associating their account with a SuperUser one.

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This doesn't always work - or the poster is doing it wrong - I've seen a number of questions with a greyed out user name and the same name as a link on an answer. I usually add a comment to the answer for the poster to e-mail the team to get the question re-linked to their new account. –  ChrisF Aug 19 '09 at 9:33
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For completeness, there is a second cause of this; if the poster's account has been deleted for whatever reason, then they show in that way. There are various reasons to be deleted:

  • an account that never did much (perhaps asked one question then vanished) and has been idle for a significant time (months) may be automatically deleted
  • sometimes accounts are deleted on request by the user
  • and sometimes accounts are deleted for inappropriate activity (although in most of these cases we're talking about the pure-spam / pure-troll accounts, and we'd likely delete all their posts as well as their account - so you wouldn't see these posts unless you have 10k)
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+1 I didn't know about the automatic delete. –  Diago Aug 19 '09 at 7:28
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