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If you peruse any given SE site user's accounts page (mine included) there's a good chance you'll find that they are a member of a site in which they don't actively participate. People often join sites out of curiosity or over-zealousness, but come to realize they really don't have anything to offer that community. However, someday they might.

Currently, as far as I know, the only way to get out of a site is to ask to have your account deleted. It would be nice if we could deactivate our own accounts. This would remove them from the account list when others view your profile (perhaps even hide it from the owner also, in a collapsed region or something), thus reducing clutter. Should we decide one day that we're ready to actively participate, we can reactivate the account and continue where we left off. If the user has ever participated on that site, I think the account should still appear in the user list, but there would be some indication that the user is "on hiatus". If they never participated, there's no reason for them to show up in that's site's user list.

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2 Answers 2

Uh... Just don't show up? I'm rarely on ServerFault, and my account reflects that: just look at "recent activity".

Not sure what this adds, other than a way for the folks who like to RAGEQUIT to do so without actually burning their bridges. You know, like the folks that quit Meta in disgust, leaving some snotty bio text, and then quietly show up a few months later and resume activity after the site fails to implode spectacularly upon their departure...

...Not that having an easily-queried list of such people wouldn't be somewhat amusing, but...

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I don't show up and no, we're not in dire need of this. I'm basically just looking for a means to do some accounts page house keeping. –  raven Aug 6 '10 at 0:44
@raven: does the selective account association feature work? I haven't tried it, but I'm wondering if that wouldn't suffice to indicate that you've (at least temporarily) abandoned an account. Naturally, you could also leave a comment to that effect in your bio. –  Shog9 Aug 6 '10 at 2:22
@Juan: Wow. Some users really take these sites way too seriously. Sure, they're fun and useful, but for Christ's sake, lighten up! I was just suggesting an idea. It will probably be ignored, but so be it. You can't even hope for a feature to be implemented if you never ask for it. The fact that so many users make these sites the focus of their lives is rather sad. You know, like that guy who calls himself Shog9 ;) –  raven Aug 6 '10 at 2:51
@raven: yeah, that guy's nuts - these sites need some sort of marker for accounts like his! –  Shog9 Aug 6 '10 at 3:13

I think the ability to temporarily deactivate one's account would be useful in two ways:

  • reduced workload on the team processing "please delete me" requests (deactivation and reactivation could be completely automatic, unlike deletion).
  • greater chance of valuable users returning to the site after they slam the door, pace furiously outside, and cool down.

SE activities are addictive, and being an expert at something does not imply having strong willpower. It is already recognized that some users just need a chance to cool down, to take a forced vacation from the sites. But users can't give such a vacation to themselves, other than by asking to be suspended. Telling them "just don't show up" is about as helpful as telling "just don't drink anymore" to an alcoholic. Many talented people are prone to addictions, and some users are teenagers on top of that. Give them a non-destructive way to take a forced vacation. It can use the existing suspension logic: reputation locked at 1, and a banner.


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