Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

To make StackOverflow great it should not only be very easy to sign up, but it should also be very easy to delete an account. I have browsed my profile and could not find out how to delete my account. Only over here I found out a multi-step procedure is needed to remove my account (involving 'manually' emailing somebody). So here is how I feel would the best way, both for convenience and for privacy.

To delete an account

You go to your account. There is a button that says "Remove my account". A warning shows saying that you are about to completely remove your account. You accept. An automatic e-mail comes in asking you to confirm (to avoid an account being removed by somebody who stumbles on an open session). You click and the account is gone.

What happens when you remove an account

(UPDATE: Grace mentioned this is currently already done. So this is not a request as a feature, but a request to clearly include this on SO, as it can not be easily found at the moment)

Your public messages, comments, etc will remain on the website. After all you agreed to the Creative Commons licensing and they are now publicly available. However, any post or comment is not linked anymore to your user. You can see that it was posted by [your username], but you cannot click it anymore. That is because all information about [your username] is removed from SO's databases. Login info, related e-mail address, account activity, etc. is all purged from the databases.

Why easy account removal is important

By questions you answer and, most importantly, ask, people can find out a whole lot about somebody. Sometimes this is no problem, sometimes it is. If I am in the hosting business and somebody connects my username to who I really am (which sometimes is not difficult at all), then that person might can draw a pretty clear picture of how my servers look like, from the questions asked. Software installed, problematic issues, things I do not know well, etc. Helps a great deal when trying to hack a server. And of course numerous other examples can be given. In the end, the "right to forget" is more of a current topic than ever with a clear reason. SO can help us obtain such a right, and I hope it soon will!

share|improve this question
This actually makes sense to me. When I started reading I was a bit skeptical. – jjnguy Jan 25 '11 at 20:56
If they can associate user156295 with your real name, you have no hope of privacy or security. Would renaming your profile to a gibberish name solve your problem? – Kevin Vermeer Jan 25 '11 at 20:59
@Jus...jnguy: it's all the bold text. – Shog9 Jan 25 '11 at 20:59
+1 I made a similar request a while ago, which I have since deleted, but it wasn't received well. I do however agree with the idea of being able to delete your own account on particular site. – BinaryMisfit Jan 25 '11 at 20:59
Aside from the automation of the process, I'm not sure what you are proposing that differs from how deletion currently works. Everything in your "What happens when you remove an account" is already how it works. Public messages remain on the site, but they are no longer linked to your user, and the account profile and everything is also eliminated. – Grace Note Jan 25 '11 at 21:01
@Diago: dammit, I knew you'd asked this and just spent several minutes fruitlessly searching the site for it... – Shog9 Jan 25 '11 at 21:03
@Grace: good thing that this procedure is in place. I had no idea. Would be good to clearly state this. I will change the request. – user156295 Jan 25 '11 at 21:06
@user156295 The current account deletion procedure is described here – Adam Lear Jan 25 '11 at 21:11
@Shog, yes, bold text makes me feel comfortable. – jjnguy Jan 25 '11 at 21:13
Your core desire - removing the association between questions and answers on a single account - has been discussed at length here: There needs to be a way to delete content or disassociate your account from said content.. It's an understandable desire, but dangerous - hence the site's lack of support for granular disassociation and lack of publicity for account deletion. – Shog9 Jan 25 '11 at 21:22

I thought the result of the last time this was requested was that making it easy to delete without moderator intervention opened people up to possibly destructive attacks. Further, last time I checked they couldn't easily undelete an account, and once you provide an automatic, user initiated self destruct sequence you automatically get a surprising number of people that try it out, then come back later and ask for it to be un-done. If people were requesting deletion daily, I'd expect them to make it easier, but I don't see a reason to streamline the manual process at the moment.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .