What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 131 Stack Exchange communities.

I have just been told that in order to delete my Stack Overflow account I need to email team@stackoverflow.com.

What is the reason behind not providing privilege to user to delete his own account?

share|improve this question
4  
Is this a real problem? –  Michael Petrotta Apr 11 '11 at 10:27
2  
im not saying it as problem, iam just asking a question .but user should have that previlage –  damodar Apr 11 '11 at 10:28
2  
Do you know that deleting the account is just only 404ing your profile and your account box unclickable. (every other thing like your questions, name, comments will still remain in the site) –  YOU Apr 11 '11 at 11:07
    
let it be my friend, can you justify your comment with refernece to my question –  damodar Apr 11 '11 at 11:09
8  
I don't see why this is necessary. Requests probably come in so rarely that it's a task that can be easily fulfilled manually by the team. Setting up the functionality for every user to do it themselves safely would cost a considerable amount of time and money, for no real gain. –  Pëkka Apr 11 '11 at 11:21

3 Answers 3

Rare destructive functions shouldn't have a single button interface because that encourages misuse and mistakes.

Think about the number of calls of people that accidentally deleted their account. It is much easier to delete some accounts on requests than to restore a deleted account (if that's even possible).

Although it would be a fun (but useless) 50k Privilege.

share|improve this answer
    
you can conform the user before deleting their account by asking him to provide emailid with which account is associated, by this way we can reduce accidental deletion of their accounts. –  damodar Apr 11 '11 at 10:59
1  
@Damodar, yes but even then accidents can (an will) happen. (For example, the cat walks by on the keyboard). –  Toon Krijthe Apr 11 '11 at 11:00
1  
@Gamecat , comeon so cat type emailid. Its funny :-) –  damodar Apr 11 '11 at 11:02
    
I was going to answer something very similar! :) –  Shadow Wizard Apr 11 '11 at 11:10
    
And the user content, good or bad, is licensed as CC Attribution Share Alike. Hence, deleting an account does not automatically imply content will be deleted too. Many folks who lose interest simply abandon the sites, after optionally changing their profile first. –  Arjan Apr 11 '11 at 11:14
    
It should be < 100 priviledge IMHO, probably only the priviledge which gone when you get higher reps. –  YOU Apr 11 '11 at 11:19
    
Kind of related: When will inactive accounts be deleted?, @YOU –  Arjan Apr 11 '11 at 11:24
    
"Although it would be a fun (but useless) 50k Privilege." Do you mean deleting accounts or restoring them? Because deleting accounts is very useful. –  Bill the Lizard Apr 11 '11 at 13:15
    
@Bill the Lizard, I mean deleting your own account. I don't think giving "normal" users the power to delete other users is a great idea. –  Toon Krijthe Apr 11 '11 at 13:39
    
@Gamecat: No, definitely not a good idea, but it sure is fun. :) –  Bill the Lizard Apr 11 '11 at 13:40

It is quite possible for someone to take over someone else's account, and the last time I checked user deletion is a non-reversible process, by which I mean that it is not a single button undo, but requires a non-trivial amount of work to undo.

For instance, were I to sit in a cafe near Jon Skeet, sniffing the packets as he answered questions on stack overflow, I could readily cause actions on his behalf on the site. This is because there is only a limited amount of security on the site.

It is also one of the reasons why high reputation, trusted users are still subject to bot detection algorithms.

Email confirmation would be great, except that once you're spoofing another user you can readily change their email. They could change the system and require email confirmation of email changes, etc, and lock things down further, but at the moment they don't, and there's a good chance that if I'm sitting at a cafe next to another stackoverflow user, it's likely that I've got enough information to deal with trivial email problems as well.

Account deletion is not something to be done lightly, and so even if we overcame all the security issues, stackoverflow still has a need to understand why users want their accounts deleted, and how far that extends into site content - in some very rare cases it's reasonable to delete the user's questions and answers, but in most cases it's not. The team needs to understand the situation before such actions are taken.

share|improve this answer

Please note that accounts can self-delete, provided they haven't voted/posted/etc more than once.

How can I delete my account?

share|improve this answer
    
It's the only privilege you lose by contributing value :) –  Daniel Fischer May 24 '12 at 22:43

You must log in to answer this question.