We have a long-time user on Travel.SE who has, for whatever reason, gotten overly frustrated, changed his account name, and unaccepted everything, wiping his answers and turning his questions into garbage. What's the accepted process for dealing with this as a moderator? :(

  • 4
    @MichaelPetrotta - Mark is the moderator
    – Flexo
    Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 18:23
  • 2
    Is this the related post? meta.travel.stackexchange.com/q/799/1230
    – Naftali
    Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 18:24
  • that's one of many. He's changed the text of many to be like that.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 18:27
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    You'll want to remind him of the legal agreement he entered into with the StackExchange network when signing up for an account: stackexchange.com/legal See Section 3, first few sentences.
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 18:30
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    Reopening this, since this question is from a moderator's perspective while the proposed dupe was answered by saying "contact a moderator". :)
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Jun 22, 2012 at 20:18
  • Perhaps the person is having a really bad week and Travel.SE is their comfort outlet so that when they feel threatened, they react this way. Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 18:07

2 Answers 2


Revert his edits. If he continues to vandalize his posts, a suspension would be appropriate.

In general, the content license on Stack Exchange prevents users from taking their ball and going home. Their name can be removed from their contributions (either manually or by deleting the account, if that's what they want), but they can't revoke the permission they gave us in the first place to republish the content.

More details on the licensing here: Why can I only delete 5 posts in a day? Is this legal?

Now, this naturally applies mainly to stuff you want to keep in the first place. If someone's deleting their posts and they suck, you don't have to take the hard line. :)

While you're restoring content, also don't forget to start a dialog with the user. It's fairly rare for an established user to just up and rage, so there's usually something going on that triggers their outburst and often can be fixed. See Thorsten's answer for more.


The very first question which comes into my mind:
Why has a long-time user gotten overly frustrated ? And so frustrated that he/she is destroying their own content ?

I cannot know what exactly happened because Mark does not say what happened, but destroying content means that (if the user is supposed to act normal) feels to have been treated badly by SE.

Which can have several reasons and must not be discussed in detail, but if it is a long-time user and he provided valuable answers (you do not want that his answers are deleted, else you would not care anyway), there is something wrong.

I miss something from the answer of Anna because it seems detached from the user itself, it only views it from a moderator perspective.

  1. Find out what exactly happened. (What happened in this case, anyway ?)
  2. Try to talk with the user (if you care about the content) and eventually try to fix the situation.
  3. Anna's approach: Revert edits and remind him of the license, but please do it politely.
  4. Look out if SE is losing long-time users because it could indicate a problem.

One problem with this "This is now our content and you do not may change it!" approach is slow-poisoning: If someone knows that SE moderators try to enforce valuable content, users may try to poison their answers slowly over a longer time so the former valuable content transforms into junk.

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    Yes, the first step should always be to talk to the person involved. I recall one case where a guy just didn't want his name on some of the beginner questions he'd asked; that was easily solved without vandalism once we opened a dialog.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jun 24, 2012 at 14:44
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    Oy. Yeah, I kinda forgot to mention that part, didn't I? Usually talking to the user would happen in parallel with reverting the edits. It's definitely an important step as well.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Jun 24, 2012 at 15:43

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