I've been putting some thought into Is spam in the "about me" field a reason to worry?, and particularly the statement at the top of the accepted answer:

The trick is finding these spam profile user accounts, really.

I agree, there doesn't seem to be any reliable metric unless you resort to regular expressions, sigh, which isn't ever going to work correctly.

My proposal is that all users that:

  • Have never voted
  • Have never posted
  • Haven't visited in a year
  • Have only ever visited on the day the created their account, and...
  • Have filled something in the "About Me" or "Website" fields.

should get automatically deleted in the same way that old, unanswered, unloved questions do.. This seems a little harsh I know but bear with me.

As of the last data.SE refresh there were 6,521 users on Stack Overflow who fulfil these criteria. Obviously, not all of these are there only to a place for spam to reside and a glance at the "About Me" field seems to indicate that the majority of them are normal people.

However, they're certainly not doing anything useful and scrolling through also throws up a fair amount of "people" who are just a URL pointing to a company and a few "people" whose "About Me" field is pure spam.

I would almost be tempted to remove the condition about visiting on a single day, which raises the number to 16,073 users, but I'm not certain about it.

Removing these users will not affect the headline count, which is obviously important to Stack Exchange; but it will help with a clean-up of these users. Those people who are registered aren't going to miss their account and as there's a relatively low barrier to entry it isn't going to be difficult for them to re-register.

I'm not even sure that re-registering would be required; this could easily be implemented by not displaying / soft deleting users that fulfil this criteria but still enabling them to log in thereby "reactivating" the account.

  • It's 56,829 now instead of 16,073.
    Apr 8, 2015 at 5:03

1 Answer 1


We did this for years...

...but it turns out there are entirely too many unloved users for us to delete them all; user deletion is a "heavy" operation on these sites, as we actually scrub a great deal of information associated with users (vs. just setting a "deleted" flag as we do for deleted posts).

Thus, the unloved must necessarily request deletion on their own.

  • 8
    Maybe there should be a status-you-are-behind tag.
    – Mysticial
    Sep 9, 2012 at 18:41
  • 3
    @Myst status-duh?
    – Pekka
    Sep 9, 2012 at 18:42
  • 6
    By "only a fraction of these actually get deleted on each pass." do you mean that there is a limit to the number of users who get deleted each time? Sep 9, 2012 at 18:44
  • 1
    Yes, @Ben. I forget the number, but it is capped.
    – Shog9
    Sep 9, 2012 at 19:13
  • 3
    So, if I were to change the title to "Delete old, unloved, users better" this would no longer be status-completed? Sep 9, 2012 at 19:32
  • 1
    You should probably post that separately, @Ben - it sounds more like a bug report.
    – Shog9
    Sep 9, 2012 at 19:51
  • I thought the user are never deleted based on inactivity or low rep if they have voted at least 1 time... Wasn't that the initial status? Oct 29, 2014 at 13:11
  • 1
    Unregistered users and users with 1 rep can't vote, @РСТȢѸФХѾЦЧШЩЪЫЬѢѤЮѦѪѨѬѠѺѮѰѲѴ
    – Shog9
    Oct 29, 2014 at 18:09
  • related: Spam Profiles are getting my goat. Could we have better tools for mods to deal with profile spam? Looks like spammers have found an unlimited, permanent repository for their content in Stack Exchange profile pages
    – gnat
    Nov 30, 2017 at 13:09

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