Yesterday, I had an accepted answer removed on this question (10K), due to the question being removed.

It seems clear that the user was removed.

How did I track this down? Well, my reputation tab shows the following:

enter image description here

Usually, this is much more generic, without any clues to which post was removed (and I thought this was by design):

enter image description here

After an exchange in chat, I was curious if the rules about disclosure had changed. I discovered two interesting things:

  1. Another user, Gordon Linoff, also had an upvoted answer removed from that question. Curious to see if I could see that result in his reputation tab, I found no evidence of the removal - even though, since I'm 10K, I could get that information from the question.

  2. The policy hasn't changed overall, since yet another user, bluefeet, had a post removed yesterday, seemingly for the same reason, but I can see that evidence in her reputation tab - in fact, the second screen shot above is from her rep history.

So, my question, naturally, is why was the deleted post (and removed user) exposed to me, but not to bluefeet?

Other than curiosity, I don't think there really is any benefit to exposing to me which user was removed and which post(s) affected my reputation, but I am curious nonetheless about why this happens in some cases but not others, and why some removals on the rep tab are visible to other users, but apparently not when the post is identified.

  • You still don't really know who was that user as his display name was reset back to its default. This is pretty much an edge case, don't think we need to worry too much. As for the inconsistency with bluefeet, guess it's because the removed user upvoted one of his answers that wasn't posted on his own questions, or something like this causing different behavior. Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 12:57
  • I wonder if that's got something to do with your being a moderator, even though not on the site the issue is related to.
    – Andriy M
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 13:02
  • @ShaWizDowArd yeah I'm not worried about the disclosure of the user or the post, just curious about the difference in behavior.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 13:02
  • 5
    @AndriyM I don't think being a moderator on one site has any influence on the behavior of other sites, but I could be wrong.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 13:02
  • 1
    I don't think it should have that influence either. People make mistakes, though. SO/SE dev team consists of people too, I believe. :)
    – Andriy M
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 13:11

2 Answers 2


The difference is between user removal and post removal.

When a user is removed, the votes that the removed user cast are nullified (except, iirc, if it was a very active user, the votes remain, since removing them would have too much impact, and allow inferring his/her voting pattern).

Such reputation events are public (as witnessed in bluefeet's profile), but neither the profile owner, nor anybody else [except maybe diamonds] can see which posts were affected.

A post removal on the other hand (as is shown in the screenshot from your profile), and the associated reputation change is not public. Only the affected user (and diamonds, as far as I know) can see it in the profile. That's why you (and I) can't see the question removal that sparked this question in Gordon Linoff's profile. I can't see it in yours either:

enter image description here

I can see three user was removed events in Gordon's profile on Jun 15th, and one in yours on May 5th. But of course no post-removal events.

The question in question was indeed removed because the OP's account was deleted. In such an event, the removed user's posts with a negative score are automatically removed some time later (not sure how frequently that job is run).

But the removal of the user and the removal of his/her posts are separate events, usually days or even weeks apart, and are listed separately on the reputation tab.

  • You missed the question at stake: the "user was removed" is public on Bluefeet profile while not public on the OP's profile. Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 14:37
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    @ShaWizDowArd There is no "user was removed" event on Aaron's profile (after 5th of May). The screenshot he posts shows a post removal event. Such are not public. Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 14:39
  • I mean we can see "user was removed" event in bluefeet profile, see yesterday. Same time exactly so it's the same user being removed. Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 15:09
  • 1
    @ShaWizDowArd Most likely it's not. But even if it is, it's another kind of event. removed user was removed is public information. removed [post_title] is not. Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 15:12
  • 1
    The point is that the same user removed does not appear in the OP profile, so the question is why? What's the difference? Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 15:29
  • 3
    @ShaWizDowArd The point I'm trying to make is that it shouldn't, since it was not the removal of the user (and his votes) that affected Aaron's reputation, but the removal of the question. That was caused by the removal of the user, true, but it's not the same event. And I'm rather confident that it was not the removed OP who upvoted Aaron's answer. If it were, that vote removal would have led to a user was removed event. Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 15:35

Here’s what likely happened:

  1. A user, let’s say “Foobar”, posted a question
  2. Aaron posted an answer
  3. Gordon posted an answer
  4. Foobar up-voted Aaron’s and Gordon’s answers
  5. Foobar accepted Aaron’s answer and, having accomplished their goal, left
  6. bluefeet posted an answer
  7. Someone else, let’s say “Baz”, up-voted bluefeet’s answer
  8. Later, Foobar was deleted
  9. Foobar’s posts are deleted, including the question, um, in question, and everybody’s answers to it
  10. Reputation is updated from removal of Foobar’s question and its answers:
    • Aaron lost 15 from losing Foobar’s up-vote and accept
    • Gordon lost 10 from losing Foobar’s up-vote
    • bluefeet lost 10 from Baz’s up-vote
  11. Rep-change messages are posted to profiles:
    • Aaron sees Your post was deleted: Foobar’s removal directly affected Aaron’s post
    • Gordon sees Your post was deleted: Foobar’s removal directly affected Gordon’s post
    • bluefeet sees User was removed: Foobar indirectly affected bluefeet’s post (Baz still exists)

This is indeed confusing because bluefeet sees a message saying that a user was removed, but Baz was not removed; their vote was removed because bluefeet’s answer was removed because Foobar was removed. I tried considering it the other way around where Baz voted for Aaron and Gordon and Foobar voted for bluefeet, but that made even less sense.

This version fits the events (knowing for sure would require an SE dev with access to the code), but it highlights the ambiguity of the wording of the message. Though to be honest, it doesn’t really matter in the end; a user was removed which had a cascade effect that ultimately cost or gained you some reputation. What does it matter which user or even which post was affected? The reputation change had nothing to do with you or other users that voted for your post, it was due only to the user that was removed, and so there is no action for you to take.

  • As I said in my question, and in comments, it doesn't matter which user or which post. Some people seem to be extremely curious about that; however, I thought I had made it quite clear that I am not. I was merely trying to determine the reason for the differences in behavior.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 0:22
  • And I explained what likely caused the difference; whether or not the user that was removed directly or indirectly caused the change in reputation.
    – Synetech
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 0:35
  • I know that. But then you asked What does it matter which user or even which post was affected? I don't understand the point of this, since if you read the entire question, you would have realized that it does not matter to me.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 0:36
  • That wasn’t directly in response to you, it just naturally followed from the rest of the response. If you read my post, you would see that I explained what likely happened, explained that the wording is indeed confusing, but explained why it doesn’t matter.
    – Synetech
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 0:49
  • Also, this blog entry shows that they show links to posts that were removed, but says nothing about the removal being due to another user’s removal. In fact, it makes me wonder if you were mistaken to begin with. Are you sure that the question in the list (group and remove duplicate sql server?) even had anything to do with a removed user?
    – Synetech
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 3:23
  • Wait, nevermind, it does. In fact, notice that the OP had switched the accepted answer from Gordon’s to Aaron’s. You can check the progression of that thread to get a better look at what happened.
    – Synetech
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 3:29

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