I recently learnt that a fervent (if controversial at times) contributor to SO passed away nearly 2 years ago.
His SO profile will be forever there but I was wondering if we should not highlight such profiles so other would at least be informed.

It would also help recognise that there was a real person behind the profile.

The event could be reported by the family or by other high-rep users, with some supporting evidence, like obituaries from local newspapers or funeral homes for instance, with an email sent back to the account owner for manual confirmation (by the family if they have access to the deceased email account) or automatic confirmation after a few days if there was no reply.

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    Surprisingly, this question is very similar to this one: User inactivity due to... well, death. Profile info (Age) keeps adding years, asked specifically after David W. Fenton's passing. – Cody Gray Aug 3 '13 at 10:09
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    Nah, let's not. It's a sympathetic thought, but not a very practical one. The profiles, their activity and their content say enough about them where it concerns SO/SE. That's what it's about after all. Life happens, as does death. Let's not start making a big deal about that. – Bart Aug 3 '13 at 10:17
  • @CodyGray oh wow, I searched for similar questions, but I didn't know that David's passing had already been discussed! I don't like the top comment though, I think something more should be done, maintaining a list of dead contributors would be a preferable, with a link to their profile. – Renaud Bompuis Aug 3 '13 at 10:20
  • It is a nice thought, but I have to say I am with @Bart on this one, as expanded on in my answer. – user226423 Aug 3 '13 at 10:25
  • The top comment is mine, and it doesn't say we should do nothing. I assume you mean the top answer? Fair enough, but also be sure to read the answers to this question, particularly the one from an SE team member. – Cody Gray Aug 3 '13 at 10:31

As much as I agree that nothing needs to be done with respect to any posts they made or their rep scores wherever they may have participated, there is one thing that needs to be taken care of and thats the age field on their profiles.

Rather than continuing to increase, it should :

  • Be frozen, if SE is willing to setup a process for it.
  • Be hidden after a certain duration of inactivity such as just under a year.

This has been discussed in the past here but no consensus was reached.

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    Why does that need to be taken care of? I wouldn't object to it, but I don't see the point. If my profile at some point says "Age 210", I don't even see why that would matter. Heck, I'd say it's rather humorous. – Bart Aug 3 '13 at 10:41
  • @Bart, actually come to think about your point there, I would not be surprised if several members already have peculiar ages in their profiles. – user226423 Aug 3 '13 at 10:47
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    @Damien I know of several users who state their age is >90, even though I'm fairly sure no plastic surgery can make them look that young. – Bart Aug 3 '13 at 10:48
  • @Bart this would not surprise me, nor would people somehow putting multiples of 'pi' in their profile. But in terms of this discussion, it is a good point that most would not pay much attention to the profile age. – user226423 Aug 3 '13 at 10:51
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    The age is determined automatically by the birth date you enter (which is kept private), @damien. So it would be very difficult to make it a multiple of pi. – Cody Gray Aug 3 '13 at 11:00
  • @CodyGray That makes sense and is perfectly understandable. – user226423 Aug 3 '13 at 11:01
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    We havent yet reached a point where people can have 100+ ages, I think. Secondly, this is only for 1) people who are actually serious about their online presence (and thereby enter correct data), and particularly their SE presence; and 2) people who are well known both in and outside SE. @Bart How many present 90+ year old users are there that the community would miss? – asheeshr Aug 3 '13 at 11:02
  • So now you're a) not serious about your SE presence if your age is not correct and b) not eligible if you're not "well known" outside of SE? If those are the criteria this gets a big no from me. – Bart Aug 3 '13 at 11:17
  • @AsheeshR it needs to be left alone.. trust me.. if the account is left open it is because the loved ones have left it open – user310756 Aug 16 '13 at 11:56

As Bart said in the comment - let's just leave the profiles as is. There are a couple of reasons that I can think of:

  • As Bart alluded to, as far as SO/SE is concerned, it is about the content not about the people (this has been mentioned elsewhere on occasion).

  • Also, your suggestion of contacting the family regarding their passed member's account may just cause them more grief. They also need to grieve and move on with their lives.

I know this sounds cold, but if you want to do something in the passed member's honour, just continue with the contributions as they did and would have.

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    +1 However, I must say I like the idea in the other discussion: automatically hide some profile information (including age) when a user hasn't logged in for quite some time. This will avoid ludicrous situations like "Age: 120, last seen 60 years ago" (granted, we're not quite here yet, but you get the idea). But that's as far as I would go. – syam Aug 3 '13 at 10:30
  • @syam yes, I can definitely agree with that. – user226423 Aug 3 '13 at 10:32

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