I refreshed the page and saw a post by a familiar username (user2726479). This username was familiar because I had flagged a post by that username to get the mods to delete the username (it was mod-wsgi troll post when I flagged it).
I assume that the username had been deleted or some such, because the flag was resolved as helpful. Yet, the username is back.

Now, this could mean that the username wasn't deleted in the first place and Mr. Troll decided to go legit for a while; but I find this highly unlikely.

Hence my question: how are generic usernames generated? What happens to the usernames if/when they are deleted? Is it possible for a deleted username to organically come back to life (be re-issued at a future registration, being brought back to life without a mod artificially giving it life)?

  • Try to find: user2726479 - No users matched your search.
    – raina77ow
    Aug 28, 2013 at 18:44
  • 2
    You memorized the user number of a deleted user? Why?
    – Servy
    Aug 28, 2013 at 18:48
  • Probably cache, such user doesn't exist. Aug 28, 2013 at 18:48
  • The way I see it from here, it's just 'user' + (public user ID); the latest seems to be AI field. For example, at this very moment there's no stackoverflow.com/users/2726689. It's very possible, however, that it will be here when I finish writing this comment. )
    – raina77ow
    Aug 28, 2013 at 18:49
  • @Servy: I didn't meant/try to memorize it. I just look at the usernames when I encounter said troll. Apparently, my brain has passively memorized some of these usernames. I just checked back on the "legit question" and it appears that the troll posted a seemingly legit question and immediately edited it back to the troll question within the initial 3 minute window Aug 28, 2013 at 18:52
  • 1
    @raina77ow not sure it's auto incrementing field, it's proven to be unstable and might have unexplained gaps, they most likely generate it on the fly by keeping track in separate table over the latest ID. Aug 28, 2013 at 18:54
  • Yes, seems like it. Still I wonder, are the records from this table ever deleted. )
    – raina77ow
    Aug 28, 2013 at 18:57
  • 2
    @raina77ow I'm 99.999% sure nothing gets really deleted, everything is "soft" deleted i.e. there is a column such as "IsDeleted" with true/false or "DateDeleted" with the time of deletion, if there's such. Aug 28, 2013 at 19:00
  • Lol, he thinks Community is a person
    – Doorknob
    Aug 28, 2013 at 22:43

1 Answer 1


As far as I can tell, it's simply "user" followed by the unique user ID from the database.

In case you'll ever get deleted, it will be reset to user198633:

That said, smart troll can just change his/her display name to user[whatever he wants] thus confusing his/her enemies. You can tell if he did it by seeing if the number after the 'user' part of the name matches the user number you see in the URL - thank you Andrew for opening my eyes to the obvious! :)

  • 2
    Well, you could tell by seeing if the number after the 'user' part of the name matches the user number. Aug 28, 2013 at 18:53
  • How is this number generated? If I get burninated and so all my posts, is it possible for a new user to get my old/burninated userid (198633)? Aug 28, 2013 at 18:54
  • 2
    @AndrewBarber <slap own head> - blonde moment! Aug 28, 2013 at 18:56
  • @inspectorG4dget see my comment here, though it's just a guess based on what I would do as a programmer. Only a dev can confirm or tell the actual formula that generates the ID. Aug 28, 2013 at 18:59
  • hehe... well, I'm having one of those days, so.... Aug 28, 2013 at 18:59
  • @inspectorg4dget Better ask, are the posts and users here EVER got deleted. )
    – raina77ow
    Aug 28, 2013 at 19:00
  • @raina77ow yep, but that would be a separate question. :-) Aug 28, 2013 at 19:01
  • @Andrew fat finger deleting posts again? :-D Aug 28, 2013 at 19:02

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