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Sometimes, suspended users request deletion, which is usually provided to them.

However, if they log in again with the same OpenID, a new profile is created (attached to the same network account), with a new association bonus. No traces of their previous incarnation is left (not the deleted posts, nor the suspension record, etc).

In the case that sparked this request, a user was suspended and later self-deleted. He came back to that site much later, and started causing the same problems, asking the same types of bad questions. If the account hadn't been deleted, the first bad question would be a resuspension. Instead, the mods have to go through the intermediate steps of commenting and mod messaging because they don't know that the user has been warned before. In this case, fortunately the mods remembered and re-suspended.

If a user with some record of undesired activity requests deletion and re-logs in with the same network account, the account should be undeleted. Or moderators should at least get an indication somewhere that this is a reincarnation of a deleted account which has received this-and-this mod message before (and whatever other data is needed to ease the handling of the user).

Ideally, this feature request would cover this, but that one is broader.

  • This would be especially helpful in the case of known trolls! – Rory Alsop Nov 9 '13 at 11:14
  • Wouldn't be easier to just not allow the OpenID of a deleted account to be re-used? – yannis Nov 9 '13 at 11:19
  • @Yannis yes, and that is in the pipeline for spam-deleted accounts already. But I think they want to allow deleted users to come back – Manishearth Nov 9 '13 at 11:20
  • @Manishearth Well, then perhaps all we need is for an (CM-only?) option to put some deleted accounts' OpenIDs (e.g. known trolls) in the same trashbin we put the spam-deleted accounts ones. – yannis Nov 9 '13 at 11:22
  • So instead of not being able to "wipe their record", you're really asking to maintain participation info, up to an indication of any bad activity/suspension, etc.? – Bart Nov 9 '13 at 11:41
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    Aren't there any legal (or moral) issues with this? Are you allowed to keep a record if you wiped an account as requested? – rene Nov 9 '13 at 11:58
  • @Bart This stuff is already retained, to some extent. Not all of the info, of course. Note that the user has only left the site, not the network, and has reassociated their account. – Manishearth Nov 9 '13 at 12:00
  • @rene No legal issues. There are various levels of account deletion, but the usual one available to mods (also used in case of requested deletions) maintains a small (non-mod-accessible) record. – Manishearth Nov 9 '13 at 12:01
  • @Yannis that would work, except that the spam system is network-wide, and I'm not sure how such a deletion would affect their other accounts. – Manishearth Nov 9 '13 at 12:02
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    I think that such account should simply get suspended as soon as it's created, until the original suspension is over. And of course, suspension/warnings history available for moderators. – Shadow Wizard Nov 9 '13 at 12:03
  • @ShaWizDowArd But what if the user comes back after their erstwhile suspension is over. In this case, a user who was suspended (and then self-deleted), came back a month later, and started causing the same problems. Usually, that means an immediate suspension. But the mods don't have any way of knowing that this user has been warned/suspended before, except memory. – Manishearth Nov 9 '13 at 12:17
  • @Yannis, "Wouldn't be easier to just not allow the OpenID of a deleted account to be re-used?" -- but then people who behave badly are encouraged to create a new OpenID account? It seems we'd lose valuable information then. (Sure some are smart enough to do so already; just wondering if we should make it easier for others.) – Arjan Nov 9 '13 at 12:25
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    Soft-deletion for users is on our list of things to work on. No ETA yet since there are many issues to work out there, not all of them technical. For one, @Manishearth, you're seemingly forgetting about all the users who delete their accounts who weren't suspended and aren't abusing the system in any way. – Adam Lear Nov 9 '13 at 18:43
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    @psubsee2003 guess it's related to privacy - suppose you ask to delete your account from Facebook, you won't be happy to know they still have everything you ever wrote stored forever. Anna, am I right about this? – Shadow Wizard Nov 9 '13 at 18:46
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    @Anna Facebook being Facebook, you can rest assured they retain everything :) – Pëkka Nov 9 '13 at 19:25

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