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, 2013 at 11:14
  • Wouldn't be easier to just not allow the OpenID of a deleted account to be re-used?
    – yannis
    Nov 9, 2013 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 Nov 9, 2013 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, 2013 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, 2013 at 11:41
  • 3
    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, 2013 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. Nov 9, 2013 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. Nov 9, 2013 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. Nov 9, 2013 at 12:02
  • 3
    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. Nov 9, 2013 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. Nov 9, 2013 at 12:17
  • 3
    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 StaffMod
    Nov 9, 2013 at 18:43
  • 2
    @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? Nov 9, 2013 at 18:46
  • 5
    @Anna Facebook being Facebook, you can rest assured they retain everything :)
    – Pekka
    Nov 9, 2013 at 19:25
  • 4