We recently had this Meta question on Ask Ubuntu which showed that "Mik" had cast a close-vote on one of the questions however his profile wasn't linked. It became clear later on in the answers and comments that Mik's profile is now deleted and hence his name is not linked to his profile.

Another example for same user:

question closed by Mik

But then, why isn't the name of the user obfuscated like it gets done for posts/comments once the user gets deleted?

marked as duplicate by Sonic the Reinstate Monica-hog, Robert Longson, Pika the Wizard of the Whales, ben is uǝq backwards, Glorfindel Jan 24 at 17:44

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  • Interesting; in the Android app, his name appears as "Community" – Chris Forrence Feb 28 '14 at 12:18
  • Fun fact: if a user votes to close a post, later changes his name, and then removes the account at some later time, the original name -- not the mot-recent one -- is what appears in the notice. (But if he doesn't delete the account, it gets updated because it's a link to the account.) – Monica Cellio Mar 10 '14 at 14:12

I don't think this is a bug.

Usernames on user-contributed content (posts, comments) are obfuscated because user account deletion is the means through which a user may insist that Stack Exchange remove their names from their posts. The right of an author to insist on this, for collections containing their work or adaptations of it, is provided for by the CC-BY-SA license that applies to all user-created content. See the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license (and the full text and attribution chart).

If You create a Collection, upon notice from any Licensor You must, to the extent practicable, remove from the Collection any credit as required by Section 4(c), as requested. If You create an Adaptation, upon notice from any Licensor You must, to the extent practicable, remove from the Adaptation any credit as required by Section 4(c), as requested.

Thus, the purpose of obfuscating a username is not to blot out evidence of their past presence or obfuscate all their actions. The name of a deleted user who voted to close a question (which was then closed) should remain, for the same reasons we can see it for users whose accounts currently exist. For example, it often helps in figuring out why a question was closed and users can search for abusive closure patterns (no reason for this ability to be limited to moderators).

I'm not a lawyer, but I can't see any reason CC-BY-SA would require credit be removed from close votes, nor any reason it would be helpful to remove it. It's helpful for that information to remain visible, and probably not helpful for it to be removed.

Unless there is unintentionally inconsistent behavior in the display of usernames for deleted close voter accounts, I don't think there is a bug here. I do share your curiosity as to why the Community bot sometimes does appear as a close voter, though.

  • I always thought SE obfuscated usernames in order to protect the privacy of deleted users. Never read the CC license in detail so didn't know that it was one of the requirements of the license for SE to obfuscate the usernames :-) – Aditya Feb 28 '14 at 21:39
  • 1
    That question about Community ♦ user casting a close vote has been answered after migration to MSO.. – Aditya Apr 5 '14 at 19:48

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