37

I was pretty upset the other day, and requested that my account be removed. I filled out the form and didn't cancel the deletion within 24 hours of it being scheduled.

Now, I'm a little sick that I've done this, I acted in what I feel is haste, and I'd like to get my account back. I read in a few places that this is possible, how do I request it?

  • 1
    Out of personal experience, deleting accounts is evil, you will regret it for sure. Extending the grace period for a week or even longer should stop a lot of hearts from breaking ;) – Nean Der Thal Mar 3 '14 at 9:08
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    Maybe 24 hours should be extended to 72 hours. This gives someone who rage quits on a Friday a chance to cool down over the weekend and undo their choice on Monday. – bdoughan Mar 3 '14 at 11:58
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    My stomach dropped for a second when I thought that Tim was asking for himself. – Michael Petrotta Mar 3 '14 at 16:00
  • @anna why revert? – tshepang Mar 6 '14 at 19:23
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    @Tshepang Your edit is unnecessary. Tim's post is written from first person on purpose - it's intended to look like a question another user could ask. – Adam Lear Mar 6 '14 at 19:23
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    @AnnaLear it led me (and a few others) to think it's an actual request (i.e. misleading). Marking it CW isn't enough. – tshepang Mar 6 '14 at 19:31
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    @Tshepang Reading the answer should help with that. :) – Adam Lear Mar 6 '14 at 19:32
35

This is something that we used to be able to do, but simply can't unless your account was deleted erroneously by an employee or moderator. Recently, we made a change that schedules deletions to take place 24 hours after being initiated, a process you can cancel up until the last second by visiting your profile page and clicking the link to abort the deletion. That's .. enough time to really think about it.

If your account was deleted for any other reason than you requesting it, and you feel this was in error, contact the team and let them know. Make sure you include the following information:

  • Your user profile link, or the exact email that was associated with it
  • Any details surrounding any recent actions that were taken against your account (were you contacted by a moderator? Give us the link to the message, etc)

We'll then talk to you via email and see if additional action is warranted.

The take away here is, do not count on an account being salvaged once deleted - there's a 99.9% chance we're going to tell you that we simply can't do it. Deletion is basically a permanent thing, so make certain you really want that to happen prior to requesting it, and take advantage of being able to stop it yourself if you change your mind within 24 hours of it being initiated.

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    +1 but I think that's a great shame. There are many talented contributors on SO who are yet to gain mastery over their emotions. Could we not extend the grace period to a week? – Bathsheba Mar 3 '14 at 8:46
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    @Bathsheba - it can be a harsh lesson to learn, but perhaps it needs to be? – Oded Mar 3 '14 at 10:02
  • @Bathsheba week is way too long in my opinion. Suppose you wanted something - if someone would tell you "No, you don't really want it, wait for a week", wouldn't you protest? I think that one day is just enough. :) – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Mar 3 '14 at 10:15
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    @Bathsheba That would be torture for some people that really need to leave the site because their use of it is interfering in their lives - which is a very common reason folks request deletion. 24 hours is enough to cool down most emotional peaks, and if really unsure someone could cancel it and just request deletion again later. I think the period is pretty optimal, or as optimal as it can be. – Tim Post Mar 3 '14 at 10:49
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    Oh lawd... Was this question triggered by a certain former high-rep community user who recently deleted his account? Ouch. – user1228 Mar 3 '14 at 15:26
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    @Won't Nah, there have been comments here and there for the past couple months about accounts being put back together post-deletion, I just wanted to make sure folks know that almost never happens, and it's not something we can continue to do / support. – Tim Post Mar 3 '14 at 15:55
  • Is this "can't" actually a "can't" (as in, it's a technical issue preventing restoration) or a "won't" (as in, it's a policy issue forbidding it)? – CodesInChaos Mar 5 '14 at 9:00
  • @CodesInChaos It's a technical limitation chiefly. – Tim Post Mar 5 '14 at 9:04
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    @TimPost: But apparently accounts can be restored if they were "deleted erroneously by an employee or moderator". I take it there's a technical difference in how user-initiated account deletions are handled, like a 24-hour timer that's launched by a user deletion but not by an employee or moderator deletion? – Keith Thompson Mar 6 '14 at 19:47
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    @KeithThompson My impression is that the process can require a lot of manual work, and it's only reasonable for them to put in that extra effort when they're at fault. – Jeremy Mar 6 '14 at 20:11

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