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I have searched around meta but did not find much information regarding the dissociation of posts. I, however, happened to stumble across this faq question, "How do I remove my name from a post, in accordance with CC:WIKI?" which clears a part of my question regarding how you'd dissociate a name from a post, but there are still a few questions which I did not get clarity on. They are:

  1. What are the conditions for a post to be dissociated from a particular user? I'm guessing that just any post cannot be dissociated, because if it could, then everybody who happened to post a question/answer which got a lot of downvotes(for various reasons) would like to get that dissociated (rather than delete it) so that they don't keep losing further reputation from it.

  2. The next question derives from the first. If the dissociation is just allowed like that, is that going to affect the ban-system? Lets say, a user posts a few questions/answers and all get downvoted heavily. The automatic ban system kicks in and bans the user from posting further posts. To avoid this, the user might get those posts dissociated from themselves to avoid the auto-ban and keep posting. Although it may not happen that frequently, you just never know.

So is there any concrete documentation regarding this and if not, I'd really like the answers to the questions posted above to be used as a reference for later.

P.S: There could be more to this, and anybody having any more questions can pitch in so that we can make this a good reference for the future.

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    Dissociation is a manual process. Anyone can request a dissociation, you are entitled to this under the terms of the site. Presumably that means the post no longer counts against a ban either. – Martijn Pieters Mar 19 '14 at 11:35
  • @MartijnPieters - So a user who just happens to post a lot of downvoted posts can dissociate themselves from it and escape the ban? Wouldn't that be a sort of gaming the system? – SudoRahul Mar 19 '14 at 11:38
  • Note that people end up in the ban usually because they don't know how the site works. The vast majority never learn about the option. – Martijn Pieters Mar 19 '14 at 11:40
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    @Ɍ.Ɉ it still requires a moderator to do that. I assume that moderators are not part of the game. If a user is banned and they request dissociation I expect the mod handling that request will make sure the ban stays in place... – rene Mar 19 '14 at 11:42
  • Off late, I've seen quite a few people with decent enough reputation end up getting banned(I don't have much proof to support this), but nevertheless, I feel that if someone stumbles upon this option(like I did), there is a minimal chance of this happening. Also, its got a lot to do with my curiosity regarding "How the site works?" too :) – SudoRahul Mar 19 '14 at 11:43
  • @rene - Quite possible, but lets say that the user is on the verge of ban(or atleast feels so) and gets dissociated before the auto-ban system kicks in. What then? Do the moderators pitch in there as well? – SudoRahul Mar 19 '14 at 11:44
  • @rene: Mods can't do that. Team members can. And anybody abusing the system can get the old fashioned ban, so that always helps keeping heads down. – user1228 Mar 19 '14 at 11:44
  • @Won't Ah, the whole process is handled without regular mods being informed and/or involved then? Or is there something logged on the profile? – rene Mar 19 '14 at 11:48
  • @rene: mods don't have the ability to change ownership. And they aren't notified of disassociations, because why. I don't know if it goes in the user's history; I never ran across it, but it's so rare that I wouldn't be surprised if that's why. They may be involved if a user flags and asks. – user1228 Mar 19 '14 at 11:53
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According to the terms of our license, you have the right to be disassociated from your contributions at your discretion. The provision in the license allows for a collaborative work taking a turn that one of its contributors doesn't wish to be associated with, but the reason doesn't much matter in implementation.

If you request that a large percentage of your posts be disassociated from your account, we might request that you simply request account deletion (which attributes your posts to an anonymous user), and start over.

One can not simply keep requesting disassociation in order to continue to work around the quality ban. Our support system keeps track of the requests (and we do ensure that you own the posts when you request this) - if we've disassociated posts at your request in the past and you keep hitting a post block, we'll simply remove your account to honor your request, and prevent you from returning to participate again for the next year.

Both matters tend to be private between users and us (Stack Exchange), so there's not much more to elaborate on. Yes, users have the right to request it, yes - we honor those requests (though, sometimes, not the way that the user would have hoped) and no, you can't game post blocks by doing this - we keep track of it.

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    Tim Post is Stack Exchange's NSA department. He knows. – animuson Mar 19 '14 at 13:00
  • Account deletion does not quite do the same thing as dissociation: it leaves user Id in place. With a Google search or SEDE query it does not take long to find other posts and comments by the same user, and comment chains usually have the former user's name. The problem would be solved if users could request account deletion with additional option of all their posts attributed to "anon". – How About a Nice Big Cup of Mar 19 '14 at 13:08
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    Patient: "Doc, can you help me with my headache please?". Doc: "Sure!" (pulls out a huge cleaver and chop patient's head) :-D – Shadow The Princess Wizard Mar 19 '14 at 13:11
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    @127.0.9.6 Unless it's a ton of posts, we'll probably just disassociate them normally. And, previous database dumps will still contain the user's info, so no matter how we do it, it's not difficult to reconstruct who owned the post. – Tim Post Mar 19 '14 at 13:14
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    The post misses one serious consequence that happens in practice: people for requesting a couple of posts to be disassociated might end up in relatively long bans and even "account-deletion" without approval from the OP, even it happens on a different site (Meta) and they are otherwise helping a lot of people out on e.g. Stack Overflow (Main). This is a sad, but unfortunately true story to read to see that it is not pure imagination. – lpapp Aug 20 '14 at 13:51
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There are generally no limits on requesting disassociation, any reasonable request is granted. I'm not sure how far the licence actually requires to anonymize posts, and as I'm not a laywer I'm not even going to try to give an answer to this.

The issue of abuse of disassociation is an entirely separate issue. It is not even necessary to decline disassociation requests to deal with this, SE can simply anonymize the posts and manually suspend the user for low-quality posts. Anonymizations are manually performed by SE employees, any misuse is likely to get spotted by them.

In practice this is not really an issue as far as I know. The kind of user that hits the question ban is unlikely to know about this rather obscure feature.

  • That's a good point you've made about the abuse of the system. I probably did not think much on that aspect actually. But then, I'm still unclear on the effect dissociation has on the auto-ban system, because what I read from your answer is that, in cases like these, though rare, the auto-ban system is cheated and it is the SE staff who have to pitch in to impose the post ban. Am I correct in inferring that? – SudoRahul Mar 19 '14 at 11:50
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    Disassociated posts don't count for the auto-ban, that is correct. – Mad Scientist Mar 19 '14 at 11:52
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    Question is, should we advice users who are "on the edge" to ask for such a thing? I did it once or twice but not sure it was wise as others might exploit it. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Mar 19 '14 at 11:56
  • @ShadowWizard I wouldn't do that. If they make a reasonable post on meta they usually get enough upvotes on their old posts to evade the ban. Sometimes an SE dev also disassociates their worst post, but that is not something I would explicitly advertise – Mad Scientist Mar 19 '14 at 12:03

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