Well, this is annoying.

Last night some idiot who'd managed to earn the association bonus for his activity on Stack Overflow decided it'd be a brilliant idea to create accounts all over the network and post dozens of comments on other people's posts asking them to take some survey.

Ok, no big deal, suspend him and destroy all these bogus accounts, taking the comments with them.

...oh. Turns out destroying an account doesn't delete the comments. Given the description reads "all content", I'm considering this a bug.

Steps to reproduce

  1. Find a user that has commented somewhere.
  2. Destroy it.
  3. Note that the comments still exist.

Suggested resolution

Since destroying an account already deletes all posts associated with that account (implicitly taking the comments with them), all that's really necessary here is to remove any comments that might remain on 3rd-party posts. So, do that.

  • 38
    Please take my survey here.
    – Taryn
    Feb 26, 2016 at 16:49
  • 32
    P.S. pls also allow "destroy" for high-rep blue-footed employee accounts.
    – Shog9
    Feb 26, 2016 at 16:56
  • Good job I nuked all their comments from Programmers before the account was deleted then ;)
    – ChrisF Mod
    Feb 26, 2016 at 16:59
  • 2
    I second this. I've had multiple instances where spammers have snuck in comments that didn't get deleted. It's a real pain to seek those out after the user is destroyed. Feb 26, 2016 at 17:02
  • Hey, you're a user that has commented somewhere...
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Feb 26, 2016 at 17:47
  • 27
    We'll review this on our Monday call for implementing next week. I think we can test it on @Shog9's account.
    – Haney
    Feb 26, 2016 at 17:49
  • @Haney or just burn all Shog's socks... :D Feb 26, 2016 at 18:24
  • 7
    Testing stuff like this is why I have socks...
    – Shog9
    Feb 26, 2016 at 18:25
  • 5
    @Sha but then what would Shog do in a cold day in winter?
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 26, 2016 at 19:46
  • @Haney any updates, two and half days after Big Monday? :) Mar 1, 2016 at 20:04
  • 2
    @ShadowWizard Oded's on it, so in progress.
    – Haney
    Mar 2, 2016 at 6:20
  • Thanks @Haney now that it's done, which of the three diamonds will add the status-completed? :-) Mar 2, 2016 at 14:05
  • 1
    @Sha - the implementing diamond, who else?
    – Oded
    Mar 2, 2016 at 14:06
  • @Oded well, thought you might be waiting for confirmation from OP that it's really working or something like that. Mar 2, 2016 at 14:08
  • 6
    @ShadowWizard - no worries. Many a user were sacrificed on my local setup to test this...
    – Oded
    Mar 2, 2016 at 14:16

1 Answer 1



Destroying a spammer will delete all their comments.

  • Out of curiosity, if you track "account destroyed because of spammer", is it possible/reasonable to do a quick "are there comments left by user?" check? Comments do store the display name of the user (which is user12345 style) that could be poked at.
    – user213963
    Mar 2, 2016 at 14:45
  • @MichaelT - not sure I follow. This feature deletes any comments by such a user.
    – Oded
    Mar 2, 2016 at 14:48
  • Going forward, yes. Might just be interesting to see if there are historical comments out there now that are problematic that would have been deleted by this if it were implemented in the past.
    – user213963
    Mar 2, 2016 at 14:49
  • Ah, probably a few. Not sure we have the data.
    – Oded
    Mar 2, 2016 at 14:54
  • Something along the lines of select C.postid, C.id from users U join comments C on (C.userid = U.id) where U.isspammer = 'Y' given the super database access that SE devs have? Or select ... from comments C where C.UserDisplayName in (list of spammer display names after destruction)?
    – user213963
    Mar 2, 2016 at 14:58
  • We actually hard delete spammers records...
    – Oded
    Mar 2, 2016 at 15:15
  • Yep, but the UserDisplayName in comments of hard deleted users still contains text like "user12345". If you know (from a log file) that network account #12345 was a spammer, you can reconstruct what the user display name in comments would be and just see how prevalent this issue was in the past. For example (and I know this wasn't a spammer but is a deleted user) data.stackexchange.com/meta.programmers/query/350156
    – user213963
    Mar 2, 2016 at 15:25
  • Not a bad idea, just not sure how useful the data would be. Perhaps Shog9 or one of the CMs can take a look.
    – Oded
    Mar 2, 2016 at 15:31
  • Its more an indication of how much spam does get through and remains, some hints about the activities of spammers that are not detected immediately, a look at how much development prioritization needs to be done on spam blocking for comments (not just posts), and a look at possible ways to indicate 'something fishy' with comments via the flag process (aside, I miss the 10k flag handling and believe that 10k flag handling for comment flags could be a way of helping offload some mod work). Its more a "there is data out there that might be useful now that you're looking in its direction."
    – user213963
    Mar 2, 2016 at 15:35
  • FYI. Aug 2, 2016 at 14:53

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