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.

  • 36
    Please take my survey here. – Taryn Feb 26 '16 at 16:49
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    P.S. pls also allow "destroy" for high-rep blue-footed employee accounts. – Shog9 Feb 26 '16 at 16:56
  • Good job I nuked all their comments from Programmers before the account was deleted then ;) – ChrisF Feb 26 '16 at 16:59
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    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. – Brad Larson Feb 26 '16 at 17:02
  • Hey, you're a user that has commented somewhere... – Kit Z. Fox Feb 26 '16 at 17:47
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    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 '16 at 17:49
  • @Haney or just burn all Shog's socks... :D – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Feb 26 '16 at 18:24
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    Testing stuff like this is why I have socks... – Shog9 Feb 26 '16 at 18:25
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    @Sha but then what would Shog do in a cold day in winter? – M.A.R. Feb 26 '16 at 19:46
  • @Haney any updates, two and half days after Big Monday? :) – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Mar 1 '16 at 20:04
  • 1
    @ShadowWizard Oded's on it, so in progress. – Haney Mar 2 '16 at 6:20
  • Thanks @Haney now that it's done, which of the three diamonds will add the status-completed? :-) – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Mar 2 '16 at 14:05
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    @Sha - the implementing diamond, who else? – Oded Mar 2 '16 at 14:06
  • @Oded well, thought you might be waiting for confirmation from OP that it's really working or something like that. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Mar 2 '16 at 14:08
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    @ShadowWizard - no worries. Many a user were sacrificed on my local setup to test this... – Oded Mar 2 '16 at 14:16


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 '16 at 14:45
  • @MichaelT - not sure I follow. This feature deletes any comments by such a user. – Oded Mar 2 '16 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 '16 at 14:49
  • Ah, probably a few. Not sure we have the data. – Oded Mar 2 '16 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 '16 at 14:58
  • We actually hard delete spammers records... – Oded Mar 2 '16 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 '16 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 '16 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 '16 at 15:35
  • FYI. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Aug 2 '16 at 14:53

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