I'm poking around doing some moderator-y stuff and I'm hitting a dead end because one of the chat users I'm trying to investigate have a deleted account as their chat parent. Because of this, I can't see their network account at all.
They still have chat reputation - so I'm assuming they still have an account on the network somewhere because, according to this 2016 answer from Shog9, once all site accounts are removed, so too is the chat account.
So, there are really a few problems here...
- I can't get to a network account to see all of their site memberships.
- The system should not allow users to have a deleted account as a chat parent.
- Deleting an account should deduct the reputation lost when doing so without requiring the user to visit chat.
Point one is addressed in this 2015 Feature Request asking for a network account link. Additionally, this seems like a good solution for this issue as balpha admitted back in 2012 that for chat.SE, the concept of a "Chat Parent" is pretty much obsolete, so linking to the Network profile instead or in addition would be helpful. I do recognize that the chat parent is used for some things, such as denoting moderator accounts and possibly suspending a chat account along with a site suspension.
Point two is a known issue from 2012 that doesn't seem to be fixed, likely because chat is (understandably) not particularly high-priority, though a couple of moderators have asked for updates in both 2014 and 2016. It's also something that Monica Cellio encouraged in a related answer to a question about deleting chat accounts with a deleted chat parent account.
Point three seems to require the user actually visiting chat again after deleting their account for it to be updated, based on a recent comment from animuson here, so whether or not the user has any reputation is in limbo until they visit chat, which makes it impossible to tell whether they have any accounts on the network or not... again making point one valuable. As a note, I've attempted to refresh the user's chat profile but it had no effect on either their chat parent or reputation, perhaps it should? This would be an easy way for moderators to update the chat account status.
In writing this, I've learned a lot about how chat profiles are managed and mismanaged and I hope that collecting it here helps others... but I'd really love it if this became obsolete because we addressed the concerns here, some of which are pretty long standing, particularly points one and two.