This question is triggered by a discussion in Tavern on the Meta. Shog9 provided us with data on chat activity and after the Stack Overflow criticism "Suffering on Stack Overflow" the chat activity noticably drops (not only in the JavaScript sites).

The thing is that I also analyzed the number of users in Interpersonal Stack Exchange (admittedly more crude, only month datapoints) and asked in chat if there is a drop. The more accurate data provided showed only a barely noticable (if at all) drop.

As Shog suggested in chat, I ask here if we have a noticable increase of users deleting their profile on all sites, separated by all, min 1000 reputation and 5000 reputation. This may be not so noticeable with a stream of incoming new users, but if the current route of march is answered by an exodus of (experienced!) users than we definitely should overthink this. I also admit that it may be not so easy to separate necessary (GDPR!) and intentional (Code of Conduct) influences, but we should look out what the data says.

  • 3
    I'd say the increase, if exists, is mainly due to making the deletion process MUCH more simple and accessible. Jul 9, 2018 at 21:35
  • @ShadowWizard Since when is the deletion process more simple and accessible? Jul 9, 2018 at 21:40
  • Turns out almost a year. :/ Jul 9, 2018 at 21:47
  • 2
    @ShadowWizard I am pining to be young again, too. Then a year was at least noticeable. Jul 9, 2018 at 21:55

1 Answer 1


Couple of caveats here...

  1. People who are fed up with the way things work around here don't necessarily delete their accounts... They may just walk away; become less active; spend more time on meta.

  2. I can't readily classify deleted accounts by reputation. They don't have reputation. They're deleted. I could, with some effort, make a reasonable guess... But it would take a long time to do that, and I'm not that curious. I generally have to approve high-rep user deletions, and I generally approve a couple of them a week.

With that out of the way... Here's a funky chart showing all user deletions, network-wide, over the past two years, categorized by the reason for deletion:

chart of deletions by month over time. Totals for the past two years: 473,619: inactive user, 144,896: reasons of moderation, 89,740: self-deletion, 44,469: merge,  6,589: assisted self-deletion,    414: network-destroy,    355: underaged,    203: approved self-deletion,     44: GDPR

As you can see, there was a spike in self-deletions in May, though this appears to have subsided.

Extracting only self-deletions from this list, here's how they break down by site over the same time period:

chart of user self-deletions over the past 24 months, broken out by site

  • 3
    How would I avail of account deletion via serpent-wielding Englishmen?
    – muru
    Jul 10, 2018 at 0:35
  • Thanks. What was that gigantic spike of moderation deletions at the start of 2018? Jul 10, 2018 at 0:44
  • 2
    Spammers, @ThorstenS. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/306145/…
    – Shog9
    Jul 10, 2018 at 0:48
  • Wow. Just...wow. Jul 10, 2018 at 0:55
  • 6
    "Serpent-wielding Englishman"?
    – Catija
    Jul 10, 2018 at 2:20
  • 2
    What counts as an assisted self-deletion vs approved? In general, I think the infrequency across the network of either of the two over the course of the last two says a lot on its own.
    – Catija
    Jul 10, 2018 at 3:11
  • 2
    Assisted = you email us and we delete for you. Approved = I have to click a button before that deletion actually happened. Approved could be a rough proxy for active user deletions in this context @Catija
    – Shog9
    Jul 10, 2018 at 3:21
  • 1
    Re: Approved. that's about what I figured. Might be interesting to see a per-site breakdown of those. I'm guessing Assisted are a mixed bag between low and high rep users.
    – Catija
    Jul 10, 2018 at 3:24
  • 1
    All sockpuppets and patriarchs.
    – Shog9
    Jul 10, 2018 at 3:25
  • 1
    Wouldn't those be "reasons of moderation"? I assumed "you email us and we delete for you" means "user contacts CMs and requests account deletion and the CMs comply"... no?
    – Catija
    Jul 10, 2018 at 3:27
  • 1
    Actual "mod deleted this for being a sockpuppet" falls under moderation, yes @cat. I was being tongue in cheek - requested deletions that require approval generally fall under the category of "lots of voting for some probably but not necessarily legit reason" - regardless of how the request gets put into the system.
    – Shog9
    Jul 10, 2018 at 3:30
  • 1
    @Catija Since we implemented the new deletion system, we have a policy of not assisting in deletion anymore through support tickets - you have to go do it yourself or it doesn't happen. The only ones we really delete that would show up as assisted nowadays would be abandoned accounts that are old and never used and it's not worth hasseling someone to recover an account that never did anything - essentially stuff that would be auto-deleted as abandoned anyways. (That's why there's a noticeable drop in assisted deletions last year.)
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jul 10, 2018 at 4:23
  • 1
    Thanks @animuson That helps a lot. :) I was still struggling a bit with Shog's cheekiness.
    – Catija
    Jul 10, 2018 at 4:24
  • "spend more time on meta" Lmao.
    – rus9384
    Feb 5, 2019 at 20:58

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