When issuing suspensions on a user, the recommended lengths are:

  • 1st suspension: 7 days

  • 2nd suspension: 30 days

  • 3rd suspension: 365 days

However, it was originally:

  • 1st suspension: 7 days

  • 2nd suspension: 30 days

  • 3rd suspension: 120 days or deletion

Why was it originally 7/30/120-or-deletion, but later changed to 7/30/365?

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    I guess you got those numbers from posts? If so, it might be useful to link to them. – Raedwald Oct 29 '19 at 11:49
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    meta.stackexchange.com/questions/222939/… – user271002 Oct 29 '19 at 11:51
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    @Maika_Sakuran0miya I didn't get your ping (and neither did Shog9) - see here for a list of users you can ping. I did happen on the question in the Reopen Votes review queue, which is the correct way to ask to reopen the question. – Glorfindel Nov 25 '19 at 12:21

There's also another reason why accounts are not deleted purely for behavioral reasons if they have contributed any useful posts.

As of 2012 (possibly late 2011?), after the original policy of deleting accounts in such cases was created, the system was changed so that when an account is deleted, their username would be anonymized to their user ID. (Previously, it would just gray out their username without anonymizing it; you may have stumbled across a few old non-migrated posts from grayed out authors.)

This, however, could be considered removing the attribution, which would be a violation of the CC BY-SA license (all versions that SE has used), unless the contributor specifically requested removing it. So, to remain on the safe side, SE changed their policy to not delete accounts unless the user voluntarily requests it or the account has no visible posts. (SE makes it clear to users who request account deletion that they're also requesting under the license to have their attribution removed from all posts.)

(There are two schools of thought regarding user anonymization upon deletion actually removing attribution: some believe that your attribution is being removed since your name is no longer on the post, while others believe that it is not being removed since your user code is still attached to the post, which still uniquely identifies you later on. But as the answer to the latter post says, SE went by the former interpretation.)


On How long does a ban / suspension on an SE site lasts?, Grace Note says:

"7/30/365 is the progression as prescribed by the interface itself for dealing with a user who is a repeat offender, which thus basically means it is what we suggest for moderators ourselves. Originally it was 7/30/120-or-deletion, but since we're no longer really in the punitive deletion methodology, we switched to 365 days."

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    That's what I wanted to post as a comment, because the next question is: Why are they "no longer really in the punitive deletion methodology"? ... – Marco13 Oct 29 '19 at 11:59
  • @Marco13 - because that way, there would be WAY TOO MANY users being perma-banned from here, which would not always be fine for other users, I guess. I don't know, either. I apologize. – user447378 Oct 29 '19 at 12:02
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    Partly because it is so easy for a deleted user just to create a new account, and as they having nothing left to lose, they can't be controlled. – Ian Ringrose Oct 29 '19 at 12:47
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    @IanRingrose I don't see much difference between "banned" and "deleted" here: A banned user could also create a new account. A guess: Is this only related to some trickery along the lines of "you cannot have two accounts with the same email address" or so? (I wasn't so much concerned with the technicalities here yet...) – Marco13 Oct 29 '19 at 16:53
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    @Marco13 The system automatically reinstates any active suspensions if the user deletes and recreates their account, and it also levies an automatic 14-day suspension if the account is deleted for specific reasons. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Nov 1 '19 at 6:12
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    @SonictheReinstateMonica-hog I think it's still relevant for this Q/A to ask: What exactly is this based on, technically? It cannot be the IP address. It cannot be the user name. It could be some cookies, but they can simply be deleted. The most reliable thing might be the e-mail address, but even there, people tend to have more than one (in fact, I have "infinitely many" mail addresses, as in a@example.com,... z@example.com etc). – Marco13 Nov 1 '19 at 13:37
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    @Marco13 It's undisclosed to prevent people from gaming it. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Nov 1 '19 at 17:23
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    @SonictheReinstateMonica-hog Challenge accepted 8-) Just kidding. That's reasonable, of course. – Marco13 Nov 1 '19 at 18:12

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