According to Section 3(a)(1)(A) of the Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license, you need to retain the name of the creator when sharing licensed material.

  1. If You Share the Licensed Material (including in modified form), You must:

    A. retain the following if it is supplied by the Licensor with the Licensed Material:

    i. identification of the creator(s) of the Licensed Material and any others designated to receive attribution, in any reasonable manner requested by the Licensor (including by pseudonym if designated);


Deleting an account dissociates the user's pseudonym from their content against their will. The question no longer displays the creator's name in the main UI or in the edit log.

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    Do you have an example of an account deletion that was not done on request of the owner and that has non-deleted posts associated with it? – Bart van Ingen Schenau Dec 11 '19 at 19:27
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    @BartvanIngenSchenau Mark da Silva says it happened to him Some commenters are skeptical that it happened. He has since provided screenshots. I haven't looked into it enough to have an opinion about who is right. – Stop Harming the Community Dec 11 '19 at 19:33
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    Just to be clear, this is not an issue for voluntary deletions, as the deletion confirm page specifically states you're requesting your attribution be removed. – Sonic the Curiouser Hedgehog Dec 11 '19 at 21:11
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    I suppose this could also apply when SE edits someone's username without their permission, as they've been doing recently -- does it still count as attribution when it's linked to the same account, but you're not allowed to use a name of your choice, and instead are stuck with something like user123456? – Nate S. Dec 11 '19 at 21:56
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    @Bart Happens all the time. Moderators delete accounts found to have been engaging in vote fraud (among other less common reasons). – Cody Gray Dec 11 '19 at 22:06
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    @sonic Should it be possible to delete your account voluntarily while keeping attribution on your work too? – Pricey Dec 11 '19 at 23:43

This looks like a straightforward violation to me. It looks like the easiest fix is to not lose the user's name in this case.

Ensuring that all content is deleted first sounds like it would be a workaround, but technically it's not, since the content is viewable without attribution to users with a high enough rep.

  • Maybe there could be another kind of deletion from the company side, that is more effective. – Trilarion Dec 11 '19 at 22:50

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