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I was Aaron Liu, user572982 on this site, and all my accounts got mysteriously deleted May 1st, 2020 at 10 AM UTC under mysterious circumstances.

I have just asked a question on this very site, and was editing a question on superuser.se until a message appeared stating an error occured. I had an account on Retrocomputing (with pretty high rep), an account on Puzzling, an account on Stack Overflow (forgot questions but I know it's user5153901), etc. I reloaded the page and found out that I wasn't logged in!

I tried every other site that I had an account, and none worked! How do I restore it? If I can't, why was I deleted from the entire network?

This very question was delayed by some time due to "You can only post once every 40 minutes.", which means that I am still somehow linked to my deleted old account.

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    How old are you (if you're willing to share)? There have been some account deletions when folks were found not to be over 13 (16 in the EU). First thing I can think of, not necessarily the actual reason.
    – Jenayah
    May 1 '20 at 10:40
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    I am already over that.
    – user761964
    May 1 '20 at 10:42
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    Heh, I just lost 10 rep on Puzzling due to a deleted user. I bet that was you ...
    – Glorfindel Mod
    May 1 '20 at 10:46
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    You can use this form to contact staff to see what they can do meta.stackexchange.com/contact
    – Mark Kirby
    May 1 '20 at 10:48
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Your "about me" section stated you were under 13, which means we can't store any of your data. Upon account deletion, the system should've shot you an email with some information about why this happened too — please check your inbox for it.

Unfortunately, that means I'll have to delete this profile now too. If you think this was a misunderstanding, please reach out via the contact form and our support team will try to help.

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    Wouldn't it be better that you ask first and delete later? Someone could have obsolete information in their profile. Also how about making that age requirement prominent when new users sign up and explain what will happen if they are not old enough and SE finds that out. It is currently buried in terms of service. As much as you are not legally allowed to store their information, you are actively hurting those kids by deleting their accounts. May 1 '20 at 13:44
  • @ResistanceIsFutile you have a very good point. I had to check what the registration form looked like. A lot of places have a tickbox that says "I am over 13 years old" or something to that effect but nothing like it here. It's not even mentioned anywhere on that page. The text about agreeing to the terms of service is literally the small print on the page.
    – VLAZ
    May 1 '20 at 13:53
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    Wait, I also get the expectation people will read the TOS. It's ambitious bordering wishful thinking but whatever. I do read the TOS before signing but I am aware I'm in the extreme minority. At any rate, let's assume slightly more people did that. Would you expect kids to also read and understand the TOS? Say, a 8 or a 10 year old comes in and tries to make an account - should they be expected to read the whole of the terms of service before signing, then realise they are outside the age eligibility range? That seems...even more or a wishful thinking.
    – VLAZ
    May 1 '20 at 14:02
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    @VLAZ all kids I know always go through and understand TOS... Er... maybe that was The Original Series... May 1 '20 at 14:18
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    Obviously, he meant to type '18' and the 13 was just a typo... Kind of unforgiving to just delete based on random text which could be a mistake, a typo, a joke, or just old info. May 1 '20 at 16:16
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    Isn't revision information available to see when the "13" was added to the user profile's "About Me" section? At the very least, the data dumps (plural, released every 3 months(?)) contain this information (with that time resolution). May 1 '20 at 18:07
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    @ResistanceIsFutile Are they legally even allowed to wait for clarification once they suspect a user is under 13 (or 16)? At that point it could be argued that they're intentionally storing information about a minor instead of just on accident.
    – BSMP
    May 1 '20 at 18:22
  • Yeah - no way are SO going to give prosecution lawyers a free shot. May 2 '20 at 6:33
  • @BSMP IANAL but there is always some grace period for resolving potential issues. Also, as far as I know, they are allowed to store parent's data, so if the find suspicious account they could easily resolve issue by changing account owner to the parent and clearing problematic information in account profile. In any case, nobody is going to sue SO for storing kids data, during some small period of time while they try to understand what is going on. May 2 '20 at 8:30

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