Usually deleted users show up like this. Their posts are disassociated and anonymized leaving only a user card with their user ID, like this:

deleted account

Users can also request disassociation:

disassociated account

However, I came across an answer and a question with a user card that resembles a deleted user (anonymous profile picture, no profile link, blank reputation or badges) but includes a username. How does this happen? If you delete your account, it doesn't keep your name.

enter image description here

1 Answer 1


Essentially... we changed how we delete accounts. We used to retain the username on deleted accounts, and then we decided to revert to the default username. According to Further anonymize deleted accounts by changing the username in close/delete notices we completed the request to anonymize accounts in 2018 but it looks like (based on a comment) the change of usernames to user ID happened in 2011.

This causes a problem for account deletions prior to 2011 where the displayed username in most places would not be changed to their user code before deletion.

  • So ejack is some user who deleted their account before 2012 or whenever they made that change. Got it. Thanks. Dec 18, 2020 at 2:56
  • Yeah, I'm going to guess there's a mention of it somewhere on MSE from when we changed this policy but I wasn't able to find it. That said, the account you reference (1228) in the first part of the question was deleted in 2019, so that widens the period significantly.
    – Catija
    Dec 18, 2020 at 3:04
  • Ah, found it. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/155901/…
    – Catija
    Dec 18, 2020 at 3:05
  • That seems to be about in close notices, but not usercards Dec 18, 2020 at 3:06
  • 1
    If anything, that linked question proves that we started anonymizing those names before 2012 if there was a question asking us to expand it to the close and deleted notices. I believe the actual change occurred in 2010? But I don't recall. I'm not sure there was a meta request for it - was just something we started doing.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Dec 18, 2020 at 3:10
  • @animuson is there even a way to find the user ID for the deleted user in the example? I couldn't find anything... not even in SEDE... so it doesn't seem like I can even get to the stub, which means that flipping to the userID actually helps us and mods see who the user was and why (and when) the profile was deleted.
    – Catija
    Dec 18, 2020 at 3:13
  • I'm not sure if 2011 is even the correct year. That number in the comment you quoted (made by me) was just off the top of my head. Dec 18, 2020 at 3:15

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