To provide context (again):

  • For a long while, there's been a feature where users who request deletion of their accounts and meet certain criteria for low activity (currently, not having posted on the site in the past) have their account deleted immediately, rather than having their account's deletion scheduled for 24 hours after they make the request.
  • Additionally, there's a feature where users who've cast a lot of votes will have their deletion request placed on hold for a staff member to review their voting record and determine if their votes should be preserved, in order to prevent disruptive changes to others' reputation, as they would be removed otherwise.

As I found out from the last question I asked, the second bullet above only applies to users whose accounts are scheduled for deletion 24 hours later, i.e. if they don't meet the criteria to have their account deleted immediately. On the other hand, users who do qualify to have their account removed immediately (as they haven't posted anything) will have their votes removed immediately with no staff review even if they've cast a lot of votes that would ordinarily trigger a staff review.

You might think (and initially, I thought) that such users are few and far between. However, in the comments on my prior question, someone brought up a link to an SEDE query that indicates that it's potentially more common, especially with users voting on Hot Network Questions.

As I stated earlier, removing all votes upon user deletion can be disruptive to other users, especially if the user cast a lot of votes. That's the point of the staff check: if a user who requests deletion has cast a lot of votes, the staff check feature ensures that it doesn't cause a widespread, majorly disruptive change to everyone else's reputation. It doesn't make sense to not activate it in the specific case of the user not having enough non-voting activity to have their deletion be scheduled instead of immediate.

I think the best way to solve this issue is to reinstate the prior check that users who've voted more than once will have their account deletion scheduled instead of immediate. This will guarantee a staff review for all users who've cast a lot of votes even if they don't have enough non-voting activity. This check used to be present in the past, but was removed due to an incorrect assumption that users who've voted must have posted in order to gain the rep needed to vote (which is not always true as it ignores the association bonus and rep gained through suggested edits).

There's also another issue: it's been previously discussed that offering a bounty with the association bonus and then deleting and recreating your account to get your reputation back is considered abuse. In the past, users who've offered and awarded a bounty with their bonus and did nothing else on the site would have their deletion scheduled instead of immediate (as the offer and award were considered two votes), whereas now, it's immediate. This makes it more difficult for a moderator to stop the abuse by issuing a suspension before deletion (which will persist on recreated accounts). Re-making the deletion scheduled would allow for that.

I've thought about other ways to solve the main issue above, such as making immediate deletions also qualify for staff review, a solution offered by the staff member who answered my prior question. However, I think this is more complicated to implement in the code, and wouldn't solve the second issue of bounty abuse.

Can we please reinstate the prior check for multiple votes when seeing if a user's deletion needs to be scheduled instead of immediate?

  • 5
    To be fair, simply reinstating the previous criteria wouldn't stop bounty abuse either, because the bounty abuse check was another, separate check from that which was also removed. I think running the same "would this require staff review" check is more beneficial. If their votes would otherwise not be saved at the end of the countdown, I don't see any reason to stop immediate deletion. It also prevents us maintaining different queries in different places. The HasOpenBounty check is easy to re-add separately. It was already a one-line check before. But +1 this should be fixed.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 3:00
  • 2
    Seeing that you would like this fixed, could you add [status-review] @animuson?
    – Luuklag
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 10:03
  • "who've voted more than once will have their account deletion scheduled" Are you saying that just two upvotes at any given time, on maybe two separate sites, means a mod cannot/should not immediately a user's account. Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 11:11
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA I think that is mostly to do with starting a bounty counting as a "vote" and be able to catch bounty abusers in that way.
    – Luuklag
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 11:35
  • @Luuklag you said "I think" which means you're not 100% sure, especially as the mention of bounty irregularities appears in the subsequent paragraph. EDITED "who've voted more than once will have their account deletion scheduled" Are you saying that just two upvotes at any given time, on maybe two separate sites, means a mod cannot/should not immediately delete a user's account? Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 12:22
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA This is about users deleting their own accounts, not moderators deleting their accounts. Also, the account self-deletion system has always been site-by-site, not for the whole network, so those two votes (any type of vote, not only upvotes but also anything that's internally considered a "vote" in the system, including bounties) would be on the same site. Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 18:01
  • I have to tell you the truth, I tried reading this twice and still haven't been able to "wrap my head around it". Either this is farfetched into the business process (in which case few users will understand it) or a simple explanation "tl;dr" style summary at the top or bottom of the post could help. I mean, I've been wanting to cast a vote but just can't understand it.
    – bad_coder
    Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 21:38
  • @bad_coder this is about preventing cases like discussed here. Imagine one day logging into the site where you are active at and finding out that you lost 865 rep points (because user who cast upvotes on your posts decided to delete their account)
    – gnat
    Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 22:29


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