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Currently, when a user is destroyed for spamming or deleted as no longer welcome to participate, there's a short 14-day automatic suspension meant to keep them from using a newly-created profile with the same account. This means some spammers simply wait out this period and regenerate their profile. While there's other tooling meant to make this difficult, I wonder if we could improve how we do things.

Quite a few moderators suspend spammer profiles for a year before destroying to reduce their value if regenerated. On the other hand, there's a certain lack of clarity in such situations - and users might be unaware why they were suspended. It seems we could adjust our workflow to cater to both these situations.

A tool needs to reflect its usage, and as such I'd like to propose modifying the workflow for accounts deleted with an option that imposes an automatic suspension:

  • Increase the automatic suspension to a year (or allow moderator message-free setting of suspension length).
  • Block new profile creation with those credentials during the period of the suspension (as it's pointless), giving the user a message that contains either the 'stock' deletion reason (This user was created to post spam or nonsense and has no other positive participation) or the custom deleted reason should there be one.
  • Include the process for appeal in this message, in case the moderator is in error. This should be uncommon.

This has a few benefits.

  • Generally a destroyed profile is no longer wanted. Giving them a short grace period and letting them back on makes no sense.
  • On sites where mods are suspending then deleting, it reduces noise generated by dozens of moderator messages.
  • This workflow gives an obvious indication of why a user was suspended/destroyed on recreation, and if in error, how to deal with it.
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    See this chat message where I explain what happens to a user who experiences this. Commented Nov 16, 2021 at 23:23
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    Also, some context as to why 14 days was originally chosen as the automatic suspension period. Commented Nov 16, 2021 at 23:25
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    Blocking the user from re-creating a profile during that suspension period would be substantially better. Doing so would actually prevent profile spammers (user's who create their profile with the intent of having the spam in their profile itself) from recreating their spam filled profile. As it is, for profile spammers, the suspended user can just recreate their profile and their spam is immediately fully restored. Overall, this change could be a very significant improvement for all SE sites and the very rare individual who could actually benefit from reevaluation.
    – Makyen
    Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 15:31
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    @Makyen, we discussed your solution and we may investigate it still but we don't have a way that's built in to prevent profile re-creation on a site and a way for staff to greenlight it after it's been blocked if there was some error or misunderstanding that occurred. Suspensions are easy to undo with the current system if it's necessary. I know Cesar likes your idea a lot, we just need to think about it more. :)
    – Catija
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 20:39
  • @Catija The deprecated mobile apps and mobile site would block profile creation if it would result in a suspension being reinstated. Can't something similar be implemented here? Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 22:04
  • @Catija what exactly is planned then? :) Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 5:58
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    @ShadowTheKidWizard extending the duration of the automatic suspension to a year.
    – Catija
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 13:55

1 Answer 1

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Thanks for the request!

Starting with the next build, users destroyed for posting spam and users deleted as "no longer welcome to participate" will be automatically suspended from 365 days.

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    Was it decided to not have any communication with such users as requested in this post, and if so, why? Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 19:42
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    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog I don't follow what you're asking, sorry. Can you rephrase, please?
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 22:39
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    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog If destroying a user gives a one year suspension we don't need to send a moderator message - which is the goal here. There's no need to communicate with such users any more, which reduces the need to send moderator messages telling spammers "goodbye". The other part is preventing recreation of accounts, which tackles profile spam. As such its done 'implicitly' Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 22:53
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    @AdamLear Part of what the request was asking for was to have better communication with users in case their profile is deleted in error. The post points out that there's a "certain lack of clarity" in these situations and users "may be unaware why they were suspended". That paragraph links to two cases where profiles were deleted in error and the confusion that resulted from there not being any communication regarding the automatic suspension. The second and third bullet points of the request ask for a message for such deletions and instructions on how to appeal in case it was in error. Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 23:01
  • See also this chat message where I explain what happens from a user's perspective when their account is removed in error (fixed clipboard error). Also, note that the title of this question asks for "better communication". Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 23:03
  • @JourneymanGeek There's no clarity whatsoever on what to do in case such an account is removed in error. It's nice to have a line for communication with these users. Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 23:04
  • Thank you! I'm assuming this will also feed their IP to Spamram?
    – Mast
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 17:37
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    Please give me a ping when this is actually in effect. There are several userscripts which auto-apply a 365-day mod-message suspension prior to delete/destroy. We expect to change all of those, but I'd prefer to do that only after this change is operational. As far as I can see, there's no indication on destroyed user pages (example) that the auto-suspension is applied, at least not until they re-create a profile, so it's difficult for us to see when this change becomes active. Thanks, both for making the change and the ping.
    – Makyen
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 18:04
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    @Makyen It's live now.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 19:05
  • @Mast That already happened before this change, so yes. :)
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 19:07
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    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog Thanks for clarifying. At the moment an escalation path for errors is to use the contact form. I'll bring it up internally to see if we can revisit the comms aspect here in the future.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 19:18
  • In that case, it would be nice if you edited that comment into your answer, since the better communication part was something that was asked for in the original request, and isn't being implemented for the time being. Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 21:19

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