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While going through a post on Stack Overflow I went through the answer and could identify the answerer has a lot of Stack Overflow reputation. I sometimes go through people's Stack Overflow profiles out of curiosity. I did it today and noticed that the person's Stack Overflow profile says 'Last seen more than 3 years ago', going by the Twitter link on their Stack Overflow profile it says 'Last tweet Jan 26, 2017', last blog dates to '2011-04-08', and LinkedIn says nothing.

Being a Stack Overflow user and at the same time a person who admires almost any and every great helper/community person, it really concerns me.

I am just trying not to overthink and wishing that person is doing just fine.

Unlike How should a user's death be handled?, this question is more general. The user might not be active due to death, but there are more possible reasons.

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    For all we know they just quit to go live in a cabin in the woods completely off-grid. Or perhaps they passed away. There is no way for us to know, so there is no use is speculating.
    – Luuklag
    Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 8:04
  • Appreciate that. not speculating though. I was just both curious and sad at the same time. hence asked. Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 8:31
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    The duplicate I voted for is about deceased users. That may or may not be the case for the user you are asking about but I think the best way to respect past users who may be deceased or have just become inactive is to continue to use and curate the content they so willingly donated to our communities.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 9:00
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    @PolyGeo I get it. Appreciate that. It doesn't really matter to me even if this post gets a million downvotes. I was just seeking enlightenment in this case and I think I kind of understand how it goes. At the end of the day I see Stackoverflow users as humans having hearts and minds. I still believe and it is a known fact that almost all businesses and communities are built around human needs, emotions and thoughts and this is at the very core of StackExchange sites too no matter how robotic we try to be at times in order to keep the community clean and tidy. Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 9:30
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    Not a duplicate. This question is general about inactivity, not about death of users. There is grave difference between those two. (Pun intended.) Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 10:19
  • Neither here nor on MSO is there a tag for inactive-users, but MSO has these two tags, which we do not, which might be applied to this question: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/user-retention meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/specific-user
    – Rob
    Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 10:59
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    If it makes you feel better, do note that this person left those platforms at different times. Someone leaving Twitter 6 years after they stopped blogging doesn't really mean anything.
    – BSMP
    Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 19:38

1 Answer 1

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In general, no. We tend to keep users' real life (or activity elsewhere on the Internet) separated from Stack Exchange. And Stack Exchange is mostly about the content, not the users anyway. There are a lot of other great helpers, and the community's well-being fortunately does not depend on a single person.

An exception to this rule can be made for in memoriam posts like the recent Rest in peace, Michael Hampton. But you can see that it is not really a question. It's more like a monument and a moment for other users to share their experience, like a virtual funeral.

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  • //We tend to keep users' real life (or activity elsewhere on the Internet) separated from Stack Exchange.// : I have tried my best in the OP. //And Stack Exchange is mostly about the content, not the users anyway.// But was that necessary to highlight. Its also by the user and for the user. //There are a lot of other great helpers,// Every contribution matters. //the community's well-being fortunately does not depend on a single person.// This bothers me a bit. Isn't it a bit rude to say that, given the fact we still don't know about the actual reason(what if it's a sad one). Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 8:37
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    @AsifKamranMalick what if the user does not want you to know the reason? It might be embarrassing or hurtful to them. If they haven't shared anything, I'd respect their right to privacy. And if the user is unable to either share the reason they've not been seen nor give consent for others to reveal it, then... is it still ethical to do so? Does it matter? I'd argue it's no to both. People come and go in online communities. Yes, it's sad if they leave but they may do it for any variety of reasons. If they maybe pass away I don't think anybody truly deserves to know.
    – VLAZ
    Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 10:14
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    virtual funeral ... maybe it is the current timeframe and state the world is in that these words give me more emotions then they should have 6 to 8 years ago ....
    – rene
    Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 12:11
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    @VLAZ I agree and that is why I didn't make their identity public. I tried my best not to give even the slightest of the hint about the identity. Was just concerned being a SO user. The person was a very active/helpful SO user. And losing such people is in a way loss of the community too. These are just my thoughts. People have every right to differ. I am a professional but a human first. My urge to help others is not due to the reputation points that SO or SE sites provide, but its purely out of admiration of those who have helped and are helping despite their busy life. Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 12:17
  • These simple acts of other SE users is something that is an inspiration for me to do more and contribute more. I cannot speak of everyone but I think there might be many who think the same way. I will always be concerned about such personalities because I believe that is the least that I can do when it comes to showing respect for such souls. But yes I think I will also not go against the community guidelines. I'm good as of now . Commented Dec 3, 2021 at 12:19

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