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What to do when a user deletes all their questions and answers?

On SU, a user recently edited away all his answers (replaced them with "........................................." like this).

(He probably also deleted all the posts that he could, as there are now just 3 (accepted) answers left – and those do not account for his reputation score (edit: 524 before any recalc kicking in).)

So, just wondering: Is a user "entitled" to do that? Are other users entitled to revert such edits? (The posted content, after all, is not exclusive property of the OP, but published under cc-wiki.) Edit: someone already reverted those 3 remaining answers.


I went ahead and undeleted the content (1 question, lots of answers) and removed PaxDiablo as a user, since that was what he seemed to want.

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    I'm sure you'll be hearing from him if he's another 'Ernie'. – Rosinante Jan 31 '10 at 16:42
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    If undeleting all things is more work then just deleting the user (and hence un-associating any posts?), then maybe we can add "How can I delete all my posts" to the FAQs? (And then the answer is: "Ask team@ to delete your account instead"?) – Arjan Jan 31 '10 at 18:06
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    Perhaps you could alter his name to something else? It seems he really wanted to distance himself from the trilogy, but a search on his username will lead back here. – Nifle Jan 31 '10 at 18:10
  • Did you ask him before undeleting the content? – Tobu Jan 31 '10 at 22:12
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    @Tobu, no need... it's not his (the content) – juan Jan 31 '10 at 23:34
  • @Jeff; do it on SF too? (See mmyers' comment on the q.) – Jonik Feb 3 '10 at 19:54

Last time this happened, the defacement was all reverted and then some negotiation between the management and the user ensued. The site makes it clear that people who type stuff in here are granting a license, and so defacing your own stuff is no better than defacing anyone else's.

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    Although I tend to agree, I'm not sure if the site makes it clear to everyone. Licensing is not mentioned anywhere e.g. at stackoverflow.com/questions/ask, except in small text at the bottom of the page. Perhaps it could be more visible when posting content. – Jonik Jan 31 '10 at 14:40
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    @jonik - licensing is mentioned on every page. It's the cc-wiki icon at the bottom, along with a text blurb. – Joel Coehoorn Jan 31 '10 at 15:02
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    One could argue that that's not clear enough to everyone. Some sort of "I agree that any content I publish here is licensed under...." checkbox when creating an account would help make it clearer. – Pekka Jan 31 '10 at 15:26
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    @Joel. Yes – small grey text at bottom & logo without explanation as to what it relates to. I was simply wondering whether it was visible in a way that makes it clear (as bmargulies put it) for a typical user. Not really. But whatever, I'm not saying it's a big problem. – Jonik Jan 31 '10 at 15:27
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    Whether or not a license can be non-revocable seems to be a muddy issue people often over look simply because the intention of the copy-left licenses is so clear. I think in most areas of law non-revocation clauses are not upheld, especially without substantial or continuing consideration. This does create a problem for OSS with the trend being to ignore the legal ramifications of such an attempt – Evan Carroll Jan 31 '10 at 16:57

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