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This came up after reading, commenting, and answering How can I delete a Stack Exchange account of mine?, with the hint of a user to make this an MSE feature request.

Unclear wording

Unclear wording of the help center text

The wording of the linked How do I delete my account? in its accepted answer is unclear, at least for a new reader.

It starts with:

User deletion is irreversible! By sending this request, your votes will be revoked, and all of your content will be made anonymous.

To delete your profile on Stack Overflow, navigate to your user profile, then click the Settings link at the top of your profile page: ...

It should at least say something like:

To delete a Stack Exchange account of your choice (for example Stack Overflow, Politics or the like), navigate to your user profile, ...

"Stack Overflow" is often taken as the name for the whole Stack Exchange. There should be at least one other smaller Stack Exchange in the list to make it clear that it is not about the global user profile.

Unclear wording in the menu and in the help center text

"profile" in the menu can be read both as the global user profile and a mere Stack Exchange profile of a user. Also in the help center text and in other Q/A:s, "user"/"account"/"profile" are mixed up randomly. I did not know what is what even after years. In the tags and in meta Q/A:s, you find:

  • user profile (read it somewhere; can mean both, local and global)
  • user accounts (tag; means the local account)
  • deleted accounts (tag; means the local account)
  • network profile (tag; means the global user profile)
  • delete profile (in the menu; means the local account)

tag: user account (local)

The user-accounts tag seems to stand for the "local user profile" (or whatever you want to call it, not the global one for everything, but for chosen Stack Exchanges out, one out of many):

Refers to user accounts either generically, or across the network.

User accounts are identified generically by a user ID; typically a number, and accessible/viewable to the public via the URL https:///user/.

But this is only clear after reading the URL example when you open the tag page.

tag: network profile (global)

While the tag network-profile stands for the "global network profile":

For questions about or problems with a user's network profile.

For questions about or problems with a user's network profile; your own one can be reached on https://stackexchange.com/users/current.

What could be done (perhaps)

  1. If you want to delete the account, you have to click on "delete profile", although from the tags, it would be "delete account". That could be changed, but I am not sure about this since it does not say "delete network profile", but just "delete profile", and "profile" seems to fit for both global and local account. That is why this point is rather weak.

  2. There could be screenshots as in the linked answer to take away any doubts since deleting a profile is nothing you just do without being really sure, and reading a longer text often leaves you a bit unsure. Perhaps take the screenshots from How can I delete a Stack Exchange account of mine?

  3. Perhaps change the wording of the help center text to:

To delete a Stack Exchange account of your choice (for example Stack Overflow, Politics or the like), navigate to your user profile, ...

  1. And perhaps change the title to something clearer, though I do not know for sure what is better. Perhaps (but this seems awkwardly long):

How do I delete just a network profile (one out of many), and not my global user account?

As the title is now, you do do not know before reading the body what the help center text is about, local account or global profile. The title "How do I delete my account?" and the first words read as if it was about deleting the global user. At least, that is what you fear or guess, as a new reader, and if you are about to delete something, you want to be sure, you do not want to fear or guess. The title "How can I delete a Stack Exchange account of mine?" makes it quite clear that it is just one of many profiles that you want to get rid of.

  1. Perhaps, even the tags should be explained in the help center text.

  2. And the help center text might even start with:

This is not about deleting the whole "network profile" on Stack Exchange, but about deleting a user account (= my_stack_exchange profile) of a chosen Stack Exchange.

These points are just to begin with and can be changed or dropped.

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    It's only unclear if you don't know that "Stack Overflow" is the name of one site (which I suppose happens a lot). This text uses a placeholder, so it varies by site. For example: "To delete your profile on English Language & Usage Stack Exchange…"
    – Laurel
    Mar 1, 2023 at 18:39
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    @Laurel The title is unclear. At least I read it as if it meant the whole SE user profile, not knowing the background of the tags. And as to your comment: Stack Overflow is the sort of unofficial name for everything, the whole Stack Exchange Universe, both in talking and in writing. It is unclear as an example for someone who most likely wants to delete a minor account. That should already be changed then, and that is all that this feature request is for, I am not to decide about all changes. Many will feel safer when following a guide of screenshots, but I just want to begin the talk here. Mar 1, 2023 at 18:44

1 Answer 1

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I understand your confusion, but ...

There should be at least one other smaller Stack Exchange in the list to make it clear that it is not about the global user profile.

That's not feasible - the Help Center article text is generated from a template, where "Stack Overflow" is replaced by the site you're currently on. There's no way to make it refer to the current site you're on and another, different, SE site.

Furthermore, most users on Stack Overflow have no or only a vague idea it's part of a network - for them, it would be less clear than the current wording.

Rather, it would be better to include a sentence like:

Note that this will not delete your accounts on other sites in the Stack Exchange network, if you have any.

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