Prompted by Generic-ize a user's name when their account is destroyed, it appears there are two methods of disabling user accounts permanently: deleting and "destroying"

  • What are the differences between deleting and destroying a user?
  • What determines which method is used?

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  • 10
    Other proposed types of terminal account disposition: annihilate, expurgate, overwrite, deracinate, extirpate, flush, rm, mv to /dev/null, multiply by zero, divide by aleph-null, calculate the limit as Posts->Inanity of f(User), stack overflow of downvotes (more downvotes than they can handle), migrate to Davy Jones' Locker.SE, exile to Paradise, California, licked to death by kittens. – Robert Columbia Nov 11 '18 at 4:14

"Deleted" users have their display name denormalized, their account deleted, and all of their negatively-scored posts deleted (except on meta sites and open questions with one or more positively-scored answers). Anything not deleted is retained with their "ghost" user. This is primarily for scenarios like a user requesting their account be deleted, or multiple suspensions have not helped with a user's conduct.

"Destroyed" users have all that, but have all of their posts deleted. It is intended for things like spammers, where we just want them to be gone. A user must have less than 500 reputation in order to be destroyed. Given that, it's up to the moderator to simply select "destroy" from the mod menu.

  • 1
    "Deleted" users have their display name denormalized really? So a deleted user has their name deleted as well, but destroyed users get to keep their names?? wat – Won't Apr 27 '11 at 16:01
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    @Will As I mentioned on your question, in the past a Destroyed user would have the name blanked out completely. I'm not sure when, or why, that was changed. – Grace Note Apr 27 '11 at 16:21
  • 2
    Just an interesting corner case here: if you have an account on A.SE and an account on B.SE, delete the account on B.SE and then have one of your A.SE posts migrated to B.SE, the migrated post shows your non-ghost name. – user27414 Apr 27 '11 at 17:02
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    If a destroyed user has all their posts deleted, how can you even tell if their name is "blanketed"? – Gnemlock Jul 16 '17 at 23:48
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    @Gnemlock deleted posts are visible to high reputation users. – bmike Aug 13 '17 at 21:17

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