Every now and then a user, typically new, will post a question that features some form of database-connection and, after the copy & paste, will forget to remove their username and password1 or, in other cases, will include their (or at least an) email address in their question2 (for the same reason, I assume).

Would it be possible to flag a question for a moderator, or perhaps developer, edit to remove such details from the edit history of a question? Not remove the original question (though that might be easier), but just those details?

  1. Linking to the question for its comment from @alex, rather than the edits, for reference only in trying to support my request rather than giving away details: how to check if email address exists. validation
  2. send iframe with youtube in email body


  1. to respond to @Cody Gray's comment that mods might not have the access-rights to remove details from the edit history.
  2. to clarify the question title.
  • I think one important question is whether moderators can actually remove information from the edit history. I'm not sure. That might have to be done by one of the devs. May 22, 2011 at 10:45
  • @Cody, that's absolutely true. I had considered that but I guess I was hoping for, uh, 'spontaneous clarification' from one of the diamond-mods, or devs. Ah, optimism... =/ May 22, 2011 at 10:47
  • 3
    Apparently developers can delete revisions, moderators cannot. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/86195/… May 22, 2011 at 11:03
  • @Brian, +1 for a good find; but would the original post count as a 'revision' or is it in some way sacrosanct? May 22, 2011 at 11:05

1 Answer 1


IIRC, some of our internal dev-only tools can be used in a way that causes edit history to be expunged (in particular, our bulk signature-removal tool, which doesn't leave revisions as we don't want to spam the front page when we remove 200 identical signature lines by a single user).

However! In many ways I'm reluctant to use it for such; that data is already public. Regardless of the duration, or the fact that it was silly to expose it - it has now been exposed. The only safe course of action is to change password, cancel the credit-card, whatever. Rewriting the edit history is a false blanket of security, and saying "yup, that's now gone" is entirely missing the point: the horse has bolted... don't bother spending time shutting the door.

  • 1
    Hmm. On the other hand, while it's already public it's unlikely to have been cached by Google already, certainly if it's flagged quickly enough, so it's been, potentially, reversibly-published. And the answer from @Brian Reichle's link (in comments to the question) suggests that Jeff is at least sympathetic to the proposed use-case. I make the request as a cushion against accidents, rather than stupidity-prevention/limitation. May 22, 2011 at 14:53
  • @David I suspect you are wrong, as I've searched very specific terms on recent questions and the question itself has appeared as a Google result. This was in a matter of an hour or less, if I recall correctly.
    – Nicole
    May 22, 2011 at 16:30
  • 3
    Agreed, but let's say it's an SSN (perhaps not even their own) that may take weeks to replace. We could mitigate the visibility within reason instead of daily worsening the problem. May 22, 2011 at 16:47
  • @Rick yeah, that might make sense to edit out May 22, 2011 at 16:59
  • So does that mean we should never flag such posts for cleaning at all then? I've found a post that had a username and password in it which I've flagged and edited it out myself. It was marked invalid (slightly annoyed by that) and the info still remains in the history. My concerns were valid AFAIK, only it was probably something that didn't need action. Isn't there a "valid but needs no action" response that should have been used or was this really invalid? Jun 13, 2011 at 19:21

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