Currently to figure out how to delete account and similar privacy questions you have to search meta. This is one of the most frequently asked questions on this and other SE metas.

I think that this ought to be included in generic FAQ (the one available at /faq).

Also it would be quite useful to have practical privacy FAQ with information how to unlink accounts, ask for deletion or removal of attribution from question etc. Current "privacy policy" document is just legalese without any direct application.

EDIT: as reference for number of question related to that: https://meta.stackoverflow.com/search?q=how+to+delete+account

closed as not constructive by Robert Harvey Jun 28 '11 at 17:40

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locked by Robert Harvey Jun 28 '11 at 18:04

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    It's not frictionless because then you'd have people just posting crap all the time and asking to be delinked from their main account like it was nothing at all to waste people's time. – random Jun 28 '11 at 15:19
  • @random: you're suggesting, that legally required information should be kept a secret from the users? – vartec Jun 28 '11 at 15:27
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    The information is not hidden. Some wantonly choose to be obtuse about where to find it in the links at the bottom as with most sites. Or when it already is part of the FAQ – random Jun 28 '11 at 15:32
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    @random: btw. crap should be closed and removed, regardless if it's attributed crap or unattributed crap. – vartec Jun 28 '11 at 15:44

The privacy policy can be found here: http://stackexchange.com/legal/privacy-policy

Termination is described in Section 11 of the Legal Agreement: http://stackexchange.com/legal

Deletion of accounts is an edge case. It happens rarely, and it is handled on a case-by-case basis. The procedure for deleting your account can be found here: How can I delete my account?

Removal of attribution can only be done by deleting a post. If the post cannot be deleted, flag for moderator attention with a good reason. However, it's better to consider the privacy ramifications before posting, and not post the content in the first place if it's going to be a privacy problem.

  • The key work is practical. Neither "privacy-policy", nor "legal" provides any practical means of achieving that. "Can I delete my account?" is in meta, not generic FAQ. – vartec Jun 28 '11 at 15:27
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    I am saying that information about deleting your account is not required for everyday site usage, and so properly belongs somewhere else besides the main faq. – Robert Harvey Jun 28 '11 at 15:29
  • In no site it's required for everyday usage. Yet it's normally provided in the FAQs, as required by privacy laws. Obfuscating that information is random suggest is fishy to say the least. – vartec Jun 28 '11 at 15:38
  • "Removal of attribution can only be done by deleting a post" not true, questions do not get deleted if they have answer, however their attribution is deleted, as it's requirement of CC-SA licence. "consider the privacy ramifications before posting" sounds very pre-privacy policy Facebook argument. – vartec Jun 28 '11 at 15:39
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    Assume that everything you post on StackExchange is public, except the personally identifiable information in your profile. That's the privacy policy in a nutshell. Assume everything you post in a public forum can be read by anyone (including your mother) and that it stays in the interwebz forever. That's common sense in a nutshell. – Robert Harvey Jun 28 '11 at 15:43
  • Most sites mention the delete clause in their legal/privacy policies. Obfuscation of the link and not giving people a free ride to annoy others is not the same thing @var – random Jun 28 '11 at 15:49
  • @random: by "not giving free ride" you're violating content's license. On behalf of SE Incorporated. I'm not sure if they are going to be very happy with you. – vartec Jun 28 '11 at 16:02
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    Honestly you're just "trolling" by selective "quoting" now"." @var – random Jun 28 '11 at 16:06
  • @Robert: CC-SA is very clear on the subject, attribution must be removed on original authors request. Keep in mind, that content does not belong to SE, it's only licensed by authors to SE. – vartec Jun 28 '11 at 16:11
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    @vartec: Sounds like you're asking the wrong question. See here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/96732/…. However, note that removal of attribution is not a free pass for posting junk, and if nobody has edited your post, I don't see how this applies. You did, after all, post it of your own free will. – Robert Harvey Jun 28 '11 at 16:26
  • @Rob: "If You create a Collection, upon notice from any Licensor You must, to the extent practicable, remove from the Collection any credit as required by Section 4(c), as requested.". But again, that's not what's being discussed. It's been already established, that this is how it works. The question discussed here is why it's omitted from the FAQ. – vartec Jun 28 '11 at 16:36
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    Disassociation requires an SE developer, unless the entire account is deleted. Disassociation of individual posts is exceedingly rare; in most cases, the post is simply deleted. – Robert Harvey Jun 28 '11 at 16:37
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    Is this all a hypothetical, or do you have an actual problem that you've had with this process that you can point to specifically? – Robert Harvey Jun 28 '11 at 16:42
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    But @RobertHarvey it is important to point out that deleted posts are still retained by SEI and are still visible to users with certain privileges and remain in the database. – jcolebrand Jun 28 '11 at 16:44
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    @Vartec, as you indicated earlier, it's visible here quite plainly: meta.stackoverflow.com/search?q=how+to+delete+account – jcolebrand Jun 28 '11 at 17:39

When you post here you are agreeing (and I know because I did as well when I signed up) to abide by the T&C of the site, one of which is that any posts you make are CC-BY-SA. This means that you are making those posts into the public domain, and that they will be forever further available. So the posts you make will remain, unless someone (besides yourself) determines that those posts are not up to the par that the site requires.

As for deleting your account, do you know how many accounts I have deleted from public sites in my lifetime? Four. Do you know how many accounts I have created? I sure as hell don't. People don't normally delete accounts, so that's not a "common thing" that it needs to be in the FAQ. You are conflating two competing things.

As for when you delete your account what happens, well, they remove all personally identifiable information from your account, assign all your non-previously-deleted-posts to "Community" (a user with id=-1) and then they don't do anything. Notice that there is no way to go backwards there. They can't later reassign all your old posts to your account if you decide to come back (a great reason not to delete) and they've made all this process known for quite some time.

  • "If You create a Collection, upon notice from any Licensor You must, to the extent practicable, remove from the Collection any credit as required by Section 4(c), as requested. " – vartec Jun 28 '11 at 16:26
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    Yes, they remove credit (meaning your name and association) by assigning the origin to someone else. They do exactly what you ask. What is the problem here? – jcolebrand Jun 28 '11 at 16:27
  • @j: the problem is, that it's not in any FAQ. The problem is that some moderators feel that this information should be obfuscated. I'm not asking how to do it, I'm asking for it to be included in the FAQ. – vartec Jun 28 '11 at 16:28
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    Show me a mod that has said "this needs to be hard to find". There are lots of posts (as you pointed out) that tell how to delete an account. – jcolebrand Jun 28 '11 at 16:31
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    @Vartec ~ Making a statement, then retracting it because you realized it was full of hot air, makes it hard to have a serious discussion with you. You make accusations, then you should be able to back them up. I don't feel the need to endlessly reedit my comments to look like a hero. Are there any mods that actively proscribe obfuscating account deletion? Is the matter in no way broached anywhere on the network? – jcolebrand Jun 28 '11 at 16:37
  • @j: just what exactly are you talking about? – vartec Jun 28 '11 at 16:39
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    These were your accusations. I am trying to help you with your initial request. I am presenting a different viewpoint than other authors in this series of posts. You made an accusation (a set of them) and I have asked clarifying questions. I don't understand why you feel the need to ask "@j: just wtf are you talking about?" – jcolebrand Jun 28 '11 at 16:44
  • @j: you're trying to insult me, by saying that I'm "retreating" some "hot air" "accusations". And yes, as you can see from random's comments to my question and Robert's post, he clearly wants ability of removing credit obfuscated. – vartec Jun 28 '11 at 16:48
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    No, I'm not insulting you, you did that very thing. You changed (edited) your words. Do you deny editing your post, or removing information from this thread? I don't see that random wants the ability of removing concept to be obfuscated. He and I have talked about this at length off-meta, he just doesn't feel that deleting an account needs to be forefront and the first thing a person sees. As I noted, rarely does the "average person" need to delete an account, if ever. – jcolebrand Jun 28 '11 at 16:50
  • Why can't you get that 'removing credit' and 'deleting account' are two separate things? Anyway, I see you and random just love trolling and creating flamewars, so be it. I'm not really interested. – vartec Jun 28 '11 at 17:01
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    Ummm, I started with deleting account, and you changed to removing attribution when you added information and asked me to change course. I followed logically. I also did not resort to ad-hominem attacks, nor did I accuse you of anything you did not do in this thread. I'm sorry that you confused yourself, but I logically answered each question as it was asked. – jcolebrand Jun 28 '11 at 17:04
  • @j: interesting, given that I didn't ask any questions. – vartec Jun 28 '11 at 17:33
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    You did, and you removed them, as I indicated. I feel you are being intentionally obtuse at this point. Is there a reason for that? – jcolebrand Jun 28 '11 at 17:39
  • @j: please, either quote the question I've allegedly asked, or delete your post and your insulting comments. I seen no point in wasting my time on this "conversation", until you stop fantasizing. – vartec Jun 28 '11 at 17:42
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    Wait, you come here, insult my question, downvote me out of spite, edit and remove your own posts, add information to your question that you want me to comment on, remove those edits (still part of the public record) refuse to accept my commentary and introduce ad-hominem attacks, and I am to apologize to you? You have lost your ever loving mind haven't you? – jcolebrand Jun 28 '11 at 17:47

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