In this recent post, one user suggested to extend the grace period for account deletion, given that they felt those points were valuable or could be used in some way.

Although the user has now dropped the idea of reusing points, I think the grace period should be extended for more than 24 hours as of now. According to this post, when you press the delete button, if you do not reactivate your account, an automatic script will delete it.

Given that other sites have longer grace periods, for example Khan Academy with 7 days, Google at 30 days, and Microsoft at 60 days (!), the grace period at Math SE is insufficient as users should be given more time to think about their decision.

My impression is that there are some 'nudges' that are put in place by the system to encourage good behaviour: for example, a dialog box will pop up when you try to delete your own question that already has answers. Given this, I think it is in the community's best interest to extend the grace period, so that the results of an impulsive deletion will not become permanent. This is in the spirit of SE policy, and has been echoed by Shog9 in this post (as he wrote, 'So, y'know, we do try to make sure that's what you really want first.')

In addition, although all the posts of a deleted user are still kept on the site, all of the votes will be nullified (edit: as Martin Sleizak commented, this does not seem to be the case). Although the effect will not be that large for posts with many votes, for a post with few views and few votes, the vote of that deleted user provides valuable information on if the question is good or not. This information should not disappear unless the user of that account really wants it to happen.

So what do you think about this? Do you support extending the grace period for account deletion to 7 days, or even more?

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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps it is useful add links to some post which have more details on how the deletion works now (i.e., what the "24 hours grace period" mentioned in the question means exactly): How can I delete my account? and Delay user requests for account deletion by 24 hours. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Oct 2 '19 at 10:21
  • $\begingroup$ Yep, that information is a lot more detailed. I didn't think to look on the meta SE site. $\endgroup$ – Toby Mak Oct 2 '19 at 10:21
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    $\begingroup$ Re: "all of the votes will be nullified." This is not true for users who cast many votes - with some exceptions. See Shog9's answer here: Don't throw away all votes when a user is deleted. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Oct 2 '19 at 10:24
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    $\begingroup$ I find that long grace periods are mainly used to lure users to stay. I am a firm believer that people who want to leave should be allowed to leave. Having long grace periods is not going to help with that. It's just an online community, it's not suicide. The worst case scenario, you open a new account. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 2 '19 at 10:30
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    $\begingroup$ That's true, reputation and value don't have much practical value anyway. $\endgroup$ – Toby Mak Oct 2 '19 at 10:31
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    $\begingroup$ @user486983 Imagine how bad you'd feel if you were drunk and hit someone with your car. Actions have consequences. Being drunk is not an excuse. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 4 '19 at 15:50
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Being drunk was just an example of many many others things that could happen. Would have not be better if we'd had the chance to have more than 24 hours, just in case one makes a silly mistake. It could happen even to the most 'perfect' person in the world. $\endgroup$ – user486983 Oct 4 '19 at 15:58
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    $\begingroup$ @user486983: Sorry, no, I don't buy that. If you made a silly mistake, you have 24 hours to fix it. You want 30 days, why not 31? Just that very last day could make a difference! By induction, you simply shouldn't allow users to delete their accounts at all. Why even bother with that feature to begin with? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 4 '19 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ @user486983: First thing is to call your local emergency services and let them know that you were driving drunk and had hit someone. The next thing to do is accept the fact that you screwed up. Or, in our case, wake up in the morning, unless you slept for 16 hours or so, you'll be sober, albeit hungover probably, and be able to cancel the deletion. Unfortunately, you won't be able to unhit that person. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 4 '19 at 16:11
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    $\begingroup$ @user486983: Well, enjoy prison. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 4 '19 at 16:19
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila You are not taking this seriously $\endgroup$ – user486983 Oct 4 '19 at 16:21
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    $\begingroup$ @user486983: I am. I've been drunk plenty, and I've made mistakes aplenty. There is that thing called responsibility. It doesn't go away just because you're drunk. If you made mistakes, you have to deal with them. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 4 '19 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ @user486983: Because humans fear change, and you are much more likely to change your mind about leaving if you have a whole month to think about it. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 4 '19 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila you'd think better, if you have an entire month than just 24 hours. It's like in a Theorem, when you are trying to prove it.So you start and at some point you run out of ideas on how to proceed. So you take a break (hours or days) and right after you sit down again, you got the key idea and eventually everything goes nicely. $\endgroup$ – user486983 Oct 4 '19 at 16:46
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    $\begingroup$ @user486983 I am not sure that I see this as a huge issue. I have seen a few high-XP accounts get deleted. In every case that I know of, this was a considered decision, which followed from days or weeks of deliberation. The system intentionally makes it hard to delete an account by accident (you have to change your user profile and send up a flag for the mods; these are actions unlikely to occur by accident). If a user no longer want to be associated with MSE, why force them to drag it out? $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Oct 12 '19 at 15:09

I can speak from personal experience that I would be rather distressed if I was forced to retain a stackexchange account for a whole month. I think even a week would be rather upsetting.

I really don't like that I have to wait 18 more hours, but that time frame is short enough that I do not find it particularly onerous; I can find something to do to distract me for a day and then it will be over.

As @XanderHenderson describes, this is a considered decision. I have been well-aware of my lack of attachment to my account for some time. My current username was the result of starting the deletion process, but deciding to go with a softer change instead (and opting for an apropos username rather than an obscure one). Specific actions have caused me to decide this is not an acceptable alternative.

  • $\begingroup$ Agree about the whole get woke thing. Some moderator from a totally different site took the liberty of editing my bio because he found it offensive because it had the word “bitch”—keep in mind it was a direct quote of someone else $\endgroup$ – gen-ℤ ready to perish Oct 13 '19 at 10:10
  • $\begingroup$ I'm going to assume it just takes a long time to delete an account rather than some wise guy being malicious. Can I get an ETA? $\endgroup$ – user14972 Oct 14 '19 at 1:41
  • $\begingroup$ For third party's information -- buried amongst 37 otherwise identical deletion notice e-mails, the one from mse has different language saying I specifically need a "developer" to give final approval due to my reputation and/or vote count, so the moderator team here deserves no blame for this going three hours overtime and counting. I still wish they would have responded to my request for information on why there's a hold-up and how long I can expect to have to suffer through this.... $\endgroup$ – user14972 Oct 14 '19 at 3:53
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    $\begingroup$ I don't recall your previous username but I recognize some of your answers, and for those, thank you $\endgroup$ – Calvin Khor Oct 14 '19 at 6:26
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    $\begingroup$ I can tell you that I am personally very sorry to see you leave. As for the delay, I'm afraid that moderators have almost no bearing on the deletion process. I suspect that you're correct about the fact someone needs to make sure your votes remain, and I suspect that your choice of weekend deletion made this a bit longer than usual. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 14 '19 at 7:16
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Thank you for the kind words. Apparently, the delay isn't just the weekend... or the holiday..... I know moderators don't have any real control over the issue, but are you at least able to find out for me what's taking so long and get an ETA? $\endgroup$ – user14972 Oct 16 '19 at 3:55
  • $\begingroup$ @CalvinKhor you could try Is it possible to know the name of a user with account deleted? or the Wayback machine to know the name $\endgroup$ – user486983 Nov 4 '19 at 21:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Isabella Maybe I will, but maybe he/she/.../they wants me to remember the account as Excluded and Offended $\endgroup$ – Calvin Khor Nov 5 '19 at 3:20
  • $\begingroup$ @CalvinKhor huh? I don't understand what your comment is supposed to mean. $\endgroup$ – user486983 Nov 5 '19 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ That was user14972's last username before account deletion, Excluded and Offended @Isabella $\endgroup$ – Calvin Khor Nov 6 '19 at 1:24
  • $\begingroup$ @CalvinKhor Oh I got it. duh $\endgroup$ – user486983 Nov 6 '19 at 22:06

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