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I read this post: 2023: a year in moderation. At the end of the array there is "Users destroyed".

I was curious to see in the settings but I only found "Delete profile", where is the option to completely destroy it instead?

I don't like the idea that my posts remain even if I deleted my profile and from what I have read, even if I delete the questions they remain visible even to users with high scores.

Disclaimer: I don't plan to do it now but it's likely I will in the future.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't understand... why the question is downvoted? What's the problem? And in general what is the point of downvoting? Wouldn't it be easier to ignore the question? When other questions are posted it goes down on its own. $\endgroup$
    – Charlie
    Jan 29 at 18:43
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not a downvoter, but I did read your post. It seems to me you are applying the verb "destroy" found in the year-in-moderation (where it connects to Users) to your profile (per the wording of the title of your post). It just isn't clear what you meant. You can request your account be dissociated from one or more of your posts, but I think you have some different outcome in mind. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Jan 29 at 21:19
  • $\begingroup$ Well, the account is suspended, so I'm not sure how much it's worth commenting, but I did downvote. And it was because the OP seemed to be saying that they wanted to take from the community, but make sure that they didn't contribute to it. $\endgroup$
    – JonathanZ
    Jan 29 at 21:58

2 Answers 2

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When a profile is deleted, all of the posts made by that profile are anonymized, in the sense that the username is reverted to a default user##### name, and the link to a user profile is removed. However, none of the content created by that profile is automatically removed. A user can choose to delete their own profile, or a moderator or member of the staff might delete a profile.

Profiles can only be "destroyed" by moderators and staff (e.g. members of the Community Moderation team). This is typically only done for accounts which have been created to post spam, to harass other users, or to engage in other similar disruptive behaviour. When a profile is destroyed, all of the posts created by that profile are anonymized and deleted.[1] Note also that this option is only available for accounts with a limited amount of reputuation.

I don't like the idea that my posts remain even if I deleted my profile and from what I have read, even if I delete the questions they remain visible even to users with high scores.

This is part of the StackExchange model. When you post on StackExchange, you agree to license the content to StackExchange under a Creative Commons license. You grant StackExchange the right to host that content, to disseminate that content, and to otherwise manipulate that content. If you are not comfortable with this, then it may be best not to post to the StackExchange network.


[1] Note that "deleted" here is used in the same way that it is used throughout the network---posts are marked as "deleted", hidden from users without sufficient reputation, and no longer appear in search; comments are hidden from non-moderators; but all of this content remains in the SE databases.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ok, so when I want to destroy my account do I have to ask a moderator first? (I have few points anyway, so I'll return to the category if I want) $\endgroup$
    – Charlie
    Jan 29 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ No. You do not get to "destroy" your account just because you don't want it any longer. You are free to delete your account, but the content you created remains. We simply do not destroy profiles just because a user no longer wants their content to exist on the site. Note also that even the material posted by destroyed accounts remains in the database, and is visible to users with enough reputation. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Jan 29 at 16:28
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    $\begingroup$ "You grant StackExchange the right to host that content, to disseminate that content, and to otherwise manipulate that content." while keeping attribution and the same CC license. since we post under CC-BY-SA. The same license that is used on Wikipedia by the way. $\endgroup$ Jan 29 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ However, a little doubt about profile deletion: I don't think that it may legally force someone who deletes his profile to renounce his copyright. But then how can we refer to the author? How is someone reusing the contents supposed to keep attribution if the author is now shown on Math.SE? $\endgroup$ Jan 29 at 20:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Jean-ClaudeArbaut: The posts are still shown as "userXXXX" where "XXXX" is the account number. Those are unique within a given SE community, making it easy to refer to the user who had posted it. Much like how you'd refer to a user whose account name is "potato" or "hello". And in general the account number is stable, whereas account names can be changed over the years. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Jan 29 at 20:50
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Ah yes I understand. Not entirely satisfying, but then just don't delete your account. To me it's a strong argument to keep it, even if it's no longer active. Thanks! $\endgroup$ Jan 29 at 21:20
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Another consideration is that you've posted ~5 questions, and some other users have posted answers on those questions.

If your posts are destroyed, then those answers cannot exist without a question, so other user's work is also destroyed, and any rep they earned would have to be removed too. That's not fair on them and the effort made to write up a useful answer.

Posts are hard to destroy because they represent combined efforts.

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