I noted that some reputations of mine was removed due to cancellation of some user account.

  • What can cause a user cancellation?
  • If a user is removed, is all their traces removed too?
  • How usual is this?


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    $\begingroup$ See meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/4414/have-i-been-removed $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 16:47
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    $\begingroup$ We had this same discussion a few months ago. (This time I lost 20 points.) One thing that makes it annoying is the secrecy, which entails that you have no idea which of your postings are affected. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 0:26
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelHardy: There is a check box at the bottom of your reputation page titled "show removed posts" that supposedly can be used to see removed posts. You can also keep a periodic snapshot of your reputation calculation page, which shows a more accurate representation of your reputation. Comparing this before and after a removal allows you to see exactly which upvotes/downvotes/accepts/bounties were removed. $\endgroup$
    – robjohn Mod
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelHardy: Unfortunately, I don't think that the "show removed posts" check box does what I was told it does. I know that I had an upvote on June 4 that disappeared, but that check box changes nothing for that date on my reputation page. This leaves snapshots of your reputation calculation page. $\endgroup$
    – robjohn Mod
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ @robjohn That only works for deleted posts, not for deleted users. There is no way to find out which posts were affected. $\endgroup$
    – user9733
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 8:58

3 Answers 3


The cancellation was caused by repeated infringing of rules.

Cancellation of real users is a very unusual occurrence.

Edit for clarity:

Except in the case of SPAM accounts and sometimes sockpuppet accounts (used for artificially inflating reputation), moderators don't (at least as far as I am aware on Math.SE) delete user accounts unilaterally. So to clarify Mariano's answer in the particular case that prompted this question:

  1. User repeatedly infringed rules.
  2. Moderators went through the usual channel of suspension. Most recently a 1 year suspension was issued.
  3. Subsequently the user requested the account be deleted.

Hence (indirectly) the account deletion was "caused" by repeated infringing of rules. But I would be more callous and say that the real reason is the user disagreeing with the notion that there are rules and there are consequences when rules are not followed.

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    $\begingroup$ Do you mean unusual? Or are you suggesting that users are cancelled all the time, and that everyone should be extremely worried. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 16:55
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    $\begingroup$ @EricNaslund Perhaps we all should publish gently..? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 17:14
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    $\begingroup$ A couple of times I have seen an account suspended for over a year. Where is the line drawn between account cancellation and very long suspension? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Jonas: well, deletion is not reversible, unlike a suspension. I'm not sure what exactly you're asking though. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 20:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Qiaochu: I was asking (not very clearly) under the mistaken impression (what I thought I understood from Mariano's answer) that the moderators had deleted the account solely in response to the user's infringing of rules. I wondered why this course of action would be chosen instead of suspension, perhaps very long suspension if it was something serious. (So what I meant was something like "How do moderators choose between deleting or giving a very long suspension?" but in light of your answer clarifying that the user had requested deletion, it is moot.) $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 20:26
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    $\begingroup$ @Jonas: understood. Usually deletion is reserved for spammers and the more annoying species of cranks. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 3:02
  1. In this case it was requested by the user.
  2. There is deletion and there is destruction. Deletion removes a user but does not remove any of their content which has a positive (non-negative?) vote total. Destruction removes a user and all of their content, but can only be done on users with less than 500 reputation.
  3. Not very.
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, this was informative! $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 16:03

The most common cause for user deletion is probably spamming, new users that only posted spam on the site and nothing of value are often just outright deleted. The other possibility is that a user requested self-deletion of her/his account.

If a user is deleted, their posts with a negative score are removed, all their other posts remain. Their usernames are anonymized and their profile is completely deleted (not a soft-delete like it happens for questions and answers here). Their votes are also removed.

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    $\begingroup$ If I wrote detective novels, your sentence "If a user is deleted, their posts with a negative score are removed" would give me a pretty original explanation for a mysterious murder ... $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 17:00

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