# How should deleted user attributions be preserved?

+ 3 like - 0 dislike
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If a user wishes to leave the site, fine, we remove their account. But their contributions should still be labelled with their old account name, since this is the only way to maintain proper academic discussions--- you can't have academic writing turn anonymous retroactively when a user gets piqued. Also, it is not clear that the accrued reputation needs to be zeroed out, it can still apply to the defunct user. If someone wishes to have a new userID and start from scratch, the old one can be blocked, and the new one granted permissions. If the user wishes to leave, one can just block the ID without anonymizing the posts. I don't think that anonymizing Vladimir Kalitvianski's posts is a good idea, as they are now without an owner. This seems like it will be a big problem in the future, if academics come and go, and we keep the same system as now, a large chunk of articles and posts will end up being by anonymous.
asked Jan 20, 2015
recategorized Jan 23, 2015

Blocking the ID is not feasible as it isn't what the user requested. However, as an anonymous user can obviously post under a pseudonym (see e.g. the attribution line for this post), I wonder if it's possible to keep the username as a pseudonym in the attribution for these posts. The requirements would the be:

• To maintain the username of the deleted user in the attribution line for the user's posts.
• To prevent any new user from using the username of the deleted user.

@polarkernel would it be possible to implement these requests?

As to my content, I do not really care. Review papers have me as the author on the papers themselves. The posts and comments became anonymous, but I do not really care. I lost my faith in this PO project as it did not work for me. Too few physics, too much Holy Wars. But the raised question may be of interest to other users.
@dimension10 Both requests are feasible but will require some time to implement them. Could you please insert them into our roadmap and avoid user account deletions until they are realized. For sure we have to delete (not only hide) a user profile in order to avoid legal issues. The European Union knows very strict regulations on the "right to be forgotten".

I do not know, do we have anywhere posted, that the content any post belongs to PhysicsOverflow, even if the account of the author gets deleted? I am not sure if the CC-license includes this.

Unfortunately I am not able to recover the posts of Vladimir Kalitvianski.

@polarkernel I will insert them in the roadmap.

@Vladimir This post is not about you, it's a post regarding similiar future situations, in which the user requests account deletion.

What about VK's posts being attributed correctly? I have long chats with 'anonymous' now, and the context isn't clear.
@RonMaimon Unfortunately, only future deletions are affected. Nothing can be done about the anonymisation of Vladimir.

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