5

Checking in just now, I noticed a 25 point decrement (-25) to my "point total". I followed the explanatory link, and learned this was due to a user being expelled or leaving voluntarily; in this case, a user who upvoted an answer I gave has either left, or he's been forced out.

That's all fine: policy is policy, and I'm not questioning it.

What I would like to know, but couldn't find, is the identification of which Q&A it was that was deleted. I assume the question was deleted because:

  1. 25 points would be an upvote and a "correct" selection by the OP

  2. If someone has quit/been expelled, all their votes zeroed out, it would seem to follow that their questions were also removed.

Assuming the question was a good one, and given I put some effort into an answer, it seems to me that I'd be able to re-post the question, and my answer, and thereby recover "credit" for the time I invested.

So my questions are:

  1. Can I learn if the user deletion resulted in deletion of his question(s), and

  2. Can I learn what question it was that resulted in lost points?

  • 1
    I happened to see this very similar "Hot Meta Post" on the Ubuntu site: meta.askubuntu.com/questions/18646/…. The answer there claims that even the mods cannot find out which user was deleted from SE due to privacy concerns. That's not quite the same as your question but an interesting coincidence that they were "hot" at the same time. – Brick May 31 at 20:53
  • 1
    I don't mean to rant, but this event (May 25th?) had set me back 380 points, which was slightly displeasing. Maybe the deleted user was a fan of mine, but if I wasn't just me, perhaps something like this should be done next time. – Dmitry Grigoryev Jun 24 at 12:00
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I don't have a complete answer for you; technical questions about the interface like this are better investigated on Meta.SE. Here are a few things though:

If someone has quit/been expelled, all their votes zeroed out, it would seem to follow that their questions were also removed.

Generally no. This is only done with spam or obscentity posters who have contributed no valid content. Otherwise, you can tell content by deleted users because they have a sort of grayed out chess pawn for an icon (although there might be other reasons for that).

Note that deleted content is actually visible to users with >10K rep, and moderators.1 There is a separate category, destroyed (for aforementioned spam etc.), in which case the posts are gone from the system as far as I am aware.

However, I don't know whether the points loss associated with a deleted user occurs because of one who is actually destroyed, or if it is so for any routinely deleted user. The only ones I've ever deleted or destroyed are spam/obscenity cases which have been identified quickly and don't have any further impact.

The longer term more normative users that are axed here were actually axed on the SE network as a whole. This has to be done by an SE employee (such as a community manager, CM). I don't know whether you can delete your own, but I am 99% sure it would not be in such a way that it negatively affects the community. People who go on tantrum sprees down- or un- voting or deleting their own posts would have their behaviour caught by the system and reversed by a CM (and you can't delete your own question if there are upvoted answers anyway).

As far as sorting out the whos and whats, the best tool available, if you know a bit of SQL, is the Data Explorer (see here for more about that). If you don't know SQL, find a tutorial until you understand "inner join" then plug away ;D

The DB dumps used in the explorer are done weekly (i.e., that's not the live database). Unfortunately, a quick check:

select * from Posts where DeletionDate is not null;

Which returns 0 rows, implies information about deletions is missing from that DB dump.2 I'd guess the reason for that is to simplify queries, which mostly would want to exclude them. But again, the folks on Meta proper should have the real truth.


  1. To prevent confusion: A deleted user's content is not necessarily deleted, and deleted content is not necessarily by a deleted user.

  2. In fact I'm wrong about there being no info on deletions in the explorer DB, just noticed the PostsWithDeleted table.

3

I requested to have my own account deleted from the money.SE site a while back. I had racked up a lot of points in a short time but then wanted out because I thought the site was routinely dispersing irresponsibly bad financial and tax advice to users who clearly needed real help. I still boycott that specific site.

Anyway, relevance here is that since I had a lot of points, I could not delete my own account. I had to correspond with some SE employee who took it out by hand in a special way that preserved points for others because taking me out would have made a big difference in reputations across the site. I understood from the process that users with lesser total score can delete themselves and that points are deducted from anyone that received them via a vote from that user. On the flip side, it's a several-times-a-year occurrence that I lose a few points here or there from a deleted user.

Now to the meta question, my understanding is that the answer that you posted is probably still up. You lost the 25 points for the up-vote and the accepted answer, but the answer is probably still available on the original question. What goes away when the user is deleted is the points not the Q&A. So you cannot repost the question and your answer because that would be duplicate on both accounts. You could conceivably still receive points on the original post - like any other - if someone else comes along later and votes for it. That's for a regular delete. A "destroyed" user à la the answer by @goldilocks I bet is gone-gone, but they probably got destroyed for very bad behavior that wouldn't have attracted a legitimate answer from you in the first place. (I guess - "Destroyed" is new to me.)

  • Yes, understood that the Q&A may still be up, but I'd like to have a look at it nonetheless. For example, if the Q&A is still online, would it still show my answer as the "selected" answer (assuming it was)? I will comment that the process seems more opaque than necessary, but I'm not questioning policy - whatever it is! – Seamus May 28 at 18:08
  • I was responding mostly to this part of what you wrote: "it seems to me that I'd be able to re-post the question, and my answer, and thereby recover 'credit' for the time I invested". I don't know if the check mark is still there or not, but that's not relevant to the question of re-posting the question. Agree about the process being confusing / opaque. – Brick May 29 at 2:09
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For information See https://apple.meta.stackexchange.com/q/3579/19086

The change seemed to affect more than the Pi & Ubuntu sites.

The wording on the https://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/help/user-was-removed has been changed (still rather cryptic).

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