What happened to the dear user "quid" (9072), they appear deleted?

Noticed this by edits I remember were from them.

Google still remembers them and the user page of user number 9072 returns 404 (HTTP Not Found).


ADDED

links to quid's answers are still alive on archive.org

https://web.archive.org/web/20150912065515/https://mathoverflow.net/users/9072/quid?tab=answers

Maybe it is good idea someone to mirror the links in TOS compliant way (crawling appears easy, the public dumps are also an option).

Don't know if this will piss off quid's actor, but archive.org and the dumps are well known.

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    Just FYI: quid still has other SE accounts: stackexchange.com/users/2945945/quid?tab=accounts – Todd Trimble Apr 9 '16 at 13:01
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    what a loss for MO, we'll miss you. – Carlo Beenakker Apr 9 '16 at 13:17
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    Hope quid still posts anonymously or better come in another incarnation. – joro Apr 9 '16 at 14:36
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    Does this mean that all his/her answers and comments are no longer visible? This would certainly be a loss for the community. – Peter Samuelson Apr 9 '16 at 18:16
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    @PeterSamuelson I believe his/her comments are still alive e.g. see here: meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/2819/… – joro Apr 9 '16 at 18:28
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    @joro He seems to have been posting anonymously all along, right? Despite his protestations, my opinion is that it was a pity that we never really knew who he was. Probably some of us know him very well, without knowing that, although he does. – Joel David Hamkins Apr 10 '16 at 1:57
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    @JoelDavidHamkins the actor quid posted under single account. Better anonymity is to post from one/few time accounts (maybe he/she did this too). Having in mind quid is moderator at SE, I suspect some people at SE know the real name, not sure. – joro Apr 10 '16 at 6:31
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    I will miss having quid around. He/she was part of what makes MO so fun. – Benjamin Steinberg Apr 11 '16 at 0:09
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    quid has quit -- quidquid agis, prudenter agas et respice finem? -- Making so immense contributions to the site without even telling who they are needs a quite special personality, so perhaps sudden disappearance is part of the performance and was already planned years ago when creating the account and choosing the name. -- But who knows, maybe all this is nothing but a quiddity! – Stefan Kohl Apr 11 '16 at 15:02
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    Sad to see quid has left. Meta will not be the same without quid. – Kaveh Apr 11 '16 at 18:03
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    Sorry this is so gossipy, but why did quid leave? Did he have some problem with MO that we all should be aware of?? His/her loss is very unfortunate... – Jon Bannon Apr 13 '16 at 19:41
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    This was the point of my post: to forestall such gossip. I think that your question is reasonable, but that it would hav been already answered on this page. Speculation may continue, but not on this forum. Gerhard "Or So I Strongly Recommend" Paseman, 2016..04.14. – Gerhard Paseman Apr 14 '16 at 11:31
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    Does account deletion have an option of preserving the content? I.e. I well imagine a situation when a user is overwhelmed by his/her account, and wants to be rid of it, but would not mind keeping the data related to the account intact. – Dima Pasechnik Apr 14 '16 at 12:53
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    This is sad news for MO. – Joël Apr 14 '16 at 13:35
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    Best wishes, quid, and thank you. – Nick Gill Apr 18 '16 at 11:48

The user formerly known as quid asked for his account to be deleted from MathOverflow. That was quid's own decision.

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    Meaning, then, that only quid could say what 'happened' that led to this decision. I strongly advise against speculating about this here. – Todd Trimble Apr 9 '16 at 13:15
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    Having in mind quid is still moderator at matheducators.SE, this decision is a bit risky for his moderator career... Good luck quid :-) – joro Apr 9 '16 at 13:48
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    @joro: I don't see how. – Asaf Karagila Apr 9 '16 at 13:49
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    @AsafKaragila MO moderator wrote in comment at least some MO moderators have "contracts" with the SE overlords. The SE overlords can break the contract in $o(1)$ I suspect. Also imagine the headlines in popular media about "SE moderator wants himself deleted from another SE site" (for a start reddit, /.). – joro Apr 9 '16 at 14:17
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    @joro: I don't see why this should have any effect. If I am a pastry chef, will people stop coming to my store just because they found out that I don't like fried eggplants? – Asaf Karagila Apr 9 '16 at 14:21
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    @joro fyi, the moderator agreement is almost entirely about abiding by the Terms of Service, and not making private information public. As for moderators of one site deleting accounts on another, fairly recently a moderator resigned and requested their account deleted on one site, with no repercussions to their diamonds on other sites. – user642796 Apr 9 '16 at 14:29
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    @joro There was a bit of drama on another SE site not that long ago where in the end several moderators deleted their accounts on that site. There is no reason this would affect the ability to moderate a different SE site. The only reasons for SE to take away moderator privileges is serious misconduct of the moderator (which could be on a different site) or inactivity for 6 months. – Mad Scientist Apr 9 '16 at 14:30
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    I wish I could answer all questions this way. Why believe you? – joro Apr 11 '16 at 14:32

Taking Asaf's post as truth that the user requested deletion of their own account (and having no information to the contrary), I encourage people in this community to at best send their well-wishes and then drop the matter.

I left math.stackexchange.com over 5 years ago for reasons that were important to me then. Time will tell whether that was a good or bad choice, but in retrospect the reasons are still important to me, and if they aren't important to others then I am grateful to be left alone regarding the matter. I make the presumption that the person behind the account quid has similar preferences.

In spite of some disagreements I have had with quid's postings, I view the contributions of quid in general to be an asset to Stack Exchange, and especially to MathOverflow community. May we all be inspired to contribute as greatly.

Gerhard "Not Forgotten, But Merely Quiet" Paseman, 2016.04.09.

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    The former user 'quid' made tremendous contributions to MO meta in particular, where he/she has been an unrivaled gold mine of information on the ins and outs of SE sites. This individual also seems to be blessed (if that's the right word) with an extraordinary memory for past events at MO meta, and often showed great sensitivity. Wish him or her well. – Todd Trimble Apr 9 '16 at 20:44
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    And why would you have information to the contrary? But I do agree that when people leave, without explanation, it is generally a good idea for others to mind their own business, and leave them people alone. And with that, I will conclude my business in this thread. – Asaf Karagila Apr 9 '16 at 21:38
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    @Asaf, under most situations, I would not have contrary information. Hypothetically, I might have an email that indicates something else has happened, which I would consider as information yet to be verified. I am not saying you are wrong so much as I am slow to accept your information as truth. I am not slow to act on it in conditional terms, which I have done. Gerhard "Also Willing To Conclude Subthread" Paseman, 2016.04.09. – Gerhard Paseman Apr 9 '16 at 21:56
  • IMHO this shows the meaning of "reputation on SE". – joro Apr 10 '16 at 6:35
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    See this message on Tavern on the Meta for a kind of quantification of Todd's above comment. (The SEDE data has been updated, and no longer includes information about quid.) – user642796 Apr 10 '16 at 13:13
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    Why believe Asaf's version? This is just the version of 13.6K user, not even moderator, not even hint of "evidence". I wish I could answer all questions this way. – joro Apr 11 '16 at 16:18
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    @joro, because I have a degree of trust regarding Asaf Karagila. I trust but let the reader know that I have not verified. If it turns out Asaf was wrong or misled (hypothetically, as things look a lot like Asaf said), my response still applies, even to possible future cases. Gerhard "Trust And Caution Are Compatible" Paseman, 2016.04.11. – Gerhard Paseman Apr 11 '16 at 16:24
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    @joro: What does the amount of reputation or being a moderator has to do with this? I'm not sure. I was trusted with information, and I was trusted to keep it to myself. You don't want to believe me? That's fine. You can either take it or leave it. I generally don't participate in these "why did someone leave" discussions, mostly because I generally have to speculate. The fact that I did partake in this discussion is exactly because I didn't have to speculate. Although I might be lying through my teeth right now as part of a major conspiracy to take over the world. But why believe that too? – Asaf Karagila Apr 15 '16 at 12:22
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    @joro, Asaf's reputation at Mathematics Stack Exchange is a little higher than his reputation at MathOverflow. Perhaps you would believe his statements there? – Joel Reyes Noche Apr 17 '16 at 6:28

quid has outlined his reasons for leaving in this answer (See Footnote 1), in relation to his nomination for a mod position on math.SE.

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    Let me also say that quid confirms in the comments to his nomination that they informed me about the decision in advance. So apparently I had some substance to what I was writing in the answer on this page. But then again, conspiracy theories are sooooo much better... – Asaf Karagila Oct 16 '17 at 18:52
  • I guess I've missed some bad stuff – wasn't aware of any conspiracy theories. I just randomly encountered the question and thought it might help to link to quid's own answer. I'm sorry if his departure has become fodder for conspiracy fans. – Alon Amit Oct 16 '17 at 19:00
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    Oh, the OP here kept claiming that there is no reason for them to believe anything I say because I don't have any substantial proof that I'm not talking nonsense. And I mean, why would I post that? But of course, that's not a reason to be convinced if you think that I have a reason to bullshit on this thread. (And that's, right there, is a conspiracy theory... for beginners anyway! :)) – Asaf Karagila Oct 16 '17 at 19:01
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    Quid wrote "The reason I asked for my account on MO to be deleted, after a rather long and active time there, which was overall a good time, is that I did not agree with certain parts of the site's policy and direction that are important to many users there." I'm not interested in gossip for its own sake, but I would take quid's opinion on the site's policy and diraction rather seriously. Have his/her specific objections been documented publicly or discussed on meta? – Paul Siegel Oct 17 '17 at 12:57
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    @PaulSiegel that's a good question, but I don't know the answer. – Alon Amit Oct 17 '17 at 20:07
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    @PaulSiegel: I think In general, if someone objects to something, but doesn't describe to what exactly they object, this sheds a bad light on the seriousness of the objections. – Stefan Kohl Oct 18 '17 at 10:35
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    I think in particular that raising this objection publicly might compromise some aspect of the system, perhaps dealing with anonymity of quid and others. Quid's history of judgment regarding MathOverflow and how best to serve this forum lead me to trust his judgment on this matter of keeping quiet. For the excessively curious, tea.mathoverflow.net may have clues. Gerhard "We May Never Need Knowing" Paseman, 2017.10.18. – Gerhard Paseman Oct 18 '17 at 14:16
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    quid was just elected to be a moderator for MathSE: vote link. – Joseph O'Rourke Oct 19 '17 at 13:39

A recent discussion in comments under Alon Amit's answer prompts me to offer some reflections on quid's publicly stated feelings and judgments about MO and the differences between MO and Math.SE. I think some of this is also reflected in an interesting discussion I recently had in the MathOverflow chat room with Martin Sleziak.

For me, some of quid's feelings came strongly to the fore in a kind of argument we once had over in the meta thread on reopening closed questions, here: https://meta.mathoverflow.net/a/2564/2926. The MO question we were discussing seemed, to me, to be of obvious interest to mathematicians and really spoke for itself -- "needed no introduction" so to speak, and hence deserved to be reopened. Quid objected that the question formulation was poor, because no motivation or context was set, and I got the strong sense that for quid this is really a sine qua non for a MO question to be good. Whether this type of issue weighed strongly in quid's decision to quit MO is not for me to say, but I do consider it a data point.

Martin Sleziak in our discussion (which got started round about here: https://chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/9369/conversation/discussion-about-differences-between-mo-and-math-se) raised my consciousness about some significant cultural differences between the two sites (I am only an occasional participant over there). It seems that one important ethos at Math.SE is to consciously create a repository of knowledge, which may involve a conscious effort to "tune" a question so that it is not just about the questioner's immediate concerns, but includes an explanation for everyone out there that places the question broadly within mathematics and underlines its possible significance. This is obviously related to quid's line of argument at the reopening thread mentioned above. According to this ethos, answers too at Math.SE should not be directed just to the questioner (e.g. his/her current state of knowledge), but metaphorically over the head to address the wider audience out there, again with a conscious view to build a knowledge data base.

Here at MO, questions are by and large accepted based on perceived level, either as being obviously a question a research mathematician might need to ask, or as posing a challenging problem for research mathematicians. (For an example of the latter, recall Is the sum of digits of $3^{1000}$ divisible by $7$? -- clearly this was not a question asked by a research mathematician, but it was accepted anyway as posing a curious challenge -- I for one thought about it for ten minutes or so.) In either case questions are generally accepted on their own merits, and there is generally not a concerted effort to tune questions further to explain their broader significance unless it's really not obvious to users what their point might be. (Yes, it's true that in Help we say that the setting out context and/or motivation helps make a question good, but certainly at MO that's not "enforced", or only very laxly so.) And it may be true that answers at MO are usually more in view of helping the individual questioner than of speaking to the audience out there and for the ages, so to speak -- this was also touched on in the discussion with Martin.

I wouldn't say either mode is "good" or "bad" -- MO and Math.SE are just very different beasts and appeal in different ways to different audiences. Here at MO, our quality control is mainly based on level as described above, and otherwise it's largely live and let live, granting authors a certain degree of autonomy in how they choose to ask questions. The result is that MO is a garden of limitless delight for a sophisticated audience, but maybe somewhat loosely organized (which I believe quid also publicly commented on, but I'd have to search to find it). Over at Math.SE, a different kind of quality control is called for, and I expect there is more vigorous hands-on editorship over there over question formulation.

From the very get-go leading up to the move to join the SE network, MathOverflow has in spirit always wanted to maintain its autonomy and independence (befitting broad cultural norms of professional mathematics communities, I think): recall the discussions we've had about opting out of the network should the SE hand be felt too heavily. There is a certain level of acceptance here of the wisdom of certain SE operating principles, but I don't think we're quite as beholden to those as some of the other SE sites. Math.SE on the other hand strikes me as operating more according to the "SE book", which quid certainly seems to have mastered.

I would like to congratulate our gone but far from forgotten user quid on being elected as a moderator at Math.SE (congratulations also go to Jack D'Aurizio). I have no doubt he/she will be very thorough and conscientious; being virtually nonpareil in his/her knowledge of SE operations, he/she will bring that knowledge to bear effectively in his/her moderator duties.

Postscript: some more thoughts by quid are here: https://chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/9369/conversation/more-remarks-by-quid-on-his-mo-account-deletion

  • While I benefit from the "live and let live" policy, I am aware (and sometimes raise this awareness) that this community is building a repository for "the ages". When I write for this forum, I believe I am writing for the future, and (among other goals) go for clarity and durability. I would edit with the same goals in mind. I think this post makes for a good meta question on group striving towards a set of goals. Can we craft even better questions out of the existing material? Gerhard "Pull In Same Direction, Perhaps?" Paseman, 2017.10.20. – Gerhard Paseman Oct 20 '17 at 15:07
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    I suppose as a moderator quid is not anonymous for the SE overlords, correct? – joro Oct 20 '17 at 16:12
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    @joro, I believe that's correct, but why do you wish to know? – Todd Trimble Oct 20 '17 at 16:59
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    Out of curiosity. – joro Oct 20 '17 at 17:02
  • @GerhardPaseman At least some of the community has that conscious attitude, I agree (and I think that's generally a good way to be). But not all. For example, one can find answers in the form of a series of hints, which certainly may deliver the much needed information for the question-poser, but not necessarily that effectively for the world at large. – Todd Trimble Oct 20 '17 at 17:04
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    While I do agree that MSE has a far more "editorial" feel to it when it comes to questions, it is only "hands-on" in comparison to the reluctance of editing on MO. I, for one, strongly oppose changing the phrasing of a question or its meaning by people who are not the original poster; and would go as far as publicly rebuke those who do that or even reverse their edits. I do agree, however, that the key different is in "how does the answerer interprets the question", but even then I feel that the difference is not to big. [...] – Asaf Karagila Oct 20 '17 at 17:48
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    [...] For a very long time, my feeling was that the main difference is that MO accepts that most questions are aimed at a very narrow slice of the participants, something that might cause a high "noise-to-signal" ratio if one is not interested in most topics covered here; whereas MSE does indeed try to focus on broader questions and answers. But this is by no mean done via editing questions, rather it is done by calibration of the levels and spectra of answers. But, lo and behold, the same can be said on MO, just on a far thinner scale—as appropriate for a researcher-focused website. – Asaf Karagila Oct 20 '17 at 17:51
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    I think it is somewhat misleading to think the difference between MO and MSE mostly a difference of cultures. Much of the structure required at MSE is a necessity that comes from it being the second largest SE site and by being frequented by drive by users trying to dump their homework[...] – Michael Greinecker Oct 24 '17 at 17:18
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    [...]The MSE meta lingo for problems lacking any context is PSQ for "problem statement questions", and this notion came mostly out of discussions on how to deal with homework questions. The need for context also arises because one may want to help a specific asker. You don't often read "Sorry, we didn't learn that concept yet." on MO. – Michael Greinecker Oct 24 '17 at 17:18

There is some concern that quid's contributions have disappeared. I can verify that they are still here. For example, this question was answered by quid, and the comments are still preserved. It just shows the user as "user9072".

  • Answers that are accepted do not get deleted when a user's account is deleted. Other answers are deleted. – S. Carnahan Sep 26 '16 at 13:43
  • @S.Carnahan So comments are preserved, but answers aren't? I find that surprising. – arsmath Sep 26 '16 at 16:32
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    @S.Carnahan Did you mean to say that answers (and questions) with negative score are deleted? See, for example here. – Martin Sleziak Sep 29 '16 at 8:55
  • @MartinSleziak Thank you for the link. It seems I was mistaken. – S. Carnahan Sep 30 '16 at 0:08
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    I have added this link also under the question, but since this answer is concerned specifically with this users posts, I'll mention also here that they can be found also using SEDE. For example, there is this query; Get posts list of a deleted user. – Martin Sleziak Oct 20 '17 at 15:52

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