I apologize if the answer to this is obvious or well-known.

I'm curious to know what happens to a user's (1) questions, (2) answers, and (3) comments after a user's account has been deleted in the request of the user.

Is it the case that all three categories of the user's contributions are still visible on the site, but that the attribution is changed from a username (e.g. "quid") to something like "user9072"?

Or do some categories of the user's contributions become invisible? (e.g. answers with no up-votes disappear)

I was looking through recent meta.mo questions, and I saw fewer answers and comments from user9072/quid than I was expecting.

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    On meta some contributions of quid seem to have been deleted, but so far as I can tell contributions on the main site seem intact. – Lucia Apr 14 '16 at 23:46
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    Observe that the deleted user can delete himself some of his contributions. IIRC exceptions are like questions with high scored answers. In situations like this archive.org may help, but AFACT it is not indexed by google. – joro Apr 15 '16 at 9:36
up vote 15 down vote accepted

When an account is deleted, posts made by that account on the main site with a negative score are deleted along with it. (Posts with a score ≥ 0 are preserved.) Previously all negatively scored posts on the meta site were also deleted, but this behaviour changed very recently and now all meta posts are preserved. All comments are preserved, although like posts they are "anonymised" and attributed to a "user#####".

(For completeness, there is a stronger form of account deletion, called destruction, which will delete all contributions by the account. This form is generally reserved for spammers and users trolling the site — so "contributions" is perhaps an overstatement — and additionally feeds into a system designed to prevent those users/people/bots from posting again.)

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    Is there an option for undeleting a deleted account? – joro Apr 15 '16 at 9:38
  • @joro SE employees (I'm not sure if CMs can do this themselves, or if a developer is needed) can undelete deleted accounts. This is quite rare, and can almost certainly only be initiated by the owner of the account by contacting SE. – user642796 Apr 15 '16 at 9:56
  • How to properly cite a post authored by a user who has deleted their account? -- If the author's name is replaced by "user#####", it is in general not possible to find out who the author is. – Stefan Kohl Apr 15 '16 at 10:08
  • @StefanKohl If you trust archive.org or in some cases google's cache, you in most cases can easily find quid. – joro Apr 15 '16 at 10:56
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    @StefanKohl That might be a question for Academia. I would guess that whatever conventions there are for citing pseudonymous works would apply (with "user#####" as the pseudonym). – user642796 Apr 15 '16 at 11:28
  • In this regard I am very curious about the mysterious sigfpe. If you search for it, seems like there was a very active user with this name. I've never encountered this user however, neither questions nor answers nor comments, only numerous mentions by others. Maybe I should ask a separate question about it. – მამუკა ჯიბლაძე Apr 26 '16 at 20:13
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    @მამუკაჯიბლაძე Account information on tea suggests that sigfpe is Dan Piponi. – user642796 Apr 26 '16 at 20:23
  • Wow thanks for pointing this out – მამუკა ჯიბლაძე Apr 26 '16 at 20:54

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