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What will happen to comments when account is removed?

+4
−0

Today there was a request to remove user's account. This user has some Qs which were transported(converted) to System user. But comments are disappeared.

Though there is a possibility that user removed all they comments manually before requesting deletion I don't think this is the case.

Anyway it's unclear what should happen is such case, whether it is a bug (comment is a content as well) or it is by design (comment is a something temporary).

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+6
−0

The problem is, that nothing happens with comments. Literally nothing.

This means, that the comment table contains references to a non-existent user, which causes 500 server errors. This is bad and should be fixed, I just added it to our list.

To fix these errors, I logged into the developer console and manually changed the user ids to -1, which is our System user. While doing that, I accidentally set the deleted flag on all comments instead of changing the user id[1]. When I noticed that, I immediately flipped all comments back to being undeleted. However, that seemed problematic to me too. What if a comment had been deleted for legitimate reasons (such as containing personal information or whatever) before? I decided to err on the side of caution and deleted all comments, again, especially as comments are generally not main contents, unlike posts.

We should definitely form community consensus on what happens with comments from deleted users and then implement that into our deletion script.

If there's consensus, that comments under one post should be restored (for example, because there was a worthwhile discussion), I would go through the comments and undelete those manually, who are not problematic. Of course, I'll also give a short summary of comment threads by the specific user, if requested.


  1. Reminder to self: be even more careful when working with the console; you have direct database access! ↩︎

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