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How many automatically created users that were never active are there still and what to do about them?

+5
−2

For some communities content from other places has been imported in the past and user profiles have been created, partly to allow users to quickly claim this identity if desired. However, these users differ from normal users in that they never were active. One could call them fake or dummy users. The profile page in these cases says "This user was automatically created ...". Otherwise these users are identical to normal users in the way that they can for example earn reputation (although internally there is probably still a property that marks them as special, in order to allow claiming the profile).

One could of course simply do nothing about them and say it's fine as it is.

But I think that there are a few things that are problematic about them:

  • They clutter the users list. For example, I don't really believe writing needs 400 pages in the users list. I don't think they should appear in the users list, unless they have been claimed by somebody.
  • They show activity, but this isn't real activity by these users (or not activity on Codidact at least as for example evident by the age of the activity years ago of when Codidact was founded). It shouldn't be called activity then until the content has been claimed.
  • Many do not even show any activity, because the content has been deleted again in the mean time. They would symbolize dummy users without any purpose and could probably be deleted right away?
  • In general, they kind of give the impression of being real users when their status is in truth somewhat different (automatically created, no further activity). There should be a difference in automatically created and not automatically created users. One could think about them as inactive users, but then inactive users can become active again, automatically created users never can (unless claimed).
  • It's unclear of how many there are. How many automatically created, never claimed users are there still on Codidact?
  • It's unlikely that many of them will ever be claimed. Or what has the claiming rate been historically?

I would propose to:

  • Remove all automatically created users without any content left (and even do so regularly should other such users lose their content too).
  • Either remove all automatically created users right away (they aren't needed for attribution, the attribution is separately shown below the respective posts, it's only needed for claiming that content and that is now unlikely) which would leave us with content without users as author (which is an apt definition of imported content, but leaves the question of who gets reputation then) or ...
  • Demote these users to make more visible that they are dummy (automatically created) users in a way that a) they do not appear in the users list and aren't counted as real users anywhere, b) do not render in the same way below their content and possible other stuff as well. We would basically need a new category of "users" for this.
  • Make a statistics about how many there are for each community, relative to the total number of users.

What do you think should be done (if anything) about them?

Slightly related Do SE users have the right to have their SE posts removed from Codidact? If so, how?

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2 comment threads

Importing content was a massive mistake. (4 comments)
Attribution requirement (3 comments)

1 answer

+5
−1

Importing content was a mistake

It may have sounded good at the time, but hindsight has now clearly shown that importing content from Elsewhere was a mistake. These dummy users are part of that. We should delete all imported content, which includes users that never showed up here in person. That also gets around licensing and attribution issues.

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