Deleted profiles

Let’s say a user gets verified and later they delete their profile. What happens when they try to re-verify?

  • Will they be rejected to ever rejoin the community?
  • Or would couchers store their community standing (even though they deleted their data) and enable rejoining by reconnecting the standing?

In general, which information would couchers still want/need to store, when a user requests profile deletion?

I imagine for GDPR reasons, their verification details would be deleted as well, so they’d have to start again.

Although presumably if you get banned, you shouldn’t be able to request deletion the rejoin…

I thought an important part of the verification system is about users not being able to just delete their profile and start all over again? So I assume some data must be stored, but, as asked above, how does it actually play out in detail?

I guess we can keep the id details after reading this but we’d need to make sure.

By Id details, I mean the users name, id type and last few digits if the id number, which will be the only thing ever collected

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Yes, that would be my understanding so far: can keep minimal identification. can’t keep more without explicit consent. but that would mean couchers would need to inform users deleting their profile that

  • they can’t come back once they left
  • else they’d need to consent that their standing is kept on record (or download a verifiable backup of their standing as discussed in directions of the codebase)
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It’s slightly more nuanced than that. GDPR makes allowances for “legitimate interests”, and I imagine ensuring integrity of bans or verification by keeping only that data comes under that.

Of course that doesn’t mean we have to keep it. How identifiable would you object to? For example, the data I was imagining to be kept would be:

Name, ID type, last 4 digits

Adr1an Fullname, passport, 1234

Is that too much? There’s no address or contact info, and nothing about the passport other than the last 4 numbers.

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If the purpose is only to check for prior usage, storing a fingerprint of a unique data combination would be enough, no?

But anyways, I posted this in trust & safety more out of concern for the general policies:

  • if a verified user deletes their profile and has some negative feedback, will they be told that they will not be able to rejoin? or are there other options?
  • what happens to references? i guess pseudonymization just of the name will not satisfy privacy regulations? will they all just have to disappear?

… i always thought i was alone with that impression! :rofl:

but yes, that’s why i started the topic. I think it’s a good and legitimate aim to keep users from being able to delete their profiles and start anew to get rid of negative feedback. but at the same time it’s not so straightforward how to generalize this limitation. there can be a lot of valid reasons to want to delete a profile and platforms that make you stick against your intentions can feel super annoying. i certainly deleted a range of profiles on different platforms over the years (and later came back), just because i freaked out about not wanting my data stick around somewhere. i also learned from my downloaded cs data that i actually had one negative reference (that apparently never showed up, because it was left without further comment. i didn’t know that’s how negative refs can work on cs) so if they’d had a similar policy in place i guess i would have felt annoyed to be presented with the suggestion i might want to delete my profile to get rid of this reference. and possibly lots of other akward consequences…

the other issue regarding deleted profiles where i wonder about the concrete consequences is references. I assume a common understanding is that references rather belong to the community than to the user, because that’s how they are made to appear on cs. But in reality, if a user deletes their profile on cs, the references they left and received are anonymized and orphaned on the corresponding profiles. If the other party deletes their profile as well, there is no lasting community record of these references. And I think this is actually the correct understanding: references are personal and private and presenting a collection of references regarding a specific user is only viable with this user’s consent. So I think getting rid of references is right, but at the same time it’s also very akward, because it feels like constantly rewriting history…

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I agree that getting rid of references is the right approach when a profile is deleted. There are for sure a vast number of deleted profiles that have deleted because of the incorrect use of the site, and it’s probable the references they left are also problematic.

I understand all the arguments here, but then how do we prevent people with a lot of negative references from just deleting their accounts and starting again? Either we’d have to keep their references/score or prevent people from coming back. This seems more important to me than allowing good users to reset their accounts. Is there a way we could potentially do both?

I agree with @anon46748786 that deleting a profile without a user’s request requires a different approach, but still believe members trying to clear their profiles by deleting and returning are a problem.

But if the verification process makes it necessary to interact personally with other members, that’s already one big check against that.

And I actually see a big difference between keeping written references or keeping a calculated score. I think we can’t keep references, but we can keep a score. And if we keep the score linked to fingerprints of verified data instead of the plain text data we can have minimal data requirements and still communicate that members will be associated with that score on record when re-verifying with the same data.

That’s another check and taken together is already a good structure that won’t bother users with good standing. In my view the goal here is not a bulletproof setup, but communicating clearly what’s good practice and making cheating it more costly.

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What’s the GDPR or any other privacy/copyright stand on banned users?
There should be a way to keep track on them somehow or they’ll just delete the account and sign-up again.

About people who decided to erase their account and come back again, the option to save the score and restart from there sounds like a good way. Just check the legal way to do so, like with banned users.