The first comment under this answer is seemingly by someone with the name "delete". And yet, no tooltip/message appears when you mouse over this name. Screenshot:

enter image description here

For convenience, here is the text version, copied as is, including the name and timestamp:

"Even the most conservative and staunchest prescriptivist commenters admit that there is nothing inherently ungrammatical about so-called “split” infinitives" - really? – delete
Aug 28, 2010 at 22:50"

Thank you in advance for your help.

1 Answer 1


A long time ago, the username of deleted users wasn't automatically anonymized so users would change it to something else before deletion. This user decided to call themselves "delete" and then requested their account be deleted, which is why you can't access their profile.

  • Is that true only of ELU or all of SE? Nov 10 at 21:07
  • 2
    It's true of all old sites.
    – Laurel Mod
    Nov 10 at 21:10
  • About how old would such sites be? Nov 10 at 21:19
  • 1
    In 2011 they made it so deleted accounts show as "user#####" instead so anything before that. (However, there are still some other situations where you'd see unlinked usernames which can still happen even today since they're not caused by user deletion.)
    – Laurel Mod
    Nov 10 at 21:33
  • May I ask why the original name is not used? Nov 10 at 22:04
  • That wouldn't be anonymous.
    – Laurel Mod
    Nov 10 at 22:30
  • Why is it anonymous? Nov 10 at 22:37
  • Because once an account is deleted, it's deleted, including all reference to whoever it belonged to. SE was in advance of GDPR in this regard, implementing this "right to be forgotten" in 2011.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Nov 11 at 8:13
  • 1
    Actually, people who wanted to delete their accounts were asked to change the display name to delete. Yes, the idea was to anonymize the name because otherwise the last used display name was keep.
    – apaderno
    Nov 13 at 8:33
  • (I meant that delete has not a random choice made by the person who wanted to delete the account. It was a display name that would communicate to CM's the intention to delete the account. Probably, the account would not have been deleted, if the display name was changed from delete to something else, include the previously used display name.)
    – apaderno
    Nov 13 at 8:40

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