I know that this is an unusual question, but I can't seem to find any information on how to delete your user account. I found this question:

How do you unsubscribe from a StackExchange site and delete your profile?

But as you can see, they never did actually answer the question. Any ideas on how this is done? Thank you in advance.


People seem to want more details or an explanation for why I would like to delete my account so here it is. I came to GIS.se to help people and because it was fun trying to answer some of the question. For a while I did have a lot of fun doing it. My favourite answer was actually the question about how to extend vector lines. I spent the better part of an afternoon writing a tool to solve that particular problem. It was challenging. In fact, my answer came a little too late and didn’t receive any upvotes but that didn’t much matter to me because I enjoyed it so much. The same goes for several of my other answers like the one on measuring the density of line intersections and mapping saddle points on ridges and probably a half dozen others. Now there is a subgroup of people in this community who seem to think that what I was doing was ‘self promotion’ and labeled my answers as ‘spam’. It’s true that most of my answers used my own GIS software in their workflows. My software is my canvas in the same way that some use arcpy, GRASS, or QGIS. I don’t bother them for using a specific tool and I can’t imagine why it would be so offensive to some that I would use my tool. If you wrote your own GIS, wouldn’t you use it to solve your problems? It fits me like a glove! This isn’t self-promotion. I have never made a cent off of my software…it’s open source! I don’t own a company. Also, compared with most in this community, I was, until recently when I attempted to delete my profile, one of the few that put my entire affiliation up there for all to see. I believe in openness. Anyone who knows me would think the accusation of self-promotion is rather contrary to my personality. I’m truly not bothered if people use my software or not. Take that question about the vector line extensions as an example. I wrote a tool that is now available in my software. Given the uniqueness of the problem that the OP had, it’s unlikely that anyone will ever use the tool. I’m perfectly okay with that because I found it an interest problem at the time that required challenging spatial reasoning (and allowed me to procrastinate on other work). To have my answers labeled as spam, i.e. valueless, and worse even tasteless, is particularly disappointing given the effort that I spent on some of them.

It’s not all about my answers though. The other problem that I see with this community is the needless downvoting mechanism. There’s a reason that you vote FOR politicians/political parties in a democratic system and not against. The power to vote negatively is just too enticing for some individuals who crave power and you have an unfortunate group of self-appointed sheriffs here. The vast majority of questions on this site are asked by people who are inexperienced with GIS. That’s not to say that they aren’t honest, intelligent individuals. They simply have a problem they can’t answer on their own and am looking for a little help. All too often I see what seems like people picking on these individuals. If when someone in my class worked up the courage to ask a question during lecture and I reacted by telling them their question was not worthy of being asked (downvoting) do you think they, or anybody else, would ask another question again? It’s sad to see and it raises my blood pressure whenever I log on and observe it. I’ve concluded that I’m not suited to this site. I find myself upvoting downvoted questions simply to encourage the askers not to give up. I’ll edit an unclear question in the hopes that I can get there before the downvoters do. People generally ask questions in good faith and people generally answer questions with good intentions. So the site is no longer fun for me and I do really want to leave. I find that I am only able to delete five of my answers per day so until one of the moderators has the good nature to accept my request to be removed, I’ll delete five per day and wait.

  • 1
    Firstly, let me apologize for letting things escalate to this level. Secondly, please take a little while to reconsider. You obviously have good knowledge to share, and I'd hate to see someone leave over one disagreement. Perhaps if we both took an extra moment to reconsider each post here, e.g. is it within the guidelines and spirit of this site, will it be beneficial, then we wouldn't be at this point.
    – user3461
    Oct 7, 2013 at 22:14
  • 1
    You seem to think that I am affiliated with QGIS and have close ties to many of the QGIS devs here. Let me assure you that I am not. I am still concerned that many of your early posts are a bit too spam-like. However, should you choose to stay, I will police myself to avoid commenting on your responses and will not bring them to moderator attention as spam. In short, I will rely on the opinion of everyone else here regarding your answers.
    – user3461
    Oct 7, 2013 at 22:19
  • 7
    I would also encourage you to reconsider. I find your contributions thus far to be very helpful and valuable. In general my experience with this community is that it is very welcoming and easy going, but we do have rules that must be followed. I would rather see the rule in question be discussed further as it is a bit of a gray area what constitutes self-promotion. But my impression is that your posts have all been made in good faith (i.e. not spam) and that disclosure of affiliation in every post is not necessary, so long as it is in your user profile (which it is not currently).
    – blah238
    Oct 7, 2013 at 22:41
  • 5
    John you are clearly a smart and talented individual, motivated to share your work and help others. I encourage you to reconsider your decision to leave. The Stack Exchange community in general is sensitive, hair trigger like perhaps, to the appearance of unsolicited self promotion, spam. Like all defensive mechanisms, it's not always applied correctly. Please see Promoting something I am associated with? for some discussion on how we attempt to balance this. Oct 8, 2013 at 8:26
  • 4
    I have mixed feelings about this. I genuinely share @mattwilkie's sentiments and your edit shows you are an ideal person to be interacting here. On the other hand, you have grossly overblown the significance of a single interchange that uses a medium (our comment threads) that is limited in its expressiveness and you continue to insinuate that this community acts in bad faith (as indicated, for example, by suggesting we have held off deleting your account due to our lack of "good nature" when you have been informed privately of the real reasons).
    – whuber
    Oct 8, 2013 at 15:06
  • 2
    Re deleting your posts, that's a matter of their status. Where they have contributed to threads or people have responded to them or edited them, they have become collective works. Deletion becomes a form of public vandalism which will be detected and likely reversed. When your account disappears, your posts remain behind (although not attributed to you). I would prefer that your good work did remain visible, that the world could see that you contributed it, and that you continued to interact positively by upvoting Q's and A's, encouraging new users, and continuing our dialog here on Meta.
    – whuber
    Oct 8, 2013 at 15:09
  • @whuber, It was not my intention to suggest that the moderators are acting in bad faith by delaying the deletion of my account. I assumed that most of you were busy doing other things.
    – user21951
    Oct 8, 2013 at 15:11
  • 3
    John, we are concerned. You point, quite rightly, to ways in which this community's interactions have fallen short and can be improved, especially concerning voting. Your criticism is extremely valuable and has great potential to make positive changes in our site. If you could see your way to staying and continuing to interact with us I would be grateful.
    – whuber
    Oct 8, 2013 at 15:18
  • 1
    Thank you sincerely for sharing your thoughts and motivations, even as you walk out the door. It would have been very easy to just write the whole thing off without another word expressed, leaving us to our own wonderings in the dark as to what was at play, and being sorely off the mark. (Well, for myself anyway. My own speculation didn't come very near the nut of your complaint.) It's good to know deeper mechanisms of the system itself, the downvoting, are significant factor to your poor experience. This would have been lost if the visible exchange had been left to a spam/not-spam discussion. Oct 8, 2013 at 19:10

2 Answers 2


As I mentioned in the comments I would encourage you to reconsider, however, it is possible to do so, as described in this help center topic:

How do I delete my account?

User deletion is irreversible! By sending this request, your votes will be revoked, and all of your content will be made anonymous.

If your account has voted or posted:

  • Thanks @blah238 that seems to do the job ;)
    – user21951
    Oct 7, 2013 at 23:20
  • 3
    Another source. It is worth to mention this procedure deletes a user account in just one specific SE site. It needs to be repeated if one wants to leave all SE sites. Oct 7, 2013 at 23:27

Moderators can delete user accounts, but this should only be done is severe cases (spam, bad language, abusive etc)

I do not fully understand why in this case this user wants to delete thier account. This maybe for legitimate reasons.

Please note to all GIS-SE Users : The deletion of accounts is irreversible.

This site wants evolve and to be fair to all users, if someone wants take this action we must accept their request. But the decision should have some thought.

We are all here to share knowledge, we are gaining numbers daily and for some it is not for them.

  • I've edited my question in hopes of demonstrating that I have thought about the decision to be removed and that it is for a legitimate reason. I hope that one of the mods will respect this decision and remove my profile and delete all of my answers.
    – user21951
    Oct 8, 2013 at 14:16
  • 2
    @JohnLindsay I understand your situation, you are very talented for creating your own GIS that is a huge achievement in itself. GIS-SE can be very impulsive and answers can be accepted rapidly even if a better answer arrives at a later date. If you still want your account deleted please confirm this. This will delete your post, comments,history. Please accept my apology that this site did not bring what you expected. Hope you have success/acknowledgement with your product in the future.
    – Mapperz Mod
    Oct 8, 2013 at 14:51
  • 2
    Just to clarify, I'm not requesting to leave because my answers weren't accepted. Some were, some weren't and that's fine. I'm leaving because 1) some perceive my answers as self-promotion and valueless, 2) the downvoting mechanism breeds a nasty underbelly of the community, and some people here are rather territorial. So, yes, please do delete my history. Thank you.
    – user21951
    Oct 8, 2013 at 15:02
  • Just to clarify, John, because this is irreversible: do you understand the distinction between deleting your account and deleting your "history" (whatever that might mean)? Are you sure you are asking for what you really want? Deleting your account leaves all your posts and will likely result in undeleting the ones you have deleted. It removes the effects of all your votes. It removes your user name from your posts and comments. Also, as I have said before, please do not equate your interpretation of one person's comments with the sentiments of all or even "some" in this community!
    – whuber
    Oct 8, 2013 at 15:14
  • 3
    @whuber, I agree that the larger community is not reflected by the minority that I have highlighted. But from a personal point of view, it is this minority that I would like to distance myself from. It's a matter of the straw that broke the camel's back, you know? So I wish you well and am thankful that there are good people like yourself here. I just personally can't be here any longer. Good luck.
    – user21951
    Oct 8, 2013 at 15:21

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