lied_ohne_worte (lied_ohne_worte) wrote in suggestions,

Automatically break any redirects if a renamed account is deleted and purged.

Automatically break any redirects if a renamed account is deleted and purged.

Short, concise description of the idea
When an account is purged that has previously been renamed with the old username forwarding to the new one, automatically break the redirect and purge the old username when the new username is purged, thus making it available again.

Full description of the idea
This suggestion would address the following, non-intuitive behaviour:

If an account is renamed from USERNAME_1 to USERNAME_2 with the "Forwarding" option selected, USERNAME_1 will redirect to USERNAME_2. For example, if someone visits [], they will automatically be brought to []. USERNAME_1 will not be available for use by others, as it is still associated with the account.

If at some later point, the account owner deletes the account, and it stays in the deleted state for more than 30 days, it will eventually be purged from the servers. At that time, the current username (USERNAME_2) becomes available for use - anyone can claim it by renaming an existing account. However, USERNAME_1 will *not* become available - it still redirects to USERNAME_2, and it cannot be renamed to, even though the account it is associated with is no longer existing.

This leads to a problem that can occasionally be seen in Support: A user would like to use USERNAME_1 for their account. They visit the journal URL to check if it is available and see the message "This account has been deleted and purged" on the screen. Of course, they will assume that the username is available - often, they will not even realise that they have been redirected to the page for USERNAME_2. But if they purchase a rename token and try to use it to rename to USERNAME_1, they will receive an error message telling them that the name is in use.

If the user in question opens a Support request, the problem can be solved: For a purged account, a LiveJournal administrator can break the redirect from USERNAME_1 to USERNAME_2. However, this does not mean that USERNAME_1 will become available immediately - rather, the username will be marked as deleted, and it will be purged separately from the account itself. This means that the user in question will need to wait at least 30 days before USERNAME_1 can be used, which is of course frustrating.

An ordered list of benefits
  • A process that currently requires a Support request and staff intervention could be automated.
  • Less confusion, frustration and waiting time for users.
  • More intuitive behaviour - if an account is purged, all of its usernames should be freed up. As the account itself no longer exists, the redirect does not serve any purpose (except for seeing which username the account owner has used, but as the last username can be changed if someone renames to it, that isn't really true anyway).
  • More usernames are easily available for renaming.
An ordered list of problems/issues involved
  • This might not be technically possible? As users can undelete their account as long as it has not been purged, the redirect could only be broken after purging, not after account deletion. And as purging is automated, it might not be possible to purge the older username at the same time as the new one, because it would not have been deleted for more than 30 days. Perhaps the old username could be marked as deleted when the account was purged, to be automatically purged once the waiting time was over? This would at least remove the need for staff intervention, although there would remain a delay until the username could be used.
  • There might be other technical issues involved that I don't realise.
Tags: account renaming, § no status
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