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    • CommentAuthorUser
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2011 edited
    I have some questions which I can't delete. Is it possible to disassociate my profile from some of my questions?(mabybe by keeping the whole question as it is and changing the OP's name and comments to something such as "user101")
    I think this is helpful since there are a whole lot of of students or graduates who will be applying to gradschools or other positions and who would not want some of their scatterbrained questions to be found by admissions committee who might google them.(I think they do not have the time to put to the test of Google, though.) It appears that many MOers have been in such a committee some time before.

    As far as I am aware, it is not possible to do this.

    • CommentAuthorUser
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2011
    @Scott, thanks for your answer.

    Will it be possible in the future, say when we migrate, so that I will refrain from wavering whether to delete my account?
    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2011

    User: Not sure if you know (or care). It is, however, possible to change your name for the entire account. Just edit your user-profile.

    • CommentAuthorUser
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2011 edited
    @quid, thanks for the tip. I think the thread I started is a question of many, unvoiced since olden days.
    Fortunately/unfortunately, there are good questions (I inferred from high number of votes they got) which will be of benefit to my cyber-presence. I wish to continue breathing under my real name in MO.
    tl;dr - I'm grateful that the requested "feature" doesn't exist on MO.

    I don't want to start a flame here, but I strongly feel the need to comment on OP's question - I apologize if this is slightly off-topic.

    This is a prime example of "culture of fear". The fear that an admission committee would Google applicants' MO questions is, without doubt, irrational. Who would have time to do that with hundreds of applicants? And do you really think that even a few mildly stupid questions would destroy the case of an otherwise excellent candidate? I find this very implausible. And yet, the fear is there, which shows how much people are concerned with getting every possible competitive advantage at every stage. I can't imagine how you can do original, independent work (instead of simply academia ladder-climbing) if your thinking is ruled by this kind of fear from the very beginning. And I won't even comment about what kind of academic culture such thinking promotes (hiding mistakes, being afraid to ask questions for fear of humiliation - is this the sort of academic environment we want?)

    Anyway, writing questions and answers on MO is a complete waste of time - you'd be better off churning out papers to strengthen your case before the next admission committee, wouldn't you?

    Sorry if this sounded too harsh, but there is a certain streak of "career-minded" posts on MO that reflects this job market-driven mentality, which, I believe, is ultimately harmful to the academic world at large and is something we should discourage.

    To clarify things, I'm not saying that one shouldn't be concerned about making an impression on various committees etc. But once this mentality is pushed too far, we land in a rat-race-like community, ruled mostly by fear of competition and failure - this is not the kind of world I'd like to work in if I were a fresh grad student.
    • CommentAuthorUser
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2011
    @Marcin Kotowski, thanks for the comment.
    As I can see from your profile, you are a graduate student. So, I do not know whether you have been on a committee.
    I do believe that such strategy is not used at the beginning but at the last refinement(e.g. to choose 10 out of 11 candidates) that might happen.
    Even googling the phrase "Googling graduate applicants" shows that it is generally discouraged to google an applicant. But the problem does not end there. Imagine your math-friend or your close advisor or your recommender etc doing it. ...any means in near future to get rid of some of the really REALLY REALLY TRIVIAL questions I asked and defended so ferociously?
    • CommentAuthorvoloch
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2011
    I really don't understand this discussion. Of course you can delete your own questions. Right underneath the body of the question is a list of links :"edit, rollback, close, delete, flag, cite". If you screwed up and lost your password or something, just email the moderators and have them delete it for you. I'm sure they will be discreet and not inform any hiring committee of your youthful indiscretions.
    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2011 edited

    voloch: I do not think a user can delete each of his/her questions. I was under this impression, too, but in some discussion it came up that there is a certain threshold of activity, regarding answers and alike. If a question is past that threshold, a user cannot delete it anymore. Also I have some vague memeory of a dicussion on SE to the extent that expansive deletions are or at least can be considered as site-vandalism. Finally, there is also the thread 'deleted question with (possibly substantiave) answers' on this board whose sole purpose is to restore deleted questions. Thus, the situation seems not so obvious.

    Update on the 'threshold': From the linked thread according to Anton a question having an answer with at least two upvotes cannot be deleted by its owner.

    • CommentAuthorMariano
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2011

    @User, the MO software is in practice frozen, so you should not hold your breath for such a change (or any other) to happen. I seriously doubt that moving to SE 2.0 would help you in this particular regard.

    In any case: asking "really really trivial questions" is part of the process of learning. You should probably avoid picking an advisor or a recommender who thinks that having asked such questions in the past somehow reflects badly on you.

    • CommentAuthorWill Jagy
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2011
    One thing you can do is go through all your posts and examine your comments for ferocious defending. I would guess the comments can be deleted.
    @quid said "From the linked thread according to Anton a question having an answer with at least two upvotes cannot be deleted by its owner."

    This info might be useful:
    I have a question with three answers, all with 3 or more upvotes, and I have the options of editing, closing, deleting, and flagging the question (and I don't have moderator powers). I asked the question on April 2011, the question currently has 10 upvotes, and I currently have 254 reputation.

    1. What options do you see for your questions?
    2. If flagging the question is an option, consider flagging it and requesting the moderator to close it.
    (Comment deleted because I had misunderstood a statement)
    • CommentAuthorUser
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2011
    @voloch, Mariano, Will Jagy and Joel Reyes Noche, thank you all for your involvement and suggestions.

    @Joel, I have the options of editing, closing, deleting, and flagging the question. I will try my best to do the optimal.
    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2011 edited

    @Joel: what do you mean by 'I have the options' that you did/tryed this or that the link are there. (Trying it might be risky for any <10k user as one would be unable to get back to the question if I understand correctly.).

    I do not want to insist that my information is correct, as I never tried it, but what I know is that I have a link to vote to close a question even if I did so already, and only when I click do I get the message that I cannot vote a second time. So, just that a link 'delete' is there might not mean much.

    Added: Of course I cannot know whether User's questions are above the threshold, so it might be the case that s/he actually can delete, but did not know how. Though in view of the very first sentence of the conversation this seems surprising. But who knows.

    Update: For the puprose of testing and since this could be restored by myself, I just tried to delete one of my answers which is an accepted answer. Delete link was there, I clicked got a pop-up to the extent 'really delete', I clicked yes and only then was I told I cannot delete as it is an accepted answer. So, I am quite convinced that the information I gave is correct.

    @quid, you are correct. Although I had the options, I never really tried clicking the links. I'm not going to try to delete my question (because I might succeed :). I'll take your word for it. Thanks.

    Your own questions and answers are always be visible to you, even when they are deleted. However, for some strange reason, deleted questions and answers will not be visible to you on your profile page until you reach 10k. You can work around this by noting the url (or just the question number) and typing it in directly to reach your deleted question or answer. If you completely lose a deleted question, ask a moderator to find it for you.

    You have the ability to delete/undelete your questions as often as you want. However, if your question already has answers with a non-trivial amount of votes, then you will need community approval before your question is deleted since that will also delete other people's answers. In those cases, flag for moderator attention or email the moderators directly.

    It's perhaps not well-known that you can always vote to close & reopen your own questions. If your question gets deleted and you vote to reopen it, then your question shows up in a list for 10k users, who may see it and decide to vote to reopen too. If you don't vote to reopen your question, you lose that extra visibility.

    • CommentAuthorUser
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2011
    @Fran├žois, thank you for the answer. I hope not to be of burden to the moderators but I will see to it that things will work out fine for everyone(the community).
    @quid, yes, I am above the threshold.

    I was on the University of Michigan graduate admissions committee this year. I googled candidates whom I thought were borderline or unusual, and several of my searches found MO accounts. In my opinion, the impact of these were always either positive or neutral. There were several undergrads where I made notes in their files like "Clear writer on MO" or "Asked some interesting questions on MO about Lie groups". If the account showed low level questions, who cares? We are looking at undergrads; the fact that they are asking questions at an undergrad level doesn't reflect badly on them, if anything, it reflects mildly well that they are looking into professional fora.

    The exception (which didn't come up) would have been if someone were frequently rude on MO. Our committee chair asked us to flag any files where we got clues that the applicant might have a difficult personality. I didn't see such clues at MO, but I would have noted them if I did.

    • CommentAuthorUser
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011
    @David, thank you for the comment. That was exactly the kind of situation I was anticipating.
    • CommentAuthorthierryzell
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2011 edited
    A few comments:

    1) About User's question here: Unlike Marcin, I think it is fair for User to worry about this, though I think the risk is low. Yes, search committees have other things to do than to Google candidates. It does not mean that individual members may not come across your internet presence accidentally. Especially your MO presence. The current job market [or grad school market, or whatever] is very competitive, and you want to avoid anything distasteful in your online presence. (BTW, FaceBook and Twitter are often a worse way of damning yourself than MO, though...)

    2) About the deletion of questions: it is indeed desirable for deletion of questions on MO to be hard. If I spend a lot of time writing up an answer, it's because I think the content is worth the effort and so I want it to stay posted. If the question is deleted, all that effort is lost.

    Of course, we don't know what it is about User's questions that have become embarrassing, and I really hope it's nothing too serious, just some now cringe-worthy moments that everyone has had in their life. However severe, though, this brings us to a comment that I wish more MO users took to heart:

    3) MO is the real world. As in the past, I'd like to enjoin everyone to be responsible and mindful when posting on MO, and err on the side of caution. If you make a fool of yourself on MO, or worse, show yourself to be obnoxious, you've done this in the real world...

    Best of luck for the applications, and please take this plea for cautious posting to heart!
    • CommentAuthorUser
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2011 edited
    @Thierryzell, thank you. What you said is true and I will bear in mind all your pieces of advice in my future posts. "MO is the real world." Nice.