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User 20155 (formerly DeletingAccountNeverReturning, Formerly LegoStormtroopr) has apparently decided to leave the site as part of the fallout from the recent kerfuffle over on StackOverflow.

His final actions on SFF:SE were to un-accept several questions in a row without explanation (1, 2, 3), prior to his account being suspended.

Is this considered a form of vandalism? And assuming the answer is yes, can these actions be reverted?

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    Yes and no, unfortunately. In contrast to undeleting all the posts he deleted, messing with acceptance is not in the moderators' power. And no matter if it is in the SE übermods', they won't mess with it anyway. – TARS Feb 7 '17 at 18:52
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    @CahirMawrDyffrynæpCeallach - I presume their actions can be completely walked back by the appropriate authorities. – Valorum Feb 7 '17 at 18:53
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    I know from a reliable source that they won't do that (although, I'm not sure if they even can). – TARS Feb 7 '17 at 18:55
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    @CahirMawrDyffrynæpCeallach it would have to be done by a dev changing the DB manually. Not happening. – Kevin Feb 7 '17 at 19:02
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    Can we see the extent of the "damage"? Did they unaccept all answers to their questions? Retract all of their up votes? – SQB Feb 7 '17 at 19:14
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    @SQB They unaccepted 14 answers on their last day (this was public knowledge and could be seen from their profile before it was deleted). No idea about upvotes, but my guess is that those would be far more trouble to undo. – Rand al'Thor Feb 7 '17 at 19:18
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    @SQB - I only had one of my upvotes retracted. I'm more concerned by the un-accepts since these seem to be prima facie evidence of self-vandalism which we consider to be unacceptable., – Valorum Feb 7 '17 at 19:20
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    @Valorum Unfortunately, as always acceptances are wholly the OP's decision. People can accept answers which are 100% wrong, or not accept answers at all, and there's nothing anyone else can do about that. A user's posts are licensed to SE, so if they vandalise them we can take action to stop them, but their acceptances are their own, including if they choose to use those accept powers in a way which could be considered vandalistic. – Rand al'Thor Feb 7 '17 at 19:23
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    @Randal'Thor - Systematically un-accepting answers is not the sort of behaviour that the site should condone. Unaccepting the odd answer is fine, doing a dozen of them before getting their account canned is definitely dodgy behaviour. – Valorum Feb 7 '17 at 19:27
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    How do you know said individual left because of SE's political stance? – Adamant Feb 7 '17 at 19:42
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    @Adamant Because they said so. If you need to know, you can read some chat transcripts and commentary. I'd definitely appreciate not drawing that drama or discussion over into here, though. – user31178 Feb 7 '17 at 19:43
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    Dodgy? Yes, definitely. Actionable? Nope, sorry. – Rand al'Thor Feb 7 '17 at 19:52
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    @Adamant - They were quite explicit that that was the reason they were going. Luckily, Joel decided to spew his political opinions on StackOverflow instead of across the whole network which is why most users here seem to be largely unaware of the mega shitstorm that's been raging for the past week over there. – Valorum Feb 7 '17 at 20:09
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    @Erik - Very wise indeed. Nothing good's come out of this sorry mess. – Valorum Feb 8 '17 at 21:17
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    That entire "kerfluffle" on MSO is the exact reason that we should shut down any politically-oriented or related questions. As a community, we should collectively make it plain that real-world politics belongs at the Politics SE site... and that's IT. Internal politicky stuff would ideally stay within the confines of whatever specific site community spawned it, unless a Meta-level moderator has to intercede. And, most importantly, people need to just chill the heck out and take a deep breath before posting. – Omegacron Feb 9 '17 at 4:20
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Unfortunately, as always acceptances are wholly the OP's decision. People can accept answers which are 100% wrong, or not accept answers at all, and there's nothing anyone else can do about it.

"Vandalism" on SE is normally used to refer to actions on posts. A user's posts are licensed to SE, so if they vandalise those we can take action to stop them. But the system literally doesn't allow for a way to stop people assigning their acceptances any way they want. See also Gaming system with accepts on main meta. We can suspend people for disruptive or vandalistic behaviour, but even then we can't force them to re-accept answers they've unaccepted. And of course once the user is deleted we literally can't do anything to them - though you may be interested in this feature request.

It's regrettable, but I don't think there's really anything we can do to resolve this situation.

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  • What about making it impossible to un-accept answers after a period of time, let's say 1-2 weeks? – Broco Feb 8 '17 at 11:54
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    @Broco Bad idea. There are many questions, e.g. those relating to ongoing series, for which the correct answer will change over time. For instance, this question had its accepted answer changed after five years for totally legitimate reasons. Even for questions about finished series by long-dead authors, it's always possible that a new answer will be posted which is much better and more thorough than the existing accepted answer. – Rand al'Thor Feb 8 '17 at 12:49
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    I might be able to get behind the idea of making it possible to switch the accept from one answer to another but not to unaccept altogether. But this wouldn't stop a determined vandal: they could accept the worst answer on the page, or post a new non-answer themselves and accept that. – Rand al'Thor Feb 8 '17 at 12:51
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    And if know anything about vandals, it's that they're determined. – Möoz Feb 8 '17 at 21:42
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    @Mooz no, they're Scandinavian. – KutuluMike Feb 9 '17 at 0:54
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    @KutuluMike no, they're in Idaho and are ethnically diverse. – Erik Feb 9 '17 at 4:14
  • How about if the originally accepted answer is deleted, AND the OP account is deleted, then after X period of time, the next-highest voted answer gets accepted automatically. Not perfect, but it would provide a safety net for some of those situations. – Omegacron Feb 9 '17 at 4:24
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    @Omegacron: I don't know that I'd agree with that. It might be the wrong answer in that case. – FuzzyBoots Feb 10 '17 at 13:07
  • @Randal'Thor what about making alterations to answers a community choice after a while? So if you're the person who asked the question and you want to reassign the accepted answer it will just be flagged to be reviewed first? In general, Stackexchange has a pretty high community standard (especially in the IT-sections) but "normal" forums with more toxic communities have to come up with a solution, too and that is one of them (the other being that administrators have to review it). Changes after such a long amount of time aren't super common and the potential for vandalism is pretty high atm. – Broco Feb 10 '17 at 14:47
  • Considering that "batch downvoting" is detected and reverted, wouldn't it be right to apply a similar stance towards "batch unacceptance"? After all, it is very unlikely that a user just unaccepts a dozen answers for a valid reason. – BCdotWEB Feb 14 '17 at 0:01
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    @BCdotWEB Batch downvoting is only detected and reverted if it's from one particular user to one particular user. If someone mass-downvoted 100 random posts from different people, the system would see nothing wrong with that. – Rand al'Thor Feb 14 '17 at 0:09
  • @Randal'Thor Indeed, but it still is regarded as "abnormal" behavior. I would regard unaccepting dozens of answers in one go as "abnormal", especially considering this behavior would be damaging to the site and not just to a particular user. – BCdotWEB Feb 14 '17 at 0:39

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