|This page documents an English Wikipedia behavioral guideline.|
|This page in a nutshell: Courtesy vanishing means any user in good standing—upon leaving Wikipedia forever—may request renaming of their account; deletion or blanking of user pages; and possibly the deletion or blanking of discussions related to their conduct. This courtesy vanishing does not include the deletion of user contributions, and normally does not include the deletion of user talk pages.|
The usual way to leave Wikipedia is simply to stop editing and abandon your account. A courtesy vanishing may be implemented when a user in good standing decides not to return and for whatever reason wishes to make their contributions harder to find or to remove their association with their edits. When there is no administrative need to retain the information, a permanently departing user may request that a wide range of user pages, and other pages that affect them alone, be deleted on departure. The user account is renamed; user pages are blanked or deleted; and pages related to the user's conduct may be deleted, blanked, or moved. Contributions, logs, signatures, and user-page templates (for example, templates related to blocks or bans) are usually not removed. User talk pages are usually not deleted.
Courtesy vanishing is discretionary and may be refused. It is not intended to be temporary. It is not a way to avoid scrutiny or sanctions. It is not a fresh start and does not guarantee anonymity. Any of the deleted pages may be undeleted after a community discussion. If the user returns, the "vanishing" will likely be fully reversed, the old and new accounts will be linked, and any outstanding sanctions or restrictions will be resumed.
As all contributions are licensed under the CC BY-SA 3.0 License and the GFDL and must be attributed to a user, it is not possible to delete an account.
Vanishing typically involves the following:
First, consider whether you really want to vanish, or whether a simple retirement or clean start might be more appropriate. Vanishing is a last resort and should only be used when you wish to stop editing forever and also to hide as many of your past associations as possible.
If you decide to vanish, you may wish to blank or delete your user page and any subpages in your userspace. To request deletion of any existing pages, add the
((db-user)) tag to the top of each page, and an admin will delete the page for you. Do not create a page just to request its deletion. Or you can replace your userpage with the
((Retired)) template. Note that your user talk pages will normally not be deleted except in rare cases (see below).
If you wish to take advantage of courtesy vanishing, you can use one of the following methods to make your request:
There is a public request page for name change requests, but this is not recommended because it will leave a public record of your request to vanish that cannot itself be hidden.
If you have questions about vanishing, or have concerns that might be addressable by a less permanent method, you may want to contact a Functionary or a member of the Arbitration Committee for advice.
While user pages and subpages may be deleted, the deletion of established users' talk pages is invariably controversial, and is the rare exception, not the rule. This is because user talk pages, unlike other user pages, have largely been written by other editors. User talk pages should not be speedy deleted by admins. Users who wish to delete user talk pages should consult a Functionary or the Arbitration Committee. Community consensus is that user talk pages should be deleted only where there is a compelling reason to do so—related to serious privacy concerns and the potential for real-world harm. Otherwise, user talk pages should be deleted only at MfD. Any deletion can be challenged and overturned at deletion review. User talk pages should never be moved to become user subpages to facilitate deletion.