Anonymizing Users in Discourse

If you want to permanently remove a user from your community, but also preserve their contributions to Discourse, you can anonymize that user.

How do I anonymize a user?

At the bottom of a user’s admin page, there is an “Anonymize User” button:

You’ll be asked to confirm. If you agree, the user will be anonymized.

How thorough is the anonymization?

  • The user will no longer be able to log in to your community as this specific account.

  • A new username will be randomly assigned to the user such as anon123456. This new username will be applied to all their posts in the system, and we will update all @mentions and quotes too.

  • The new username is not applied to: deleted posts, post revisions when the current post doesn’t mention or quote the renamed user anymore, oneboxed user profiles, queued posts, or staff logs.

  • Their email, name, date of birth and avatar will be removed. Their password will be replaced with a secure, random password.

  • In the case where site settings have been configured to require a name, the name will be set to the same, anonymized username, e.g. anon123456.

  • Their user profile will be removed.

  • Any api keys generated for the user will be revoked.

  • Any third party authentication mechanisms (Google/Facebook/etc) will be revoked.

IP History

Discourse will retain the user’s IP addresses in our logs associated with the anonymous user. However, there is a new mechanism to clear those out too available to developers.

When using our UserAnonymizer class, you can pass in an :anonymize_ip option with an IP to replace, for example

If provided, Discourse will go through several tables in our system and update the IPs associated with the anonymous user to the new value.

If you’d like to enable this feature on your Discourse, we recommend creating a plugin to handle your particular workflow.

User Deletion

New users can self delete their own accounts, provided

  • the account is :new: new and was created within a few days
  • the account hasn’t posted more than once

If you sign up for an account and regret it, you can leave at will – provided you haven’t posted very much, and decide within a few days of joining.


The new GDPR regulations came into effect in Europe in 2018, specifically the Right of Erasure.

The anonymization tools in Discourse are available to all administrators, but we recommend you contact a legal professional if you require GDPR compliance. Said professional will be able to audit your systems and tell you if you meet the requirements.


Just tested on try.
In the quotes the username is anonymized but not the avatar (see Do you use a mobile device for ALL your work? Tell me how! - tech - Demo).
As an administrator instead, every time I tested this function making an anonymous user, when I click the back button of the browser twice to return from the user’s admin page to the topic I was reading I always end up on page 404.


Will be fixed soon.

Well, that error is to be expected. You visited the user’s profile page before you anonymized the user and that page is still in the browser history.



That’s true, because Discourse try go back to the original admin user page, which is no longer available, then reload the admin user page of the anonymous user, the second click on the back button would like to return to the original-user/summary page that no longer exists and you go to page 404 instead.


No, you can’t undo this anonymizing.

You can restore a backup made before the destructive action.


2 posts were split to a new topic: Is it possible to pass anonymize_ip parameter via http api call to /admin/users/{id}/anonymize method?

4 posts were split to a new topic: Why can’t non-developers admin reset the IP field of anonymized accounts?

7 posts were split to a new topic: Anonymizing a user leaves mentions of them as their original username

I have figured a way to do so manually but is not a full restore. Manually restoring anonymized user name and re attaching user’s email. Then sending reactivation email.

A headache for sure and hopefully no one be sides someone like myself will ever need to do so. :wink: