Love the "Anonymize User" feature - thanks!

Great feature guys… Extremely helpful with healthcare oriented web sites!


I’m new one here. Can you tell me how this feature works.

Thanks in advance

Turn the feature on in admin site settings. Then change to anonymous user via the user drop down at the upper right.

When a user gets anonymised, does a notification email get sent to them?

I’m wanting to effectively delete a user while retaining their posts as described here:

However I am confused as anonymous users can still login and post anonymously.
Can someone explain the options available and their effect?


You might want to review this thread:

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You are confusing two different features

  • anonymous posting mode, which is not on by default but can be enabled by the site owner, if you want to allow users to post anonymously.

  • anonymizing an account, which causes it to be effectively removed from the site, while retaining all the posts associated with that account.

Users cannot ever log in again as that account, if you anonymize the account.


Excellent. Thanks for the clarification.

When an account is anonymized, is an email sent to the user notifying them of this (obviously that would occur before their email address is removed)?

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No, you will need to do that. Typically the user is the one asking staff to leave the site, so they already “notified” themselves.

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Yes they’ve requested to leave, but this user would like to be notified when their request has been actioned rather than having to keep checking whether or not they are still able to log in.

That’ll have to be done manually then. Thanks.

Hi @codinghorror,

the anonymizing feature is a cool thing, sometimes a user asks to delete his account. But as I tried that feature on my test installation I’ve noticed that the username is changed to anonxxxxxxxx, but the full name is still the one of the user and the email address is not removed. Also the “anon” user is still listed as active.

Is it intentional that the anonymizing seems to be a “half thing”, leaving the full name and email still with the anaon account?

The anonymized user can - in default state - log in and even request a new passwort with the “Forgot password” function. So he’ll be able to be active with the “anonxxxxxxxx” user account.

In my understanding a fully anonymizing would also delete full name and email address and make the anon account inactive.

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I’m not sure about the full name, but that seems incorrect. I remember using it recently and I’m pretty sure the email was removed.

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@jacotec This is absolutely incorrect, here’s the result of me creating a new user on and then pressing the anonymize button on them:

@codinghorror: Yeah, that’s how I’d expect it, but not working here. I needed to anonymize one on my live forum and I’ve tried it several times in my “tryout VM”. In all cases the full name and the email was not changed.

Might it be because nearly all users have been imported from my prevoius MyBB via the importer? Any logs I can provide?

Tried it again with a completely new created user - it’s the same.

I log in as administrator, go to the admin panel, looking for the user - scroll down to the end and press the orange “anonymize” button.

Next action is that discourse presents me the banner “this page does not exist or is private” (same as if I’ve called an invalid link. I guess this is because the user is not existing anymore).

Searching for the new anonymized user shows me that just the username was anonymized, neither the full name nor the email address.

Version is 1.5.0.beta11 + 201

Is Anonymize User reversible in case of a mishap? Will changing the Username and Email back to the original fully restore the account to its original state? Thanks.

No, it is not reversible.

Thank you. That’s a bit more responsibility than I’d like to see our moderators have though. Is there any way to limit mod access to it? Admin access to it would seem to be sufficient.

No, there is no such ability at this time. You could hide it with CSS in Admin, customize, HTML/CSS if you need.

That does the trick, thanks again.

Is this intentional?

As I understand, reverting “should be as easy” as changing the anon-username and anon-email to new values (of course, the original values are not stored anywhere, but we might know them by means external to discourse), and then sending a “generate password” message to that email. This seems like something that an admin should definitely be able to do.

Similarly, an admin could allow a new user to “take the role of” an old anonymized user, in exactly the same way. I see no reason to explicitly disallow an admin to do such thing (as far as I can see, this is now “explicitly and intentionally disallowed”, since if anonymizing were implemented as just a change of email, name and login-credentials, everything would be the same, but this “account restoring” would be possible by just changing these fields).