Staged users and privacy

Continuing the discussion from Hide User Profiles setting incomplete:

If staged users are created (eg during a mailing list import to a private category) what information about the staged users is available to others (unregistered or at the various trust levels)? How can this be minimised? Thanks.

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If I understand you correctly, the imported users are placed into a group (otherwise, I can’t imagine having a private category).

You could make the group visible only to group owners/members (in effect, being invisible to everyone who is not in the group). This is done in group settings.

I don’t think anything can prevent other users from seeing a user profile, but if the group is private, they won’t see who’s in that group. They won’t be able to tell if someone is in a private group unless that someone has a title specific to that group, but then again, they won’t know anything beyond that.

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I believe it’s possible for a user to hide his own profile – I wonder whether it’s possible as admin to set this for staged users? Maybe with a database query?

Alternatively, I guess the staged users could just be named staged1, staged2, staged3 etc, so their existence wouldn’t reveal anything about the users. I assume it’s possible to change a username later, if the user registers for the forum.