@Rachel just pointed it out this morning. Pierre 303's account is gone!

What happened to him? Was he at odds with the way Stack Exchange was being run?

He was an all-star! The departure of a user of his caliber is a significant loss for this community!

Can anyone explain?

EDIT: If Pierre chooses to come back in a year, can we simply undelete his account?


  • 17
    Not sure what kind of explanation you are expecting, but I'm sure you realize that unless Pierre decides to talk about this himself, it's strictly a private matter.
    – yannis
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 21:08

4 Answers 4


Pierre contacted us and asked us to remove his Stack Exchange accounts.

His reasons are his own, and unfortunately we weren't able to convince him to reconsider.

His questions and answers here on Programmers were (and are - they're still around) valuable, and while I'm personally sad to see Pierre leave, I'm happy that he was around and shared his expertise with us for as long as he did.

  • 10
    Ami, si tu tombes un ami sort de l'ombre à ta place. Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 22:06
  • It feels like somebody died @anna :(
    – jmort253
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 1:31
  • 16
    it would be interesting to learn how much of his posts were lost when "old bad" questions were deleted. For comparison I recall leaving particular programming community when their "technical improvement" (technically, it was an improvement indeed) somehow lost 1/3 or 1/4 of my posts there. Not that I was particularly fond of these posts, but I perceived this loss as an indication of profound disrespect towards community contributors
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 5:47
  • @FrédéricHamidi, care to give a translation of that? Google gives "Friend, if you get a friend out of the shadows to your site", which, although that gives a general idea - I suspect is missing something. :)
    – Cyclops
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 12:52
  • 4
    @Cyclops, it can be roughly translated into "Friend, if you fall, a friend comes out of the shadows in your place". It's part of "Le chant des partisans", which was a popular song adopted by the Resistance during World War II. The wikipedia article contains two full translations into English (one rhyming, one not). Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 12:57

I've been talking with him through email, and when I asked him why he left P.SE he said:

"I left for the exact same reason you wrote on your P.SE profile."

(He also said it was OK to share his thoughts in an answer here, and that he's not going to bother posting an answer here because he's gone for good, but he's pretty sure everyone knows why he left)

As for my profile, well it's not very flattering because I wrote it one day while I was frustrated towards P.SE. My feelings haven't changed, but normally I would have kept them to myself

If someone makes a Q&A site for Programmers to ask questions and get answers from other Programmers about any issue related to their career choice or self-identity as a programmer, let me know. I'd love to participate in such a site again, and will help you promote it.

As for this site, I'm done with it unless something changes. I feel its changed too far from the original programming resource it once was, and the current moderation style is not for me.

I dislike that so much valuable information gets deleted for the sake of "maintaining a clean site", dislike the way many users are treated (particularly new ones), and dislike the way the overall culture of this site has been changing from a community of programmers out to teach and learn from each other, to an insular group of programming elitists (of course this isn't all of you, or probably even most of you. Its just a large percentage of the more active/vocal users who take part in running the site).

Anyways, I'm not interested in helping to support this site anymore, although I will be happy to take part in any initiatives to changes things.

I hope the powers-that-be will take this into account when deciding future policies for a site, as Pierre is not the first one of our top users to quit the site. I can confirm that DeveloperArt left for the same reason (been talking to him via email too), and I've seen many other high-rep names quietly disappear over time.

As to your 2nd question, yes it's possible to recover a deleted account although according to MSO it requires "Jeff-Level" access

  • 15
    You know that regardless of the amount of people who leave, SE is not going to change their philosophy. They're never going to make everyone happy. If they made the site like you and others prefer, they'd have a different group complaining to change it back. I suggested to Pierre a long time ago, that he (and whoever would volunteer to help) should make the site you're looking for. This is not offered sarcastically or in a "don't let the door hit you on the way out" kind of way. Just an honest suggestion for a dis-satisfied, talented group.
    – Walter
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 15:12
  • 21
    @Walter I realize that, and honestly this site would probably be fine if it wasn't for the fact it started out as something very different. It was supposed to be a place that for subjective programmer questions, and had more relaxed question standards. We're actually talking about creating such a site (me, Pierre, and DeveloperArt so far - can email me if you're interested in helping too). I'd still rather know about the past and learn what I can from it instead of not knowing it at all, which is why I answered this question.
    – Rachel
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 15:31
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    @Rachel - Have you thought about a stack exchange site? It might be more likely to succeed. Admittedly, a perfect name would be "programmers", but that's taken. A good name would be vital, and I don't have one. "Peopleware" is taken and isn't quite right. Maybe "Whiteboard", since you can't actually ask whiteboard questions on programmers? "Software Design", since you can't actually ask about software design on programmers? "Soft Ware" (space intended) since you can't ask "soft" (i.e. difficult, broad, real world) questions on SE?
    – psr
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 17:25
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    @psr Yes, my original Area51 proposal got closed within 24 hours and deleted (it got a follower though, and acknowledgement that it wasn't a duplicate), and when I posted a question on area51 about a SE site with non-SE rules it got downvoted and the answer appears to be that SE wouldn't allow such a thing.
    – Rachel
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 17:36
  • 15
    @Rachel: I sympathize with your frustration, and if you do decide to create a separate site I wish you the best of luck - however, I hope you'll structure it with the knowledge gained from your experiences here, and not simply as a reaction to your frustration with this site. It's not hard to collect opinions - you can find sites that provide them easily - but flushing out the meaning behind them is much more of a struggle.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 18:02
  • 3
    @Shog9 Thanks, and I hope we can find some kind of happy balance too :) SE brings many great things to the world of Q&A (I outlined some of them here), and I hope we can take the good parts and mix them with the things we miss from the early days of Programmers (relaxed question standards, having the site focus on the community instead of a topic, etc). I still like using SO and some of the other SE sites as well, and that probably won't change.
    – Rachel
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 18:39
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    @Rachel I'm interested. That's what drew me to Programmers.SE as well, and I've also been getting more and more disappointed with it.
    – Izkata
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 18:05
  • 10
    I've noticed this change as well. Sometimes I notice thought-provoking questions, start writing up an answer, only to think - "wait, I bet this will get closed in 2 minutes", to be proven right most of the time. While I understand the reasons behind keeping the sight clean, it can get frustrating - sometimes I want polling and solicited, opinion-based answers :) As it is, programmers is almost like a clone of SO for slightly higher level problems - still interesting, but I'd love to see an alternative.
    – Daniel B
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 6:32
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    @Izkata Send me an email at [email protected] about what you're interested in helping doing and I'll forward it to the others. Basically we want a Q&A site for users seeking answers from Programmers, regardless of the style of question (poll questions, open-ended questions, broad questions, fun questions, etc are OK). Our only requirements are you are seeking answers from a Programmer, and that it's not a code question (Code questions will probably get directed to SO).
    – Rachel
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 12:23
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    I just came over from SO. Browsed around and clicked on titles that sounded interesting. In my first couple of hours I've seen more closed questions than open ones. Were they violating the rules? Yes (mostly). But their view count was generally higher than that of most accepted questions. It really feels like there's a problem. Not with the moderation but with the rules themselves (even if there are very popular questions that have not been closed despite violating the rules, which is a moderation problem). @Rachel I'll probably mail you too as that Q&A site project of yours resonates with me. Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 15:50
  • 1
    I agree that P.SE is not what it started out to be, what it is now I disagree with, and I might consider doing the same thing now that I know that deleting profiles is possible.
    – user1249
    Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 8:17
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    I concur also. This site started out being where you could find the interesting theoretical questions from Stack Overflow, now anything interesting appears to get deleted and what remains could easily be either moved to compsci or stack overflow, there is no strong reason for Programmers to exist. I have an idea for what a site that could solve this problem would be like and it wouldn't be too hard to implement. Technically would be similar to .SE but philosophically quite different.
    – glenatron
    Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 8:51
  • 1
    @AnalogFile and Daniel B: Feel free to email me even if you just want to be put on a mailing list for when the site's launched, or to get a status update, or ask questions, or provide feedback. I think we'll need users when we launch and people to help advertise the site more than we'll need coding help. :)
    – Rachel
    Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 14:51
  • 1
    @Benjol I saw that, but it looks more like a chat system or real-time forum than a Q&A site. I really like the Q&A format, however Stack Exchange's "subjective" Q&A site restrictions and excessive moderation are not for me. I'm interested in a more open community-based Q&A site like Programmers started out as, and not the topic-based Q&A with strict rules and limitations that it is now.
    – Rachel
    Commented Feb 19, 2013 at 21:12
  • 1
    @Rachel: I just stumbled on this conversation (don't read meta.p.se much). Please let me know if you follow up on your idea. [email protected] Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 3:01

Recently it has felt like most attempts at positive interaction with this site were ruthlessly battered down by downvotes and close votes. Closed questions were quickly deleted, sometimes even when there was quite a bit of activity (an indication of a potentially salvageable question in my opinion). This is done in the name of "quality", which is a worthy goal, but there's a danger of ending up with a "high-quality"site that doesn't actually garner any new content anymore, which isn't what StackExchange is about.

This site is, in my impression, in real danger of fizzling out because it doesn't seem to fill any niche that isn't already covered by another site, or against the Rules. I deliberately write that word with a capital letter, because it has become a Holy Book of sorts which like most other Holy Books is full of inconsistencies and there's always some rule that can be interpreted in a way that you've violated it.

Even the people who started Stackexchange seem to have lost sight of why this whole site got off the ground in the first place: it's based around gamification. The implication of that is that Fun drives the site (again, in my opinion).

Take the fun out of it and people will either just leave, or do the only thing they can still do within the apparent limitations of the programmers.se site FAQ. Something that fits the personality of Programmers, which is to interpret the Rules.

So far that seems to have been usually negative. That's not fun. That's driving people away.

So please, lets use our creative Programmer noggins, and creatively interpret the rules in a positive way. Edit questions and answers to try to salvage them. Vote to reopen. Vote up. Create activity on questions with close votes if you don't agree with the close votes. Lets bend this negative trend.

  • 6
    I believe that those who actually decide what SE is about, have decided that this is exactly what SE is about.
    – user1249
    Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 3:42
  • 4
    There's a large group of people that enjoy the power of close-votes. They're on the lookout for questions to close, for whatever reason. Go hang out in some of the SO chatrooms to see it happen. A new question doesn't stand a chance if someone tags it cv-pls in the chatroom, regardless of its utility. I'm disappointed by the lousy moderation as well, but this is a consequence of gamification. You draw in people that treat the site like a game, and when they level up they game the system and boss around the newbies. Gamification is why every SE site will become useless over time. Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 20:42
  • 1
    @JoeriSebrechts [cv-pls] is a Stack Overflow specific issue, and afaik it hasn't reached Programmers (yet?). Although I don't have a list of close voters handy, I'm probably amongst the top close voters on Programmers, and I immensely dislike the [cv-pls] "culture" on Stack Overflow. On Programmers, we don't go looking for questions to close, we do like to close early and often, and we do love re-opening, when the questions are improved. But none of that [cv-pls] crap, even when we do massive cleanups, we always post on Meta and let the discussions mature before cleaning up...
    – yannis
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 10:49
  • 2
    @YannisRizos You may not [cv-pls], but I have seen plenty of questions brought up in chat before asking for close votes.
    – Rachel
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 12:06
  • @Rachel Discussing whether questions should be closed or not in chat is quite different than dumping a [cv-pls] message and seeing the question closed seconds later. Discussing the questions is healthy, [cv-pls] is not.
    – yannis
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 12:16
  • 2
    @YannisRizos Yes, however I see things like "Can we get some more close votes on this" far more frequently than I see "Do you think this should be closed" in chat
    – Rachel
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 12:20
  • @Rachel Examples please?
    – yannis
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 12:22

I believe he left as a logical consequence of his disagreement with what P.SE is today.

Prompted by this discussion I have decided to (EDIT: ask Those-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed to) delete my P.SE account too. I disagree strongly with the way that this site has been turned away from its original form which is what attracted me to it in the first place.

  • 4
    Downvoted because I disagree with you leaving ;-). I think we should at least try to turn things around by ruthless positivism and salvaging attempts! Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 10:00
  • @MadKeithV feel free. I've made up my mind.
    – user1249
    Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 10:22
  • 7
    Sad to see you go, but I can't even slightly pretend that I don't understand why. Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 10:25
  • +1: I'm also very sad to see you go.
    – Jim G.
    Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 11:39
  • 26
    @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen Perhaps consider what I am doing instead: editing your profile to show your disagreement and just stop participating. Account deletion is a bit of a shock initially, but in the long run all people will see is a bunch of good answers from an anonymous user, and they'll forget who you were and where you went. You spent a lot of time building your profile and reputation here, consider keeping it and using it to voice your opinion rather than removing yourself entirely. Even if nothing changes, your profile will still be a good way to advertise a new site :)
    – Rachel
    Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 12:03
  • 7
    @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen - What Rachel said.
    – psr
    Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 16:48
  • 3
    @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen it'd be sad to see your profile deleted. I've personally read a number of your answers on SO and PSE and they're of good quality. +1000 to what Rachel said.
    – Deco
    Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 23:49
  • 1
    Are you leaving the entire SE network, or are you just deleting your Programmers SE account? Your profile only says to "delete me" here. If I were you, I'd keep the account open, just in case you drop in to say something. Deleting is sort of overrated IMHO. With that said, I've seen your name come up on a lot of different places here and elsewhere, so consider that you can make more of an impact being here than you can by disappearing. Good luck!
    – jmort253
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 4:07
  • 2
    @Rachel I am absolutely convinced that Those-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed will not change their mind - if they would, it would have happened by now. I don't care about P.SE reputation (except for bounties which I do not need here), and I have found that if I do anything less than deleting my account I more or less endorse P.SE as it is today. I do not wish to do so.
    – user1249
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 7:28
  • @jmort253 just P.SE, and for the stated reason - I have absolutely no intentions of "dropping by and saying Hi". Regarding the rest of SE, I use SO on a regular basis and being able to throw a 500 point bounty with short notice is important to me.
    – user1249
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 7:33
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    @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen In that case, I'm sorry to see you go and wish you the best of luck wherever you go. You're one of the names I recognize on sight for having some great answers, and you'll be missed. I wish SE would see how they could successfully branch off their framework for subjective sites focused on a community instead of a topic, but you're right, that does not seem like it will happen.
    – Rachel
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 12:07
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    @rachel Thank you. Good luck with your non-coorporation movement.
    – user1249
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 13:18
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    Sorry to hear about you leaving, I always found your comments to be insightful and well expressed.
    – Daniel B
    Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 9:00
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    It's been a while since I've wandered around meta and I only stumbled upon this sad news today. Pierre303 and ThorbjørnRavnAndersen deleting their accounts - you will be sincerely missed here.
    – Gary
    Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 9:46

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