ChinWag is coming up on two years old now, so there are a few “I’ll worry about that later” jobs that I now need to start worrying about. Inactive account handling is one that’ll need to be settled soon.
I originally thought about never expiring accounts, simply on the basis that it avoids potential impersonation issues whereby someone re-registering an expired ID can potentially receive messages not intended for them. I’m coming around to believing that that’s a pretty marginal and unlikely case and as long as all server-side data for deleted accounts is cleared on deletion we’ll be OK allowing reuse of usernames.
There’s also the spam account users that have been IP banned or won’t ever be back again since they only tend to get used once or twice at most. It’s not a huge amount of data to store for no reason, but it’s going to be a lot tidier to sweep it all out.
To make this work out, instead of trying to come up with a universal expiry date for all accounts, I’ll be treating accounts that have been used over a longer period much more generously than accounts that were logged into once or twice over a couple of days and then never revisited. Any account with usage will be preserved for multiple years, if not forever. Accounts that have never been logged into after registration can expect to live for maybe 48 hours.