Account directive upon the death of a GitLab user
Problem to solve
What happens after the death of a GitLab user?
Solving this problem would include allowing users upon their death to transfer the keys to their account to an individual that they trust, leave the account open, or delete the account entirely including all data (not forks).
A benefit of this is if they choose to transfer the keys to their account to another individual, their projects can continue to be maintained and developed further.
The options for leaving an account open and deleting it are alternatives users would likely expect to be provided with if this proposed feature is introduced.
This feature benefits the company by gaining additional trust from the users for allowing them to have greater control over their data and a positive response for giving them the ability to keep their legacy alive after their death.
My proposal is very similar to the process used by Google.
- Give the user an option to either delete, transfer, or leave as is their account upon their death.
- The time at which to consider an account owner as deceased should be configurable by the user via a specified period of inactivity. I recommend pre-defined values of 3, 6, 12 and 24 months rather than any amount.
- Before the period of inactivity is up, a notification via all modes of communication should be made to the user stating the fact.
- Upon reaching the end of the inactivity period, the trusted contacts should be notified of the existence of a GitLab account in the name of the deceased user. I recommend giving lots of information about what a GitLab account is, because we can't expect GitLab users to nominate developer only trusted contacts.
- The process of how the trusted contacts go about gaining access to the account, I leave to you.
- At no point, should any trusted contact be able to gain access to a GitLab account of which they are a trustee of before the end of the period of inactivity and receiving a notification of such an event.
- Allow users to provide multiple trusted contacts in case one or more of them is unavailable.
- Allow the user to specify an order of priority on the trusted contacts.
- In the case that multiple trustees have been provided, each trustee should be contacted in order of priority and given information on how to gain access to the deceased users account along with a notice of the window of time in which it can be done after which a trustee of the next highest priority is considered if the account still has not been retrieved.
- Once account access has been gained by a trustee, they should be treated as a normal user and should be allowed to set their own trusted contacts.
- At the time of adding a trustee, make notifying the trustee of such, optional, this would make for a pleasant surprise when the time comes.
- Allow users to add a personal message per trusted contact.
What does success look like, and how can we measure that?
Success could be measured by getting statistic on how many people have enabled the feature.