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The Purge

Frequently Asked Questions



July 28, 2017: The editorial answered a question about the purge:
Hello, when will inactive accounts next be purged? There are some pet names I'd love to use (and a username) but they're currently taken. Thanks. ~majesticpickle

Hello. I feel ya, I'd love to steal Scrappy from someone *evil grin* and we have discussed this! I'll try to give you a more detailed update soon but I think it is safe to say you can expect one of these to come up!
Later in the same editorial, Scrappy revealed that a plot would be coming in November ("between collecting all the awesome new stuff and celebrating the awesomeness of it", or between the Month of Collecting and the Month of Celebrating, aka November).

It would be strategic for TNT to wait until the plot is over to start the purge, but on the other hand, the 2010 purge started in the midst of The Faeries Ruin plot, so the two may overlap.

Anyway, this is the first definite "yes, expect a purge" answer, so within a year of Editorial #791 (July 28th, 2017) is a reasonable guess.


#1: What is the purge?

When TNT decides to free up some room on the server, they delete some of the old, abandoned accounts. The users call this the purge. When an account is deleted, the account name and the names of the pets that were on the account are up for grabs. People use this to create wonderful pet and user names that weren't available before.

The purge is not an official site event; aside from the occasional email to inactive users ("Hey! Your account has been inactive and will be placed on the purge list if you don't log in") and brief mentions in the Editorial, TNT never acknowledges the purge at all. When it starts, there will be no news announcement, so the only way to know if the purge has begun is watching names.

#2: Will (account name) be purged?

The Terms and Conditions state that an account must be inactive for at least eighteen months for it to purge. However, in the purges we've seen, the actual limit seems to be at least two years (24 months), possibly up to three years (36 months) of inactivity. At minimum, the account must be 24 months old, and it has to say "Last Spotted: A long, long time ago." When an account says that, it means the user hasn't logged on to it for at least a year. So, "Last spotted: a long, long time ago" is NOT enough to say for sure if the account will purge. It's a good idea to look at the age of the pets and try to figure out when the owner last logged in.

Some other things that might disqualify an account from purging:
-Pets with wearables: So far, no account with customized pets has purged. However, this might change for the 2017/2018 purge; while the accounts were probably too active (under ~5 years inactivity) for the 2010 and 2012 purges, when the 2017/2018 purge rolls around, some of these accounts will have been inactive for a very long time, so they will probably purge. We'll see.
-Neocash Though nothing with wearables has purged, TNT might be especially reluctant to purge paid items from the site.

#3: Why did my account get skipped?

Since a year is shorter than the required 24 months, there is no way to tell if the user has been inactive for the full 24 months. 24 months old is also probably too young for an account to purge; for it to purge, the owner would have to have left it the day they made it. Usually, the accounts that purge are 40 months or older, though there have been younger ones.
Also, sometimes long-abandoned accounts still don't purge. Sometimes it's because they have too much activity (painted pets, avatars, customization, high scores) but most of the time it's because the purge doesn't feel like deleting the account yet. There is a good chance the account may still be purged--more on that later--so don't lose hope.

#4: What order does the purge go in?

The purge deletes account names (not pet names) in this order:


In other words: numbers, alphabet, underscores.

Accounts beginning with numbers are deleted first; then the accounts beginning with A, then B, etc, then accounts beginning with underscores. This works within the account names as well. For example, if the purge is in the "cookie" accounts, it would delete in this order:


#5: How do people know where the purge is?

They find existing accounts ahead of where the purge is, and post the links on the board. These are called "markers". When people check these links and find that some have been deleted, they know the purge has been there recently.
To check if an account has been deleted, use the keyquest case link:


Do NOT use the searchbar. Frozen accounts do not show up in the search. Always use this link. If you want to contribute markers to the marker board, use this link. Later edit: We used to mark accounts with the userlookup link (http://www.neopets.com/userlookup.phtml?user=), but this link now requires a captcha regardless of whether or not the user exists, so it can no longer be used to mark the purge.

#6: When do I start trying to purge a name?

Say you want a name on the account "cookie_monster". To get a good idea of when to stalk this name, you need to find some markers of your own. To find these markers, type in lots of usernames leading up to cookie_monster and try to find accounts that exist, such as cookie_8, cookie_9, cookie_boy, cookie_girl…and also closer markers such as cookie_man, cookie_mice, cookie_mine and cookie_men. Try to keep the markers as general as possible; you will find lots of cookie_good but not much cookie_luscious or cookie_macadamia.
When you've found enough markers (maybe ten is good), refresh on the keyquest link (http://www.neopets.com/keyquest/collector_case.phtml?viewUser=). When cookie_mice or so starts to purge, it's time to start trying to create the pet.

Protip: If there are any purge names you especially care about, it would be handy to look up markers for their accounts ahead of time. Looking up markers while the purge is active wastes valuable time and can easily make you miss these names.

#7: How do I purge a name?

Most good names are recreated in mere miliseconds, so you have to be very fast and very lucky. There are three ways to recreate a name that has been deleted:

1. Regular Create-A-Pet - [here]

Type in the name you want to create. Then, when the markers close to your name purge, begin clicking the Create button as rapidly as you can. Some people like to refresh their markers from time to time; others stay and click the pets for thirty minutes or an hour straight. Do not click the Check Availability button; by the time it says the pet is available to create, someone will already have created it.

NOTE: You cannot create names under three letters in regular create-a-pet. For that, use the Space Adoption Center or Draik Eggs.

2. Space Adoption Center (Create-A-Grundo) - [here]

Pretty simple. Fill in the name of the Grundo, choose the color and gender, then press Adopt. It takes you to a page that says "Error: Sorry, that name has already been taken. Please try again!" Keep refreshing there until you succeed in creating the pet.
Grundo Create is the only place you can create two-letter and one-letter names. Some people use it for everything they try to create, and say it's easier. You should experiment to see which creation method you like best.

3. Hatch a Draik Egg - [here]

Exactly like Grundo Create. Go to the Draik Nest with a Draik Egg, fill in the name of the Draik, and refresh on the page where it says the name is taken. This is the easiest way to make your RN/RW an Ice Draik. You can't control the gender of the Draik, so don't be surprised if little Susie hatches into a dude.

NOTE: Draiks can be created with less than three letters in their name; a (very expensive) test has confirmed this.

#8: What was the last account purged?

For the answer to this, you should go to the marker board. There's always link to it in the first post of the chat board; you can also find it by going to the Other Worlds Neoboard, which is here.

The people on the marker board are tracking the purge. To find the last account purged, simply look at the most recent post. Please look back at the last few posts on the marker board BEFORE asking what the most recent purge is. And please don't ask questions on the marker board; that's what the chat board is for.

#9: When will the purge get to ______ accounts?

If it's within the same letter as where the purge is right now, probably within a day or two. If it's several letters away, you're looking at several days. Any closer than that (say the purge is at "candy" and you want to get to "cindy") is very unpredictable. The purge has a habit of skipping over whole sections of accounts, so it could be half a day or it could be half an hour.

Please don't ask this on the chat board--they get people asking that every five seconds. It gets very annoying after a while, and there's no definite answer anyway. And definitely do not ask on the marker board.

#10: Is there a list of names that might purge?

No. Everybody has their own list and (mostly) doesn't share it. It's your own responsibility to look up names on your own time, whether these are names you want to keep or names you think would retrade well. The bigger your list, the more you'll know about what's coming up. The more you know about what's coming up, the more names you'll be able to try for and hopefully catch. Knowledge is absolutely power. Experienced purgers usually have at least a thousand names on their lists. Looking up at least two hundred is recommended.

There are a few ways of making a purge list:
1. List: A simple list with pet name and username, in a word processor or handwritten.
2. Bookmarks: You make a bookmark in your browser on the keyquest page. It's very easy to check on these, but it's difficult to list hundreds of usernames.
3. Spreadsheet file: One column for names, one column for the username those names are on. When you're done looking up names, sort alphabetically by username, and your purge list will be in the right order. This is my personal favorite method. You can even highlight your most important names!

Generally, lists are private, because the purge is a competition and your advantage depends on your list. But some people will post the names that are coming up on the board for everyone to see. This is called "outing" names. Usually they do it when people are talking too much about a certain pet--so if you're stalking a pet, keep quiet about it, or else it might be outed. Saying things like "Is anybody stalking the Red Eyrie on a G account?" count as hinting and will probably get your name outed. So no hints, okay?

The most common names (such as Paul, John, Hope, Star) will inevitably get outed, so don't worry about it when they are.

#11: Why do people get annoyed when I mention a name I'm stalking?

There may be many other people who are also looking to get the same name, and by announcing it publicly you are effectively increasing the competition! Please don't do this.

#12: Ong, my name was skipped and it won't purge forever!!!!

Calm down. Your name has two more chances of purging. It's going to be okay.

The first chance you have is Snailbot. The purge isn't one unified program deleting accounts all at once--sometimes it goes a little out of order. The purge trackers organize the programs like this:

Cheetahbot: This program deletes accounts ahead of all the others. It's the fastest, and the one the marker chat is tracking. A habit of leaping ahead when you least expect it has earned Cheetahbot the additional nickname of Ninjabot. Be very well prepared for your names, because Ninjabot will get the jump on you if you aren't.

Snailbot: This program picks up Cheetah's leftovers. It's the slowest program. If Cheetah has passed over your name, there is still hope that Snail will pick it up. Snail is usually around forty-five minutes behind Cheetah. To stalk an account in hopes that Snail will purge it, just keep watching your markers and ignore the current progress of the purge. But if the accounts near the one you're stalking purged two hours ago...you should probably move on.

There is a third bot called Pigbot or Dogbot. It's slower than Cheetah, but faster than Snail. Pigbot/Dogbot usually lags after Cheetah by about fifteen minutes. You should watch for this too.

Please don't ask the chat board (and please please please don't ask the marker board) where Pigbot/Dogbot and Snailbot are. Nobody knows for sure. Think about how hard it is for them to track Pig and Snail: they would have to know which accounts Cheetah purged the first time around, and then they would have to check them all over again. All while trying to keep track of where Cheetah is, which is a mind-bogglingly difficult task by itself since Cheetah skips so much. The best solution is for you to simply keep an eye on your own markers and wait.

The second chance you have is the next round of the purge. The 2010 purge went all the way down to X, then snapped all the way back to the # and A accounts. It did this twice, so there were three rounds total. However, the 2012 purge only had one round, so we can't be sure that a second round will even happen with future purges. In any case, it usually takes a few weeks for the first round to finish, so you'll have to wait.

If the purge has stopped and your name still hasn't purged, you can either:
1. Keep stalking it every day--sometimes purges start up again weeks after they seem to have stopped, or
2. Wait until the next purge in about two years.

#13: Do frozen accounts purge?

Yes, many frozen accounts have purged. But they might be less likely because there's no way to know how long ago the owner logged in: could have been a month ago and could have been four years ago.

#14: How do I see how old a frozen account is?

Enter the username in this link:

UPDATE: TNT seems to have removed the show_user link. Aw man.

There are two more complicated ways to find the age of the account:
1. Start to send a transfer to the account (WARNING: DO NOT COMPLETE THE TRANSFER). When you get to the pet exchange screen, it says "If accepted, it will also count as (user)'s 4th User-to-User Transfers for this month." That would mean that user has four transfers, so their account is at least 72 months old. Accounts with only one transfer are at most 23 months old, so they very likely will not purge.

2. For a more precise meter of purgeability, you can try to judge by the ages of the pets. Start a transfer to the account, see what other pets they have, and find the pets' ages. The age of most pets can be found on the petpage---it does not show for all species. Pets around 41,000 to 42,000 hours old were created in the 2012 purge, so they are less likely to purge this time, but since it has been so long, they might still.

#15: How do I find what account a frozen pet is on?

Go to its petpage (www.neopets.com/~Petname) and look for the username.
If it's a Gnorbu, Korbat, Poogle, Techo, or Tuskaninny, you won't be able to find the username anywhere on the page. Instead, mouse over the black referral bar at the top of the page. It will say the username there.
If the page says "Error: Argh, there is no template file!" that means the pet is a Lutari. Lutaris don't have a default petpage, so there's no way to see what account the pet is on. You'll just have to keep an eye on it

#16: How do I see the pets on a frozen account?

Go to the Pound and to the Transfer door. Start a transfer of any of your pets to that user, and click the option to see the user's pets. Be sure to have lots of NP out---if you don't have enough to adopt the pet, it won't show it. Be very careful not to complete the transfer.

#17: Why is the purge going so slowly?

It's not. The purge deleting thousands of accounts very quickly. It's just that the marker-finders can't find every single account, and so the purge appears to move slowly.

#18: What time does the purge begin/end?

When the purge is active, it's continuously deleting names. Sometimes when it seems like it has stopped, it's only stuck on a particularly crowded section of accounts. Other times, it might take a short break. But usually, when the purge is active, it's active 24/7. Sorry, no snack breaks.

When the purge has stopped, it might start over from the beginning of the alphabet, or it might be over for good. We can never predict what the purge will do, so it's best to just keep an eye on your names.

#19: Why can't I make an available username?

One of two reasons:
1. The account is under six letters. Accounts under six letters can't be created anymore. Sorry. :(
2. The username is one of the glitched 2012 purge usernames.
All usernames freed up in the 2012 purge are glitched and might never be available for creation. The glitch had to do with sister sites (Petpet Park/Monkey Quest), but even though the sister sites are now gone, the glitch remains. Hopefully TNT will fix it after they've resolved some of the more important transition-related glitches. It might help if you sent in a suggestion to the Editorial or a ticket asking them to fix purged usernames.

Edit: I sent in a ticket about the usernames and received this reply:

How does TNT plan to "clear out data"? No one but TNT knows, but my guess is another purge would do the job. So, the usernames might become available in the next purge.

#20: It says my name is inappropriate? D:

Something in the pet name is triggering that filter. The pet can't be created and there's nothing you can do about it.

#21: The pet I'm stalking isn't on the userlookup anymore.

This is called "gwenning", because it first happened to the name "Gwen". When this happens, the pet isn't purged, but is released into the pound at a later time. It could take months or even years for them to come out; some pets gwenned in the 2012 purge still haven't come out yet. This is not an automatic process, because TNT has to manually release the pet.

Gwenned pets will retain the name format they had originally. If they were uncapitalized, they will stay uncapitalized when they are dropped into the pound. They also retain their original age. They will not, however, stay unconverted. One of the first gwenned UCs, Poet, retained its old art, but all subsequent ones were converted.

#22: The petpage says my name is on "direct_transfer".

That means it's been gwenned; see #21.

#23: On the pet's lookup, it says "Travelling..." instead of the username.

That means it's been gwenned; see #21.

#24: The petpage says the pet is on pound_release. What is that?

Pound release is completely unrelated to the purge. It's the system that releases pets from when the pound was down a few years ago. Names on pound_release won't purge; they will be released into the pound at some point. Pound release also has nothing to do with Gwenning, despite sharing the place the pets are released.

#25: Do "Not Yet Born" pets purge?

A long time ago, pet creation was different. You could stop in the middle of the creation process, which would result in a pet that was "Not yet born". Not yet born pets are perfectly eligible to purge---since these owners haven't come back and finished creating their pet in all those years, these names are especially likely to purge.

#26: Who is this Snobby people keep talking about?

Snobby (username: snobbby) is a benevolent being who, in his infinite majesty, bestows upon the purge forum great knowledge of the names which the purge approaches. Snobby wishes only for equality and justice. There are those who speak ill of the Snobby, but we do not heed their words, for Snobby has granted the folk of the purge forum many blessed gifts of names in return for our kissing up to him. Should you desire knowledge of a name approaching, simply ask it of Snobby, and he may see fit to grant your desire.

#27: Why can't I pound my purged pet?

Pets cannot be traded or pounded until they are at least seven days (168 hours) old. Sorry, you'll have to wait.

#28: What were previous purges like?

There have been four major site purges:

The first purge occurred some time from April to November 2004. There aren't many names left over from it anymore.

The second purge was very slow. It was active from around December 2006 to October 2007. Nobody knew how to track the purge at that time, or if they did, they kept it to themselves; the few people who knew about this purge simply refreshed on the pets' lookups, hoping to be around to recreate the name when it was deleted. As you can imagine, it was very frustrating, since your chances at your dream name depended entirely on your amount of free time and luck. Trading wasn't allowed at the time, either, so if you missed your name, you were done for (unless the name went UFA). Most of the RN/RW UCs we know and love came from this purge; you will notice that a lot of them were born in 2006 or 2007 (Y8 or Y9). RW UCs are such a rarity because people only had a few months to paint their new RWs before the conversion hit in April 2007.

The third purge was active from November 2010 to March 2011. This was the first purge to gain widespread attention among Neopians, and the first purge to be tracked with the marker system we have now. The first pet that came from Purge #3 was Wrestler, and Claire a bit later.

After that, two "hiccups" happened: one on March 12, 2012, during which the account "saddy" purged with the pets Grey, Sad, and Egg. The second hiccup was on October 5th, 2012. Only a few names purged, the first of which was Heartbreak. This purge covered some usernames beginning with A, stopped only a few hours after it began, and everyone thought the purge was over.

On October 8th, 2012, someone made a board telling the PC that the pet Hope had purged, and then it was known that the purge had restarted. This purge, Purge #4, lasted more than a month, purged many names through the entire alphabet and even through the never-before-purged underscores, and finally ground to a halt on November 12th.

Nobody knows when Purge #5 will happen, but it'll definitely be awesome.