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I have seen a few edits that clearly are being done by the post owner but for some reason the post owner has two accounts with the same user name. The system should at least tell the person how to get the accounts merged.

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I see this a lot with user11111 kind of accounts as the OP, they sign their name to the post, then I see an "Answer" with more detail from a real account. I flag and say "needs accounts merged" and suggest you do the same when looking through the edit queue. My guess is that anything repetitive will get automated eventually - and you can help make it repetitive :-) –  Kate Gregory Jul 29 '11 at 22:21
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Better yet, automatically merge the accounts if the system can verify that they are coming from the same person. –  Robert Harvey Jul 29 '11 at 23:06
    
any samples around? –  realspirituals Apr 8 at 11:11

1 Answer 1

The problem here is that the user name is not unique.

So how would you tell that /users/12345/chrisf is the same as /users/67890/chrisf when these could legitimately be separate people.

You could have a process that looks at IP addresses shared by the accounts, or even shared e-mail addresses etc, but the IP check could fail if you have many users coming from the same place - e.g. a college or large company.

It's probably easier to let humans spot things like this - we're far better at pattern recognition than computers.

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The requested feature would not automatically merge the accounts but only inform about the possibility. So, if ChrisF 1 happens to edit a post by ChrisF 2 (to whom he isn’t identical) and gets a message informing him about account mergin, he will understand that this does not apply to his situation (moreover so, if the message is properly worded) and happily continue. The possibility that ChrisF 1 and ChrisF 2 happen to edit a lot of each other’s posts and thus get annoyed by this is very unlikely and can even be avoided by showing the warning only once per account combination. –  Wrzlprmft Apr 8 at 11:15
    
(Also in the latter case, ChrisF 1 and ChrisF 2 should really get distinct usernames for the sake of everybody else.) –  Wrzlprmft Apr 8 at 11:16
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@Wrzlprmft - Sending users who may well be different people messages about account merges is not really an option. –  ChrisF Apr 8 at 11:29
    
Why not? Nobody suggests to send such messages to all such users. And of course, such a message should be appropriately worded, e.g., along the lines of “You edited a post by a user with the same username as yours. Note that if you happen to be identical, you can merge your accounts.” –  Wrzlprmft Apr 8 at 11:42
    
@ChrisF, you mention letting humans spot it; is possible duplicate accounts something you want users to flag for moderator attention if they do spot it, or is it not worthwhile/not something elected moderators can fix? (I did flag once for possible duplicate account when I spotted it in a review, for this question and this answer seemingly from the same person, but notice they haven't been merged yet). –  softwariness Apr 8 at 12:21
    
@softwariness - Don't flag. Moderators can't merge accounts. Just leave a comment if you really want to. –  ChrisF Apr 8 at 14:07

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