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Until recently, network profile URLs were frightening. Five months ago I used one to refer to an active user of Mathematics.

Since a few weeks the URLs are much shorter. Nice! But the old link now redirects me to what I assume is an unrelated user. (Little activity, and no account on Mathematics.)

I think I linked to the author of a question who no longer is a registered user, and is now displayed as "user6163". That might explain some re-use of network IDs to keep them short. Still then, if doable: the old GUID URL should probably yield a 404 instead?

(Google Cache still knows my old GUID URL, and that works fine. The only other GUID URL I ran into redirects fine too.)

Given a Meta post about lost reputation for the old user "Nir", maybe some abuse was taken care of, and the current user is some merged account. But then I'd expect some activity in Mathematics again?

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To find your own old URL in Google: search for the URL of, for example, your Stack Overflow profile, hover the "expand" button to the right of the search results to show a preview, and then click "In cache". Some of my profiles were updated too recently. But it only takes one older cached profile to be able to see the old GUID URL underneath your avatar... (A cache of the 24th had the new URL; a cache of the 11th still showed the old URL.) – Arjan Oct 2 '11 at 20:55
Hmmm, where's /users/3? And /users/8 looks interesting! ;-) – Arjan Oct 2 '11 at 21:18
Wonder how the new user ids were generated – Sathya Oct 3 '11 at 6:34
up vote 3 down vote accepted

We're relatively sure that the "unrelated" user is indeed the same user you originally linked to:

  • As you pointed out, the deleted user's display name was "Nir".
  • If you go to shoshank's Accounts tab and click through to his SO account, you'll find that his SO display name is also "Nir".
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And I thought I investigated everything! Well, in my defence: we really need to show user names (and maybe avatars) on the “accounts” tab! ;-) (Sorry for ringing the alarms!) – Arjan Oct 3 '11 at 17:45

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