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I signed up to Stack Overflow with an OpenID and have it set linked to Stack Exchange, yet whenever I try to post to another Stack Exchange site I have to set-up a new account which, while is promised to be linked to other Stack Exchange accounts, they dont seem to be linked in any way other than appearing on the profile accounts section. For example reputation isn't carried over, or "seen" by other Stack Exchange accounts.

Is this correct? is that all that is meant by the accounts being linked, or should they be more "merged" than that?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Rep isn't carried over anyway--all the SE sites have a different rep counter/badge counter for your account. (Though site metas display the same rep).

Rep on each site is independent for a reason. Each site has its own set of niche rules and policies, so being awesome on one site does not make you eligible to get privileges on another. The rep is a measure of how much people on that site trust you.

What linkage does:

  • Shows all your accounts, ordered by rep, in the accounts section of your profile on any site: enter image description here

  • Shows your accounts on your SE profile accounts tab

  • You get +100 rep on every associated site (and every site you join thereafter) once you reach 200 rep on a single site. You get +100 on that site as well. This bonus is so that you can get past most of the newbie barriers on a site.

  • Shows combined rep on SE 2.0 site chat

It also combines eligible accounts on your combined flair. Unfortunately, you don't have enough rep on any site to own a combined flair; all you get is this : enter link description here (More details here).

Example of how combined flair looks: enter link description here. Note all the site icons on the bottom.

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This is by design.

Your reputation on a site is a measure of

  1. Your participation on that site
  2. How much the community on that site trusts you.

Just because you have 50K reputation on Stack Overflow (for example) doesn't mean that you know anything about photography, history, DIY or gardening (to pick four sites at random). You must prove your knowledge and trustworthiness on each site.

If you have more than 200 reputation on any site you are given a 100 point bonus on any new site you sign up for to get you over the initial hump of being able to vote, comment anywhere etc. (but not down-vote) as you have proved you know how Stack Exchange works.

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