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From http://meta.stackoverflow.com/help/user-merge:

If you have lost access to your duplicate account, please click here to fill out the form.

If you click, you see this:

enter image description here

If someone has lost access to their duplicate account, I really don't think that they can edit their dupe's profile.

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3  
Who is user and how does he have more reputation than Jon Skeet?? –  animuson Jan 3 '13 at 9:00
    
@animuson: ??? I sense a joke in there, but I don't see it :s –  Manishearth Jan 3 '13 at 9:02
    
The image at the top of that help page. ;P –  animuson Jan 3 '13 at 9:02
    
@animuson: Ah right, forgot about that :P –  Manishearth Jan 3 '13 at 9:04

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

It could use a little clarification, but it does effectively get people in touch with us, at which point we're usually able to sort things out.

From the e-mail that we send people when (for whatever reason) they can't access one of the accounts:

If you are unable to log into one of them, complete as much as you can with the verifications and I will see if I can verify your ownership between the accounts.

What we probably need to do is move the above into the instructions on the page just above the form, so people know there's still hope even if they can't access one of the accounts, which also alleviates them from feeling like they must take an impossible action prior to submitting.

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I think the copy here is confusing. People with access to their accounts can follow these steps, but for people locked out for whatever reason, this is a two stage process.

  1. Regain access to the lost account.

  2. Merge accounts.

The copy and/or formatting should be updated so that people do not read the three bullet points for merging accounts as being directly related to the previous sentence. The link off to a form to regain access to your accounts should clearly state that you may not continue with the merge process until you have gained access.

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I was locked out of my old account due to what I believe to be a system error. As far as I know, it is using the same OpenID as the account I'm currently using. What is the recommended course of action in this case? –  The Community Mar 23 '13 at 11:49
    
Thanks for bumping this yesterday, but this is apparently not accurate; see my answer. :) –  The Community Mar 24 '13 at 2:36

I was able to get my inaccessible account merged into my active account despite the incongruity of the language on that page, and despite not being able to comply with the request to edit the inaccessible account's profile.

Regaining access to the lost account was not necessary; instead, I was able to provide proof to SE support, via email, that I was the rightful owner of that account.

I believe the wording of that page should be amended so that it is not instructing the user to perform an impossible feat. If you've lost access to the account, as indicated by clicking that link, there is no possible way to adhere to the instructions that follow by editing the account's profile.

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