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The situation is really annoying, but I'll try to describe it in detail. Here's what I've done:

  1. Went to stackoverflow.com and answered a question as a guest, providing my display name and my email in the 'Post answer' form.

  2. After that, I got an email from SO, saying that I've answered some questions but not registered yet. The email contained a confirmation link to SO ('Set your password').

  3. What I did is simply clicking on the link provided in email, but I did this from a different computer -- not the one I posted my answer from. I ended up registered as ANOTHER user with the SAME email, loosing my rep for my first answer, and loosing my username.

  4. I tried to fix that situation by coming back to the computer that I initially posted from, where all my cookies were still good, and I clicked on that 'Finish registration by setting your password' pop up link, entered some password. And here's where some really messy magic came up -- I got a message saying that another user with this email already exists, and if I would like to log in as that existing user.

  5. So I chose to log in as an existing user (supposing that this operation will automatically fix my account), and I ended up with totally loosing control over my initial account. It now shows as unregistered, but I can only view its public details.

This looks like an annoying inconsistency and even a bug in SO registration scheme, and I would like to know if there are any options to recover my initial account. Remember that it refers to the same email that my current account -- which is pretty much a bug by itself. It turns out I can't finish sign up process for the account.

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I've merged your accounts - sorry that the process went like it did for you. This is probably something we can improve, we'll talk about this coming week. –  Tim Post Apr 13 '13 at 12:19

1 Answer 1

Thanks for reporting this. Looks like you hit more than one edge case, and I agree this is a fail.

I'll work out a solution this week.

/update

A fix for this will roll out on the next push. We went through all the steps and determined that the verification email should be tied to an account and log you in if you're not logged in. Not necessary to fix any of the other issues because they won't be encountered after this fix.

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@last sentence, you hope... –  ryan Apr 16 '13 at 21:43
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theoretically... –  Jeremy T Apr 16 '13 at 21:51
    
Thank you for your efforts, guys! And for this extremely useful resource too, by the way. I've been using SO for several years as a reader -- should have started contributing long time ago. Best luck to your team! –  alkoln Apr 17 '13 at 5:49

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