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From this question: http://superuser.com/questions/89767/saving-enlarge-image-with-web-pages

We have a new user who asked a question on StackOverflow, not knowing it wasn't appropriate for his question. Someone told him it will be migrated (as an answer, but anyway), and indeed, it got migrated. He understood the migration, has no problem with it.

However, he lost ownership of the question, since he didn't have an account on SuperUser when it was migrated. So now, we have several possibilities:

  1. Advise him to link his two profiles (even though his SO profile means nothing, it's as new), then flag for a moderator to link the question back to him (if possible, I'm not fully sure), so that he will finally be able to edit his own question and comment on it?

  2. Advise him to ask again his question on SuperUser, and vote/flag to close the migrated one as a duplicate of the new one?

  3. Do nothing, and let him handle his question without possibility to edit, comment, or accept answers.

The first solution seems the best, of course, but from the point of view of a new user, it's an incredible hassle. All this "procedure", just to ask a simple question. Second one is a bit "bad practice", but it's the fastest and easiest way for him to have a question he can actually "work" with.

So what to advise, in this case?

Edit: According to Jeff's answer, I was obviously mistaken on the behaviour of association and migration. In my mind, you had to create and associate accounts BEFORE migration, because it would be too late after. Apparently associating after gives the ownership back, so there is indeed no such problem.

The correct behaviour in this case is indeed to vote/flag to migrate, and explain it to the user, as well as telling him to associate both accounts.

(And on a sidenote: yes, please, explain that a question will be migrated, and why, instead of only saying "not something related", and adding "belongs-on-something" tags.)

Do not advise him to ask again! It will only produce a duplicate, after the question is migrated. –  Ladybug Killer Dec 31 '09 at 16:22
@John: I know it will, that's the point. But for a new user, it would allow him to actually have his question on the correct site, and be able to directly edit, comment on it, without the procedure of joining accounts, etc. Greater chances for him to like the site and not see it like some complicated administrative thing. That was the point of my second proposition, simply. In the end, it is easier even from a moderator's point of view. But of course, it's a thing to not encourage. –  Gnoupi Dec 31 '09 at 21:04
See also - meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7328/… –  ChrisF Jan 11 '10 at 16:17
Jeff's answer made me realise your "Advise him to link his two profiles [..] then flag for a moderator to link the question back to him" indeed seems to indicate you (wrongly) think that associating accounts has no immediate effect. Still, I think this question is valid in the sense: "how to explain things to new users". –  Arjan Jan 11 '10 at 17:17
Since 2010-05-19 there is automatic account association between the trilogy sites. –  Arjan Jan 20 '11 at 19:47

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

This whole post is kind of redundant, IMO, as it's based on a fundamental misunderstanding.

Linking your accounts means you automatically gain control of your migrated questions on the target site.

If you do not link your accounts, of course, this will never happen. But if you do, it does -- and it's fully automatic.

... if (new) people understand that accounts can be linked? –  Arjan Jan 11 '10 at 16:51
Then, hopefully, this question and answer will help some of them. –  beska Jan 11 '10 at 17:57
new accounts get a topbar notification reminding them to associate, with a link to the associate page. Short of going over to their house and clicking the buttons for them, not sure what else to do. –  Jeff Atwood Jan 12 '10 at 0:24
Aha, there already is a topbar notification? Yet another gem that existing uses are just unaware of! –  Arjan Jan 12 '10 at 8:19
I didn't know that associating was giving ownership of questions already migrated, indeed. Didn't know as well about the top bar notification. So all is good in the world, I see. –  Gnoupi Jan 12 '10 at 15:07

I'd love one of the following:

  • A link "Did you ask this question?" for any question that does not have a valid/active owner, optionally only shown when viewed by an anonymous visitor (or by any visitor who does not have an associated account on the original site...?). That link could then open some FAQ to explain what to do.

    Such link might even apply to questions owned by valid/active but non-registered users, but I never figured out how non-registered users work. (I assume it uses cookies, which might be lost?)

Or (not quite doable, I guess):

  • "Simply" auto-create-and-associate the user if non-existent yet? I guess that yields problems for people who actually do have multiple accounts, but just didn't associate them yet (especially as then the owner of the question is no longer greyed-out and might seem to be the same as the user's current account — while that user will still not be the owner then).

    [Update: since 2010-05-19 there is automatic account association between the trilogy sites.]

Hiding such link for normal users will also make them unaware of its existence, and hence some might still try to explain...?
For the FAQ it might help if a link like /users/me?tab=accounts (thus using "me" rather than a specific user id) would work.


"1" or "3"... set up an account or don't set up an account. It's his call.

He can still read his answers without setting up an account on Super User. If that's all he wants, there's nothing else to be done. But, if he wants the ongoing benefits of membership (editing, notifications, etc), he should set up an account on Super User (and link them, etc).

But in this case, he has the account on SU, it's only that the question is linked to the SO one (which, if this is not a programmer, will remain unused). This is what was adding to the "hassle", in my opinion. –  Gnoupi Dec 31 '09 at 16:08

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