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In SO both real users and temporary users can ask a new questions.

I assume each user type has a different table. My question is how can I attach the question to the right user?

I assume the temp users have their own table for the following reasons:

  1. Temp users don't have all the data that real users have. Like: email, password, and all users details.
  2. On the other hand, there are a lot more temp users than real users.

So it make more sense to have them in their own table.

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may be they are in same table and with a flag temporary = 1 or registered = 0:-) –  YOU Feb 22 '10 at 3:28
    
You might find this interesting: blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/02/when-is-an-account-abandoned –  Shog9 Feb 22 '10 at 3:40
    
AFAIK, if you are using ASP.NET, the ASP.NET Membership supports anonymous users and uses same table for both of them. Of course, I don't know what's going on behind the scene in SO. –  Mehdi Golchin Feb 22 '10 at 9:40
    
Check sqlserverpedia.com/wiki/… –  Mehdi Golchin Feb 22 '10 at 12:17

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You've got two questions in here, so I'll answer each individually:

My question is how can I attach the question to the right user?

There's only one Users table in each Creative Commons dump. The schema is described here: http://sqlserverpedia.com/wiki/Understanding_the_StackOverflow_Database_Schema

I assume the temp users have their own table for the following reasons:

Your reasons might be valid, but in the export, there's only one Users table. They simplify the schema for easier exporting and public querying.

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Stack Overflow even uses the same table for both questions and answers, so I really doubt they would split the users table in 2 :)

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Well, not even REAL users have all that data.

As S.Mark says, Jeff notes the StackOverflow has a very loose intrepretation of an account.

Note, you don't really have to fill out ANY of the profile information. Even the username is not required. And no one has to enter a password - SO uses OpenID for authentication, and therefore never accepts or stores passwords.

My guess is that they are in the same table, and just don't have an OpenID attached to them. Most likely they have a flag on them that denotes them as temporary.

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StackExchange, which is based on the same platform stores a unique reference to the cookie in the field for the OpenId on the database (as far as I can tell, from being an administrator on my own StackExchange site)

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