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Why do some users have username “user########”?

Why have I started seeing a lot of usernames like 'user234878' on Stack Overflow?

This makes me wonder if they are real people. Is it possible that these usernames are a product of the signup process?

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marked as duplicate by ChrisF, jjnguy, Michael Mrozek, Pops, gnostradamus Feb 14 '11 at 16:06

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Stack Exchange engine doesn't require registration to post questions or answers. You can log out and try yourself.
Thus, until user logs in and sets up a nickname, one has to be generated.

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The clear down side to not registering or associating an OpenID is that if you flush cookies, you've lost your account. +1. – Tim Post Feb 14 '11 at 15:53
ah thanks. somehow i didn't realise that people could ask Qs without signup ! – zack Feb 14 '11 at 16:25
@tim you can get your cookie back as long as you gave us a valid email address and use the "recover login" option on the users/login page – Jeff Atwood Feb 14 '11 at 19:54
@Jeff - Thanks, I did not realize that was possible. – Tim Post Feb 16 '11 at 19:54

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