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Specifically stackoverflow and serverfault.

Is that possible? It sure would be convenient for scripting purposes.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

We had a vision of a unique OpenID identifier as the "key" to all three sites, but Google's "every domain gets their own hashed OpenID" has kind of thrown a huge monkey wrench into that. :(

Edit: we now have fairly robust cross-site account association that even works with Google (see your accounts tab), but I realized I didn't answer your question. We never planned to provide for the same numeric ids for every user.

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How about ServerFault, Stack Overflow and Meta Stack Overflow use one domain for their authentication: or something? – deleted Jun 30 '09 at 3:51
See also:… – Rowland Shaw Jun 30 '09 at 7:47

I would LOVE to see this happen. I realize that it's probably too late in the game to change the user IDs on ServerFault, but back when it was first announced I had the idea that a user would have a single account (with, incidentally, a single ID) that existed on all the sites. Separate posts, rep, badges, etc. but basic user info would be the same across the sites.

Not only would it have made it easier to provide a unified rep tracker, but it would also eliminate some of the headache that goes with migrating questions from one site to another and trying to preserve ownership of the content.

However, it looks as though Jeff is trying to right this mistake with Meta by prepopulating the site with the current users from SO and SF, and is actively looking into keeping the data in sync. So I guess we can probably expect that SuperUser and whatever other Overflows come down the line will enable users to retain their IDs from whatever sister site they're a member of.

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From a database perspective, this seems impossible at this point (well, not impossible, but practically given the amount of work necessary).

I imagine that user id is the identity field in the user table and it serves as a foreign key to other information stored in other tables. So changing that user id would mean changing data all over the place.

It might have been a nice to have, but at this point seems unlikely given other priorities.

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Well they're still using just one database server, so it would be possible to just use the same table. However, this doesn't work out so well for future scalability. Still, you could handle this like a memory-management problem and have each of the sites periodically get blocks of unused IDs once they run out. This way you would only have to poll the central ID server periodically. Still, it's a lot of work for marginal gain. – Kyle Cronin Jun 30 '09 at 3:06

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