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Responding to this question reminded me of something I have been trying to work out how to do for a while.

At the moment I just have one SO/SX account with one OpenID and both work and personal accounts all linked together. This is easy and simple, but means that during the day I get Inbox notifications for things which I only want to deal with out of work hours. Similarly, at home I get notifications for things which I want to deal with at work.

So, I'm considering trying to separate my work and personal Stack Exchange worlds, but I'm not even sure if this is possible now the accounts are all linked, without creating all new SX accounts.

I suspect that at the very least I will have to create a new OpenID with a different OpenID provider, add this openID to all of my personal accounts, update my display names on all of those accounts and then remove the original OpenID from them, but what else might I have to do?

Will switching them to another OpenID be enough? Or will the accounts all still be linked together? Has anyone done this, and if so, are there any issues I need to consider?

Note, I'm aiming for the two sets of SX sites to be completely disjoint. No site in my professional account will also be in my personal account and vice-versa, so no problems with appearing to be a sock-puppet. Also, obviously, I don't want to have create entirely new accounts for the SX sites I consider personal and have to start acquiring rep on them from scratch.

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Right now, there is no way to indicate to moderators you are not sockpuppeting. And a user merge is (almost?) impossible to undo. If you are running two accounts, make sure they NEVER cross paths. The first time you comment on account A's question from account B, or upvote one account from another, you're going to get merged and suspended. –  Won't Jul 13 '11 at 13:47

1 Answer 1

There are two cases here.

1. Having two accounts on the same Stack Exchange site.

While you can create a second account with a different OpenID that won't be linked to your current account, you'll have to make sure that these two accounts don't interact in any way whatsoever.

If they do then they will be merged as it will look like one is a sock puppet of the other.

Even if they don't interact there's always a chance that they will be merged as they will share the same IP addresses as each other 100%.

2. Having non linked accounts on separate Stack Exchange sites.

This is perfectly possible and is easily accomplished by creating your account on Bicycles, DIY or where ever with a separate OpenID. As there's no match between the two accounts Stack Exchange won't offer to associate them with each other.

You used to be able to use the same OpenID - you just had to remember to say "no" to all offers to associate the accounts - but that option has been removed - Stop repeatedly auto-associating accounts on login!

Bear in mind that you won't get the 100 point bonus from associating accounts, so you'll have to start from the very beginning on the new site.

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I guess, if the case is that someone wants a work account on SO and SF, and a non-work account on Gaming and Bicycles (to pick examples are random) this is less of an issues because the accounts don't co-exists on the same site at all. No ideal, I suppose, but still less "dangerous"? –  DMA57361 Jul 13 '11 at 12:23
    
@DMA57361 - if the accounts are associated then there'll be no link. –  ChrisF Jul 13 '11 at 12:25
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Even if they don't interact there's always a chance that they will be merged as they will share the same IP addresses as each other 100%. => Do you have a source for this? As far as I know the official policy is that having multiple accounts is allowed and that if abuse does not occur moderators should never merge them against the user's wishes –  Andreas Bonini Jul 13 '11 at 14:20
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@Kop - I'm speaking as a moderator here. When we spot something suspicious or have something flagged we check out the user involved and that might be checking for IPs shared with other users. This would be one more thing to consider. If there were no flags then we wouldn't go looking. –  ChrisF Jul 13 '11 at 14:23
    
ok, but keep in mind I'm talking about cases where there is no cross-voting between accounts.. Even if flagged, if your investigation reveal that there was no cross voting but that the two accounts belong to the same person, you wouldn't merge them, correct? So there is no risk of having your accounts merged if you don't upvote yourself, correct? –  Andreas Bonini Jul 13 '11 at 14:46
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As a follow up, I believe this is a very important privacy issue for people wishing to ask some questions anonymously for any reason, which - as far as I know - it's not disallowed or frowned upon. –  Andreas Bonini Jul 13 '11 at 14:48
    
@Kop - It would depend on the circumstances. If that was the only "problem" then no I wouldn't merge, but if it were one of several then I would be more likely to merge. So, as long as you are scrupulously careful to keep the two accounts separate and don't do anything to get moderator flags you'll be (largely) OK. I'm not going to promise 100%, because we're dealing with people here. –  ChrisF Jul 13 '11 at 14:52
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Yeah.. I know that a "bad" merge happened at least once with Neil, where a very old account of his where he had a lot of downvoted/stupid posts was merged without his consent years later. He abandoned that account and created the Neil account to have a "fresh start" (something very reasonable imo) and I found that incident very disturbing :( I think many moderators aren't aware that having multiple accounts is usually ok –  Andreas Bonini Jul 13 '11 at 16:25
    
May need to revise, associations are automatic meta.stackexchange.com/questions/52272/… –  random Apr 23 at 13:35

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