Just to add to the long discussions about real identity on SO and the value of your online persona.

When a question is migrated to a different site your name goes with it, even if you have no login on that site. You have no say in this, you can't delete the question or remove your name without creating a login to the site - which will then be linked to all your other sites.

So you answer a question of the etymology of peadophile on English.SO and find this has been migrated to sex-abusers-recovery.SO with your name attached to the bottom.

Or worse, your answer about lisp has been migrated to emacs.so leaving you indelibly associated with emacs in the googlplex

Should identifying info be stripped from a migrated question if you don't have an identity on the new site?

Should you have the option to prevent your answers being migrated?

  • Interestingly a migrated answer on skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/6013/… has just been deleted, An inbox comment points to it, so I can read the first part of the comment in the inbox but the full comment was to a deleted answer which I can't see cos I don't have a login. Sep 1, 2011 at 17:12
  • ps. I wasn't particularly objecting to this migration. I have been working on some online trust/identity concerns for another system and it seemed like an interesting point to bring up. Sep 1, 2011 at 17:14
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    Is there any actual instance of this being problematic? Being ahead of the game is always wise, but there actually being a problematic migration like this, that would be helpful to bring up.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Sep 1, 2011 at 17:33
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    @Grace, do I know of someone who didn't get invited for an interview because Goolge linked their name to atheism.so? Or somebody who works for a defense company who got flagged because a question got migrated to islam.so ? No - but I don't think it's impossible. Sep 1, 2011 at 17:43

2 Answers 2


Create and associate an account, delete the question, have the account deleted. After that, flag for mod to get a dev to wipe your name from it if you really need to.

Or just use the "contact us" link at the bottom of every page and explain what you want done.

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    Yes there are special pleading fixes - I'm just pointing out a potential problem as your contributions to SO become more widely dispersed into areas you were unaware of. Sep 1, 2011 at 16:55
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    You can change your name before account deletion so that your preferred one doesn't show up on the disassociated post.
    – user1228
    Sep 1, 2011 at 16:55
  • And, step 0: keep track of your old posts, to know when they are migrated, like when a new more specific site is introduced...
    – Arjan
    Sep 1, 2011 at 16:56

I appreciate the concerns. On the other hand: given the datadumps et al, the scope is much wider than the Stack Exchange web sites.

I think a warning while choosing a user name might be nice. (Slightly related to that: I feel defaulting to a Facebook profile picture after using Facebook to log in, could use a warning too.)

  • One of the aims of SO and careers is to build a real identity on the internet. If flaws in the system mean this might be a problem and people respond by anonymous-ising themselves then the aim of SO is broken. Sep 1, 2011 at 16:56
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    @Martin, I never read anything about that aim. I feel the network's CC-Wiki licensing is at least as important to SE. No way to control your name there.
    – Arjan
    Sep 1, 2011 at 17:05
  • In a bunch of blog posts and podcasts Joel impressed the importance of building a real brand indentity online. I'm assuming this goes deeper than just advertising dollars but if it becomes a problem, as it has on facebook, it will result in people leaving in droves or anonymising themselves Sep 1, 2011 at 17:09

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