Hi! I'm building a .NET library for the Stack Overflow API, and I would like to include a function where an input of a display name (username) is converted to the userid. This can be done by using the Users page, but how can this be done programmatically (in C#)? If there aren't any API methods for this, could you explain how it would be possible to screen-scrape the users page for this?


By the way, if this belongs on StackOverflow (as I'm asking how it can be done programmatically and for sample code), please migrate it. Your help is appreciated!

  • 4
    Wait, there's a StackOverflow API? Since when?! – Eric Sep 19 '09 at 4:09
  • Here's a link to the unofficial API reference: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/17037/… – Maxim Zaslavsky Sep 19 '09 at 4:12
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    Also, usernames aren't unique. For example, there's this impostor: meta.stackoverflow.com/users/134540 – Eric Sep 19 '09 at 4:12
  • @Eric See my comment on @joshhunt's answer. – Maxim Zaslavsky Sep 19 '09 at 4:16
  • @Maxim: Those are unofficial, not supported AJAX calls used internally on the site. Use at your own risk. – Eric Sep 19 '09 at 4:16
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    There is no migrate-to close reason, on meta. – Brad Gilbert Sep 19 '09 at 4:18
  • @Eric oh well, at least they work! If there becomes a problem with them, I will change my library. But tackling this UserID problem is hard... any ideas anyone? – Maxim Zaslavsky Sep 19 '09 at 4:21
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    @Lance Really? Does it need to be retagged like that? – random Sep 19 '09 at 4:23
  • Ok, many people are saying that this belongs on stackoverflow, can anyone migrate it if this is correct? Thanks! – Maxim Zaslavsky Sep 19 '09 at 4:24
  • @UserID:133268 There is no migrate feature for questions that start in Meta. Just post it as a new question on SO. If anybody gives you flack for posting it there, link to this question here. – random Sep 19 '09 at 4:26
  • @random Im gonna do that when i come back... leaving right now... thanks! – Maxim Zaslavsky Sep 19 '09 at 4:26
  • @Maxim: Many people aren't. Just Lance is. Lance isn't many people. Lance is one people. It's about the non-existant SO API. However, this is a dupe, and Jeff has declined this feature of the API as to now: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/6835/… – Eric Sep 19 '09 at 4:27
  • @MaximZ Probably don't mention the non-existent StackOverflow API, instead just ask about how you're trying to get the IDs based on the DisplayName, but the DisplayNames aren't unique. It could still be a valid question all the same. – random Sep 19 '09 at 4:30
  • Here's the new question on StackOverflow: stackoverflow.com/questions/1447840/… – Maxim Zaslavsky Sep 19 '09 at 6:01

This would be difficult/impossible seeing the usernames are not unique.


  • Yes, this is a problem, but if it were possible to retrieve all of the userids of users with such a username... that would be cool! – Maxim Zaslavsky Sep 19 '09 at 4:15
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    My brother's name is also Josh. – Brad Gilbert Sep 19 '09 at 4:21
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    This answer is just joshing around. – random Sep 19 '09 at 4:22
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    I work with a Josh. I don't know if he reads Meta, but if he does, hi Josh! – Eric Sep 19 '09 at 4:25
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    Maybe it's josh the same Josh you're joshing with at josh? – random Sep 19 '09 at 4:27
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    @random: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. Amirite? – Eric Sep 19 '09 at 4:29
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    It would be a lot easier if everyone were made to name their children with GUIDs – Rich Seller Sep 19 '09 at 8:16
  • Malkovich malkovich? – TrueWill Sep 19 '09 at 21:42

This can be done with the official API, as the users method supports a filter parameter.

  • Yup, that's the right way of doing it, nowadays. Back when I originally asked the question, we had an unofficial API with only a few methods... Do you think I should close this question now? :) – Maxim Zaslavsky Sep 12 '10 at 16:29
  • I know, but I thought it made sense to keep it up to date. As for closing, only if it's a duplicate IMO. – Gelatin Sep 12 '10 at 18:06

I know the question is old an you already know what I am going to say but....

Find any user by name or email address.


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