I came across this question in which a moderator noted that a user had a "same IP diff email". I was under the impression that our e-mail was only visible to us or used for the purposes explained in the input field help tip:

I also don't see where the privacy policy states that moderators have access to view it. [ It's in the first paragraph of the "How We Use Information We Collect" section. --Ed. ]

If this is the case, I think users should know this and moderators have different tools to determine duplicate user accounts.

Edit: it was mentioned in this answer and in this answer that mod's have visibility, but it doesn't seem like it's very publicized. I'm finding this out after using the site after 3 years (perhaps I was a bit naive).

  • 1
    To be noted, since July 2013, Stack Exchange logs moderator access to your 'private' information. I don't think that access log to the user, the community team would be able to know if it's abused.
    – Steven V
    Apr 15, 2014 at 19:59
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    Perhaps I need to rephrase the question at this point, but I was unaware that moderators have access to my e-mail. Even if there's an agreement between moderators and StackExchange to be responsible with this information, there's no guarantee they won't misuse it (mods aren't employed by StackExchange).
    – Kermit
    Apr 15, 2014 at 20:00
  • @Kermit All moderators have to agree to the moderator agreement which limits what they are allowed to do with that information. Of course a rogue moderator could start scraping mail addresses, but the way SE rate limits everything I doubt they would get far. Apr 15, 2014 at 20:02
  • If moderator access makes you shiver, read this ;-) (Nothing proven though.)
    – Arjan
    Apr 15, 2014 at 20:02
  • @MadScientist As I stated in my earlier comment, they're not employed by StackExchange. There is no legal requirement for them to maintain confidentiality with my e-mail address.
    – Kermit
    Apr 15, 2014 at 20:03
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    Actually, the privacy policy does mention this: "When we collect your personal information, we’ll tell you how we’re using it, any types of third parties to which we might disclose it, (other than moderators or “agents,” such as vendors or contractors, who are only processing such information for us or at our direction)" Apr 15, 2014 at 20:05
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    @random The law won't help me against "moderators"
    – Kermit
    Apr 15, 2014 at 20:07
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    On a more serious note, in the couple of years I've been moderating ProgSE, I can't remember a time when seeing a user's email was somehow useful. If there's a good reason we get to see user emails, I haven't yet discovered it.
    – yannis
    Apr 15, 2014 at 20:10
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    I can't say how much legal authority the moderator agreement has, I suspect it has none at all. I would weigh the importance of the information against the likelihood it would be abused, and a mail address is not all that important after all. While there are probably no legal repercussions, I'd expect that I'd lose my two diamonds and probably my entire SE account if I'd misuse PII from users that I can only access because I'm a moderator. Apr 15, 2014 at 20:12
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    @Yannis something like this?
    – Lamak
    Apr 15, 2014 at 20:19
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    @Kermit Probably none. If you don't trust SE and the moderators it appoints or elects, use a throwaway mail address. So many sites are hacked and information compromised recently that I wouldn't say I trust any site completely with my information. Nobody guarantees you that your information is safe, and far too many compromise your personal information by bad security practices, and this usually has no legal consequences at all. Apr 15, 2014 at 20:20
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    @Lamak: More like this.
    – user102937
    Apr 15, 2014 at 20:22
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    @Pëkka It's not a contractual agreement, as far as I know.
    – user206222
    Apr 15, 2014 at 23:38
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    @Pëkka Only 18+ would be able to sign it (at least in the US), and I know of at least one <18yo US moderator. It'd be odd to accept it as not contractually binding for one person... unless there's some other arrangement?
    – user206222
    Apr 15, 2014 at 23:42
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    @Emracool that's true. I wonder how they solved that. I would imagine there might be an agreement with the parents? No idea
    – Pekka
    Apr 15, 2014 at 23:43


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