I have been logging into SE using my Google account and SE have always asked to "View your email address".

Today it also asked for "basic profile info":

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This is a NEW development (I was not asked for "basic profile info 3 days ago).

What has happened?

I do not want to divulge my "basic profile info".

What are my options?

Can I create an SE account and move my old account history over?


1 Answer 1


We're not doing anything different in terms of what we request from Google on our end.

Google's policy, as far as I know, is to be more upfront about what they're sharing regardless of what's asked for... and it looks like asking for email brings the basic profile info along for the ride.

Far as using this information goes, we currently populate the "real name" field (that isn't shown to anyone except you and the site's moderators) on new profiles with the name from the Google profile. We are also working on a feature to optionally allow folks to use the same avatar they have on Google on their SE profile at the time of signup. If they choose to switch to a different avatar at that time, we will not keep any information about their Google avatar.

If you want to avoid sharing this information, your best bet is to log in with a different service, such as Stack Exchange OpenID. I suggest creating a new profile using that and then contacting us to have your profiles merged. Once that's done, you can remove the Google credentials by going to "my logins" on your profile and keep logging in with the new SE OpenID from then on.

  • Aha! "real name"! Why do you need that?!
    – sds
    Aug 4, 2014 at 13:35
  • @sds We're not requesting it. We're given it regardless. Google's stance is that an email is all that's needed to identify someone's Google profile, so they end up being more explicit about listing what you're about to give us access to whether or not we're going to use it. You're more than welcome to edit your profile to set your real name to anything you want (including nothing).
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Aug 4, 2014 at 13:37
  • I am trying to follow your instructions. what url do I enter into the "your other profile link" for the SE OpenID? whatever I put there I get the "oops this isn't a valid profile" error.
    – sds
    Aug 4, 2014 at 13:53
  • @Anna Google got a policy that not allowing to choose a name that is obviously not real. As far as I can tell, one can't set his real name to nothing and most likely my own nick won't pass either. (crikey.com.au/2011/08/17/google-plus-real-names-policy) Aug 4, 2014 at 13:53
  • @ShadowWizard I'm talking about editing our profiles, not Google's. We don't force anyone to keep a real real name.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Aug 4, 2014 at 13:54
  • @AnnaLear oh, lol. Thought you meant changing on Google then you'll take the new/blank name. Aug 4, 2014 at 13:55
  • @sds Actually, I see an SE OpenID linked up to your account already (using an email address @gnu.org). You should be able to safely remove the Google credentials now and be all set.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Aug 4, 2014 at 13:55
  • @AnnaLear: how do I remove the Google credentials?
    – sds
    Aug 4, 2014 at 13:57
  • @sds Go to your profile, click "my logins" on the right, and you should see a "remove" link there.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Aug 4, 2014 at 13:58
  • @ShadowWizard That link you posted has been incorrect for a couple of weeks: plus.google.com/u/0/+googleplus/posts/V5XkYQYYJqy Aug 5, 2014 at 17:38
  • @murgatroid99 oh, good to know! Aug 5, 2014 at 17:45
  • It appears this doesn't apply to new accounts only. If you log in with a Google ID and have a blank Real Name field it is filled out for you even if your account has been well established. Aug 18, 2014 at 15:09
  • @ShadowWizard FWIW, I have just my first initial as my "real name" in my G+ profile, and ostensibly it would permit your last initial too. While it's not the same as "nothing", it's far less identifiable than your name.
    – Doktor J
    Sep 20, 2016 at 15:38

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