Thinking about this as I toil away in minutia on a Saturday night (where thinking about more interesting things is a very welcome thing ..)
- Merges can be self-service now, and account recovery is getting better
- We have various ways of getting a user's attention with something to click on (inbox)
It might make sense for mods to be able to initiate something that pokes the user to initiate the merge themselves. The reason we made the feature employee only was suspected socks being merged, and as it turned out, they really were different people.
The chief use case is you finding someone disenfranchised from their contributions and continuing to make cookie-based accounts. Well, what if you could click a button that sends them to the tools they need to fix it themselves? Folks in this use case might not even know what 'merge' means as far as their account goes, much less how to do it, or even that they need it.
A site moderator noticed that you seem to be having trouble accessing your account, and inadvertently created another account in the process. To merge them, [link]start here[/link].
Depending on when either account was last accessed, they could get this notification on both of them. It would of course have to fall through (politely) to contacting us if something went wrong with the process or it couldn't be initiated self-service for various reasons. That wouldn't be too hard to do.
I have to think about it some more, and work on login / recovery and everything surrounding it has to settle, but that might not be a horrible idea, and certainly cleaner than even the old way we had for you to request it on the user's behalf.
Deferring until some more stuff gets done. Poke me in comments if more than a month or two passes.