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UPDATE (and my vote to close)

After posting, some more searches finally yielded some related questions.

Question making this a duplicate:

Related questions, expressing similar sentiments as mine:


I have an old account that I never use any more. My display name used to be "FirstName LastName," and I felt that the content from non-professional sites (e.g., Islam, Mi Yodeya, Workplace, Health, Politics, etc.) were best not tied to my real-world identity. A specific example of such a question that I'd be concerned about: my question discussing anarchism over on Worldbuilding.

I renamed the display name, but this has two problems:

  1. The comments still show my old display name, so I created an entirely new anonymous account (since then, a few, which I've now linked), and I'm reluctant to link the old account. As a result, any comments or new answers I receive on the old account are effectively ignored save for the occasional check-in. This is a nuisance, and I feel bad about it, which is part of why I'm asking this question!

  2. StackOverflow Careers runs on the idea that I can use the site as a platform to display my work, communication skills, etc. The fact that I had to anonymize all of my content to separate work and personal seems against the spirit (and business interests) of the site.

What's the recommended way to handle this? Am I missing or misunderstanding some feature of SE?

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    You can have different display names on different sites. This won't stop people following links to explore what you do on Coffee or Travel, but it will reduce the "obviousness" factor. You can be Firstname Lastname on the professional sites, and SunshineDragon or whatever on the others. – Kate Gregory Feb 17 '16 at 14:39
  • @KateGregory, I updated my question with some specific examples of content that I'd be concerned about. I'm assuming that an employer looking to hire me via StackOverflow Careers would be looking through my profile. – Logical Fallacy Feb 17 '16 at 15:28
  • FWIW, I wouldn't. If I came across a post with your real name on it, I might connect it to the job applicant I was considering, but I would not deliberately go from an SO profile to a religious site profile. That's just asking for trouble from an HR point of view. Not saying all hirers are the same though. – Kate Gregory Feb 17 '16 at 15:39
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    I feel this is a pretty common issue on the Workplace. Who wants to ask "negative" questions about their workplace and have it linked to their other, more public accounts (e.g. SO)? Creating tons of temporary accounts definitely does not seem like the best solution IMO. – Firo Feb 17 '16 at 15:39
  • @KateGregory, I was about to link to this related answer in my question when I noticed that you authored it, so now I'm curious: have you abandoned using multiple accounts like you described? You think reducing the obviousness factor is enough? – Logical Fallacy Feb 17 '16 at 18:21
  • I have a very high bar for what I want to keep separate - and the one site where I have a completely separate account is not the one you are likely to guess. I'm myself on Workplace, Travel, and so on. I don't use the religious or political sites. That one site I wanted to be anonymous on, I knew from the moment I signed up that was how I would do it. Once you have a whole pile of content, keeping it non-orphaned yet not obviously yours is probably your only option. – Kate Gregory Feb 17 '16 at 18:24
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Currently the only way you can keep things disassociated is to have two accounts, though there can be issues if these accounts interact in any way (voting, in particular).

There's no process for splitting an account into two, though. On a case by case basis Stack Overflow, Inc has disassociated specific questions from accounts, but it sounds like you'd have a long list, and, honestly, the reason you have may not be strong enough for them to go to the effort. You might be able to convince them to reconnect a whole site's account to a new account - for instance, create a new account, then ask them to move your entire worldbuilding account over to the new account. That may be slightly less effort, and they may be more willing to do that if it isn't difficult. I wouldn't count on it, though.

At this point, if it's very important to you, it might simply be better to start a new account with a clean slate and build up your reputation there.

  • As an aside, Google cache knows all about a user's past posts, so it's not practical to split hairs over account splitting. – Deer Hunter Feb 17 '16 at 16:31
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    I agree with you that in my case, getting special favors from SO, Inc. isn't practical, and I've already created another account, as I mentioned. I just think it's a shame that my old account sits there getting new answers and comments that I never see. That's detrimental to the community, IMO. – Logical Fallacy Feb 17 '16 at 16:44
  • @ElephantsonParade Perhaps, but it's your content. You may choose to revisit it infrequently if you'd like to maintain it, or you can simply abandon it in place. We have lots of posts which the original posters will never look into again, and it's not a big problem, since others come along and update things. It's one of the reasons we can edit other people's posts. – Adam Davis 'ze-zir-zem' Feb 17 '16 at 17:10
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    @ElephantsonParade you can subscribe to email alerts for inbox messages on the old account. When I was keeping an account separate from the others, that's how I found out about new comments and answers. (Edits don't always show up in the inbox, FYI, but this is still better than getting no notifications.) – Monica Cellio Feb 17 '16 at 22:55
  • @MonicaCellio, I did not know that! That's helpful! – Logical Fallacy Feb 18 '16 at 0:27

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