I found a user on Biology SE.

He has been awarded an association bonus on Biology SE, but he's not a member of any other sites.

How is that possible?

Could he have previously earned reputation on another site, joined Biology SE to earn the association bonus, and then deleted his account on the other site?

I'm just asking out of curiosity.


1 Answer 1


He has account on other sites as well, but he chose to hide some of them from the network profile, resulting in two things:

  1. On each "hidden" site, we see only the account on that site.
  2. No link to network profile on those sites.

This makes finding the associated accounts difficult, but not impossible.

I prefer not to prove my claim by posting a link to respect the user's wish, but believe me that he has other accounts.

Another option, is a deleted account. When a user with 200+ reputation (meaning the bonus is already awarded) deletes his/her account (which triggered the bonus), the bonus is not removed from the other sites, which can also lead so a case where user without any account with more than 200 repuation has the association bonus: Association Bonus not removed upon account deletion

  • If you'd like to link me to his network profile, I can confirm that he has multiple accounts - moderators can see hidden accounts on the network profile, normal users can't.
    – ArtOfCode
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 17:59
  • 11
    Folks, let's not defeat the purpose of the feature by shining a giant light on an individual user :)
    – user50049
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 18:17
  • 2
    An alternative option is that the user had another account which got deleted.
    – Oded
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 19:43
  • as @Oded said - there is a known issue with that, see Association Bonus not removed upon account deletion
    – gnat
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 19:58
  • Thanks @Oded, I've added this to the answer. Commented May 24, 2016 at 20:03
  • @gnat why issue? Like badges, this is a bonus which is never removed. The only issue might be when account is destroyed by moderators, in which case he might not "deserve" the bonus. Commented May 24, 2016 at 20:04
  • @ShadowWizard the issue is right there, in the question I linked: there is no authoritative explanation if this a bug or status-bydesign
    – gnat
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 20:07
  • @gnat probably because it's tagged with neither, so it didn't get the attention of SE team Commented May 24, 2016 at 20:12
  • @ShadowWizard it's tagged support, if these (let's be fair typically simplest to address) questions don't get attention of SE team, that's kind of worrying
    – gnat
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 20:36
  • 4
    it's definitely by-design, @gnat, as I noted here. We don't normally tag support questions status-bydesign though.
    – Shog9
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 21:14
  • @Shog9 speaking of association bonus, how often does it happen to be granted out of thin air - that is when none of linked accounts has 200 rep? I can post a separate stats request if you prefer, or you can post stats in the answer in this recent popular question at MSO: “voting corrected” does not reverse site association bonus: it's not OK
    – gnat
    Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 15:36

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