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I noticed, when viewing a question on the Literature site, that my username and profile is not correct.

Here is my profile on that site, and this is me pretty much everywhere else, that I know of.

Something is weird here:

  1. My profile "about" section is filled in and I have the Autobiographer badge. I certainly never manually filled in the about page there so clearly this account is connected to my main account as the profile text was filled in automatically. Yet, the username and avatar does not match.
  2. Also I have the association bonus there, so it definitely wasn't me logging in randomly, I must have been already logged in as myself network-wide when I created that account (assuming I created that account).
  3. The "private information" section in that user900 profile is completely blank (no full name, no email address), unlike all of my other profiles. Only the "about me" is really filled in.

Points 1 + 2 = there's no reason why the username or avatar should be different. Point 3 is a mystery.

Also I am quite sure it's connected to my account. When I log out of Literature it does log me out of the entire network. And when I log in to the network, that account on Literature shows up again.

What is going on here? Is this a bug? An accidental merge? Did I do something weird?

None of this makes any sense to me. There's no reason why I should have a profile with a generic username and gravatar on that site given the other observations.

Additional random data points:

  • I use the same Google login for everything here. Just to be sure I reviewed account activity for my Google account. There are no security alerts, no unrecognized devices, and no suspicious logins or other activity.
  • I do not use the mobile apps.
  • I sometimes use the mobile site through my phone, but I checked my phone's browser history (which I have not cleared since January) and confirmed that I have never visited that site there.
  • Looks like I haven't cleared my desktop browser history either, and I can at least verify that I did indeed create the account on March 1st, there is a visit to the join page and the first question I visited was Why doesn't James Joyce ever use quotation marks?, although it does not appear that I took any actions there.
  • According to my browser history I edited my profile, or at least visited the edit page, on March 2 (via MSE) and March 4 (via SO). I would have applied the changes to all communities. According to Mithrandir the Literature site profile was updated on March 3, two days after it was created. Not sure if this is a red herring, but these events did all happen around the same time.
  • Yesterday, I had an unregistered account on the UX site merged with mine (long story), it seemed to happen without a hitch, not sure if that's related.
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    Would you like me to check things like IP and changes when I can? (I'm a mod on Lit.) – Mithrandir Mar 21 '17 at 11:12
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    @Mithrandir Sure, if you've got the time and/or motivation, I'd totally appreciate it! Let me know if you need any info from me. My current IP is 7?.8?.3?.1?? and generally remains static. – Jason C Mar 21 '17 at 11:22
  • Maybe you visited it via one of the apps? (iOS or android) – Shadow Wizard Mar 21 '17 at 11:38
  • Looks like this bug again. – Shadow Wizard Mar 21 '17 at 11:39
  • @ShadowWizard Well, I don't have any of the apps. On my phone I only use the mobile site. – Jason C Mar 21 '17 at 11:41
  • So it's another form of that old bug, I also left a comment for Adam. :/ – Shadow Wizard Mar 21 '17 at 11:42
  • @ShadowWizard I just checked; I haven't cleared the browser history on my phone since January, and I have made no visits to the literature site on my phone. So if I did create an account there it definitely happened through the desktop site. – Jason C Mar 21 '17 at 11:46
  • There's also the small chance of hacking, wonder what @Mithrandir will find out. – Shadow Wizard Mar 21 '17 at 11:46
  • You haven't changed your IP; I would check with mods from other sites if it's the same as your other accounts but I'd like your permission to do that. I haven't checked your PII (email and real name etc). – Mithrandir Mar 21 '17 at 11:50
  • Ok, so current working theory is that one of my cats was interested in the nature of Humpty Dumpty and created an account while I was sleeping, presumably not knowing enough about how the sites worked to fill in the profile properly (what a noob). – Jason C Mar 21 '17 at 11:50
  • @Mithrandir Thanks for checking. You have my permission to do whatever you want. Much to the chagrin of most of my politically-charged friends on Facebook, I place virtually no value on my privacy. The only reason I obscured my IP address in the above comment is it's currently hosting a web site with rather embarrassing HTML (yes, I still use tables for layout). – Jason C Mar 21 '17 at 11:52
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    I have had this once. It happens when there is some delay between authenticating and creating the user profile. @AdamLear looked into it (and a few other cases) but it was hard to repro, or clear from the logs what the order of events is causing this. – rene Mar 21 '17 at 12:00
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    @JasonC it recorded user switched profile image to gravatar identicon as an event on March 1st, just found out. And it recorded a change to the 'about me' on March 3rd. – Mithrandir Mar 21 '17 at 12:39
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    Hm. Not sure this is the same issue as the one(s) I've investigated previously, but I'm on bug duty later this week, so I'll take a look at what may have happened here. – Adam Lear Mar 27 '17 at 15:31
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    @JasonC Oh, sorry. Go ahead and update your profiles. I don't have anything concrete as to what happened here, but I think we fixed up a couple more issues in profile syncs around the same time. I haven't heard of new reports lately, so fingers crossed. – Adam Lear May 4 '17 at 19:44
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Update: This was mainly about the mysterious upvote that happened. Since that was resolved as a PICNIC...


Here's a list of things I checked. Maybe someone can find something with it.


  • IPs
    • Your Ip

Your IP has not changed on Literature since you registered the account, and there have been no other IPs that used your account. I had a Stack Overflow moderator check the IP info for your account - your SO IP hasn't changed recently, and it matches the one on Literature. Your IP matches the location in your profile.

No other Literature accounts have your IP.

    • The IP of the user you upvoted

Nowhere near where yours is. FWIW, that user is claiming to be a professional author.


  • Revisions to your profile

Your Literature profile recorded an edit to your 'about me' on March 3rd. It recorded a change - 'User switched profile image to gravatar identicon' on March 1st, the day you created the account. Also on March 1st, it logged a credential added. This credential gives a Page Not Found when you visit it.


  • Visits to the site

You've visited the site on 4 different days - March 1st, 7th, 9th, and 21st.


  • Login

Your email that's used to login seems authentic - not revealing that here. See above, though - another credential was added on March 1st.


If I forgot anything, or can look something else up, please tell me.

  • 2
    To be clear to anybody reading this: The "mysterious upvote" being referred to here ended up being a product of me being an idiot and wasting everybody's time (Mithrandir has been really generous looking into this, thank you), possibly caused by me not having slept last night. Whoops. Let's just... pretend that didn't happen. The sole issue is the profile mismatch: The generic avatar, username, and missing private info. – Jason C Mar 21 '17 at 14:55

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