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I asked a question on one of the SE sites using the Post as a guest feature. I was really happy that SE allowed me to ask the question without a complicated sign-up process.

After posting the question, the SE system kindly sent me an email with the following subject: Thanks for your post on ... Stack Exchange

Recently, you asked a question on The Workplace Stack Exchange, but you haven't verified your email address yet.

Click on the following link to verify your email and set a password so that you can log in.

Set Your Password [Link]

Because people were asking for clarification in the comment section of my question, I changed my mind and decided to sign up for a real account, using the link provided in the email, so that I could answer people's questions. Or so I thought.

I was really perplexed when I realized that I had just created a new account, that was different from my guest account. I chose the same user name (which has no effect, it seems), but the only way I found to respond to people's questions was to edit the question of the guest account and hope that someone would approve my edit. I couldn't post any comments due to lack of reputation.

The email address I used for opening the new account through clicking the link is obviously the same I used for the guest post. Why aren't the accounts linked automatically? Am I overlooking something important here?

A similar question was asked here: How can I merge a guest post with a new account? However, I'm wondering why this doesn't happen automatically if I confirm my email address.

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It used to work this way, but there are security issues involved when merging an account that was not verified into one that is verified. There are a variety of use cases that do not involved the standard route of ask as an unregistered user and then deciding to register later. In fact, plenty of users go the opposite, posting as a guest on another site while already having a network account registered, and then deciding they would like to continue posting there in the future.

The major thing to remember is anyone can type in any email address when posting as a guest. It's unregistered because we haven't verified the identity of that person. Merging the profile into a registered account potentially gives any user who still has access to a cookie tying them to that unregistered account full access to the registered account it just got merged into. So, we don't ever automatically merge them together.

If you no longer have the cookie tying you to an unregistered account, we can no longer verify you as the creator of the unregistered account versus someone else, and need to do that extra step of the user saying "yes, this was me, and I want them merged." If you did have that cookie, the system would see that and think you verified the email and just change the account to registered (no merge involved).

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