I was not a registered user on Stack Overflow, when I posted my first answer on this website. This website suggested I become a registered user. It also created a pseudo-account page (user id 226454), and started recognizing me by a special cookie. I switched to another browser, and completed the registration. In the registration form, I provided the same e-mail address, which I provided when posting an answer in the previous browser. A new user account was created (user id 228365).


The website created another separated account (which is not based on my pseudo-account, which already had 1 answered question). So, my answer is not counted in my new account.

Expected behaviour:

I wish Stack Overflow would recognize me by my e-mail address (not by an unreliable cookie), and attach all my old answers to the newly created account.

I'm not sure if it is wise to scan all your database entries of unregistered users posts, and build a newly created account on top of a pseudo-account if the e-mail address matches, but it would be nice. I think an e-mail address is a better identifier than a temporary cookie.

Please fix this bug to avoid this trouble for future users.

Also, could you, please, merge my answer to my newly created account? Or tell me, what I have to do to solve this problem?

  • You should have registered with the same browser. ( Your first account was a real account btw. ) Commented Dec 10, 2009 at 20:25

3 Answers 3


Email [email protected] with the urls to the two account pages (if known) and the email used and they will merge them.

The reason the merge is not done automatically is partly due to some users being perfectly happy with the browser cookie and never touching OpenID. If you get their email, you could steal their account (ie, register it) and cause a bit of trouble for the moderators and owner of the real account.

  • How can I "get their email"? :) I'm registering with my own uniqie e-mail address, and if it was used earlier on this site, then it was ME! :) Thank you for your reply, i will write a request to StackOverflow Team. This is a solution.
    – SLA80
    Commented Dec 10, 2009 at 20:10
  • I can get your email by knowing you, or if you post it somewhere, or have a business card, or if it's hacked using the Gravatar (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/33120/…) Commented Dec 18, 2009 at 15:06

Email is not required, we don't even have an email address for most of our users.

  • IMHO, this is wrong :) You could collect all email addresses by showing an information-bar, asking users to provide a valid email address (if they haven't provided it yet).
    – SLA80
    Commented Dec 10, 2009 at 21:18
  • 2
    @SLA80: Did you just tell jeff he was wrong? Don't worry, it is only Mr. Atwood himself. haha
    – Troggy
    Commented Dec 10, 2009 at 21:23
  • LOL, I just told one of the Gods of Internet that he was wrong :) OMG, I'm talking with Gods, I should take my medicine :)))
    – SLA80
    Commented Dec 10, 2009 at 21:30
  • Account will be deleted in 3, 2, 1...
    – alex
    Commented Dec 18, 2009 at 8:54

This reminds me of this feature request on StackExchange. For those users that have supplied a valid email address on an account but somehow lost the controlling cookie, the system will send out a verification email with a link to a URL that will restore the cookie. It's less overhead than OpenID and it has the advantage of cutting down on the manual intervention required in restoring access to these accounts. Of course, not everyone supplies their actual email (or supplies an email at all) and for those users you'd still need the manual process.

  • You definitely have to improve Stack Overflow engine. It should pay more attention to user e-mails. E-mail is old technology, but it is still the most popular ID to identify users. Also, e-mail identification is extremely reliable.
    – SLA80
    Commented Dec 10, 2009 at 21:10

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