I just got an email about my inbox in a sock account. This notified me about a comment on one of the questions I asked using that account. This email contains a link like the following

See all of your inbox items: https://stackexchange.com/users/[user id]?tab=inbox 

The actual link goes through some tracking stuff, so I can't be sure this is the real URL. But what surprised me was that clicking on that link asked me to create an account on Meta Stack Exchange.

I've never been even close to meta with that sock, and that sock certainly is not interested in it, it only asks questions on SO and related technical sites. And I think for a real user this behaviour would be also very confusing, and entirely unnecessary. That link, once I'm logged in actually redirects to the network profile inbox tab. That one should not need a meta account to display.

I mean I know exactly what it means to create an MSE account, but I imagine a normal user would be seriously confused at that moment. That programming website I asked a question on tells me there is something in my inbox, but when I click on this I need to create a new account on another weird website. That's not a good experience, and it doesn't serve any purpose to trigger creation of a meta account at this point, so I assume this has to be a bug.

I'd also suggest to maybe put a bit of effort into the Network profile if you actually want to use it in emails you sent to people to remind them that someone replied to something they posted. That's the kind of interaction your marketing people probably tell you is very important, and the nicest word I'd say about the network profile right now is maybe "functional".

In short, emails that tell users that someone replied to them or commented on their post should not contain links that trigger creation of SE accounts on sites they don't participate on and probably don't even know exist.



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