I have seen Stack Exchange cross-site signup: login with Stack Exchange doesn't work and noted that it is marked as "completed", but that doesn’t square with the experience I just had.

Just today I tried to log in to Area 51. I had never used it before. Clicking "Login" redirected me to Meta and then back to Area 51, where I only got an unhelpful message 'User not found'. I thought maybe there was a cross-site privacy/cookie issue at the root, because I was clearly logged in at e.g. meta.stackexchange.com.

Only out of a failure to see any other way to proceed did I try clicking 'sign up' (intending to do whatever I need to in order to sign up), which instantly created my Area 51 account with my SE credentials.

Now if it’s that easy, why don’t I have a one-click, well-explained option to do that when I try to 'log in'?

And why is the previously linked Meta question marked as 'completed' when clearly it’s not, in this case?

Update now that I understand why Area 51 is special here: The UX could be massively improved simply by adding content to the existing error message. Something like, “If you already have a Stack Exchange account but have not used Area 51 before, just click ‘ Sign up.’” Since no logic needs to change, that would be a very low-risk way of addressing this.

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    Area51 uses an old version of the StackExchange software and it is indeed confusing, but probably won't be updated. The rest of the sites should work properly.
    – Esther
    Jun 15, 2022 at 18:54
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    A51 uses a fork of a very old version of SE... It needs work but its one of those things that's been on the backburner for ages and is the consistancy of old tar. Have you had issues elsewhere? Jun 15, 2022 at 18:54
  • It’s not a problem i face often, so I can't speak to the flow on other SE sites. Maybe this is specific to A51. Are there other SE sites that use old forks?
    – Alan H.
    Jun 15, 2022 at 18:55
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    The question you linked to was 'status-completed' when the login system was still Global auth but Universal login changed some major bits and overtime the seamless single-sign-on deteriorated due to increased security concerns in browsers on one end and the better-not-to-be-touched codebase of Area 51
    – rene
    Jun 15, 2022 at 19:35
  • Edited my question to propose a low-risk, low-effort fix
    – Alan H.
    Jun 15, 2022 at 21:49


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