I have a whole bunch of people I would love to follow or at least check out on Stack Overflow. I know them from places like Github as well as personal friends. However I am having a really hard time finding them even though I know e.g. their Gmail address and that they use OpenID via Gmail to login and their full name.

How come this is so painful? Note that I don't want to have to fuzz around with the data explorer just to find a friend of mine on Stack Overflow. What am I missing? Is it just not there or just not working properly?

  • The best strategy I have found so far is to use Google with the site filter. Google something like this: John Doe site:stackoverflow.com Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 19:36

2 Answers 2


Well, if they happened to use the name you know them by as their account name on SO, you can do as Matt suggests and just search for that.

And... if you have their email addresses, then just... email them and ask. I'm sure if they want you "following" them, they'll be happy to share their SO accounts.

As for why SO itself doesn't make this easy, it's a matter of privacy. SO is not a social network, and so there's no expectation that the personal details you enter when filling out your bio will be exposed to The World At Large. Rather the opposite, in fact.

  • 2
    Hm... thats seems to be the case. I just find that weird. github e.g. is not a social network either but it is much easier in that respect. Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 18:31
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    @Manfred: I'm not familiar with this aspect of github, but if you can search for users based on email it might be simply because there is a whole project/team-management aspect to the site where such a thing could be useful.
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 18:34
  • True, I just thought as a community support site stackoverflow should have strong tooling around bringing community members together, but evidently I am missing something. Also emailing friends for their profile url feel wrong to me.. I just received such and email and thought wow.. he could not find me even though I do turn up in the search. I guess its also a usability problem. Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 18:38
  • @Manfred: the point is that SO is not a social site, and should remain that way.
    – Matt Ball
    Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 18:38
  • I disagree, but I am also fine with that decision, whoever made it. Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 18:40
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    @Manfred: the rationale behind it is simple... We don't really want to encourage folks to show up with all their friends and start up-voting each other. The site provides ways to "follow" people you're interested in, but there's no "network" aspect because that might lead to folks feeling pressured to vote up their "friends" regardless of the actual quality of their posts. FWIW, I have brothers on SO, and don't even know their user IDs - if I vote for something they've posted, it's because I think the content is actually worth it.
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 18:45
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    That makes really good sense actually. I might have to revise my opinion ;-) Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 18:55
  • If i give some one user:9108471 number which is a kind of user id then is there any search box on SO through which other can find me on SO?. While others can use that id in url like https://stackoverflow.com/users/9108471/ to find my SO profile. Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 16:55
  • Actually our whole class has to submit there SO accounts to our teacher so it will be odd to give a list of links of SO profiles to the teacher. Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 16:56
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    Yep, @ZeeshanAhmadKhalil: stackoverflow.com/search?q=user%3A9108471
    – Shog9
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 22:55

The important thing to know is their display name on the SE site of interest. Go to the Users page and type in the search box.

StackOverFlow Users Page

  • 1
    I am aware of that but imho that does not work well enough by far. E.g. there should be a search that takes more than that into account. For example if you look for Mark Murphy you will only find him if you know that he is commonsware, even though his page clearly shows that his name is Mark Murphy. I guess this a bit of a feature request. Commented Mar 11, 2011 at 18:35
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    @ManfredMoser but look at MДΓΓ БДLL's beautiful art work, I mean look at those arrows. Wolf whistle. + 1 Commented Mar 7, 2012 at 0:39
  • @MattBall what is that 2314 and all the other stuff against each user Like for Jon Skeet its 2314 for Erik its 2166 what is it
    – Viren
    Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 12:38
  • @Viren reputation change in the selected time period, which is "week" in the screenshot.
    – Matt Ball
    Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 14:24

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