I recently noticed a new feature, the network profile link, just under the flag weight in my user profile page. It probably seemed like a good idea but I really don't like it. Here's why:

I am very committed to StackOverflow, use my real name for the account, take a professional approach to it and hope to use it as something of a portfolio-light at some point in the future.

Every now and then I venture onto other Stack Exchange sites but I do so with mostly different names for different SE sites. I have posted some questions and answers that I would rather not have connected back to my Stack Overflow account. They've been silly or controversial and have nothing to do with software engineering. I would rather a potential employer not see these posts or even see links to other sites I may be a member of. There are sites where mere membership can be offensive to people. For example: Atheism, Christianity, Skepticism, etc. I really do not want these sites and accounts to be linked back to something that I do take seriously such as SO.

It is also a matter of privacy. I see the network profile and accounts links as something akin to using a particular browser and finding out that the browser is publishing your history for all the world to see. Some might be OK with that but not me. There are SE sites I find interesting and want to participate in from time to time but only anonymously. Had I known that all of my SE accounts would at some point be tied and published together I would have never signed up for many of them.

I would very much like to see a check box when editing my profiles that specifies whether or not my SE accounts should be displayed.

Thank you for your consideration.

  1. The SE profile is not the only way to see associated accounts—you can just go to the accounts tab of any user to see those. So you probably want all your associations cleared.

  2. The official method if you want to be able to login and create new accounts and such—use unique OpenIDs and emails for each SE account.

  • Thank you! I guess I'll have to use two different email addresses to keep things nice and separate. – Paul Sasik Apr 5 '11 at 4:09
  • Just to clarify point #1: The Accounts tab has always been there, showing users' accounts and reputation on other sites. The new link to the SE profile just puts it a bit more front-and-center. – Brant Apr 5 '11 at 4:13
  • @Brant: Thanks, I see that now. Obviously my SE/SO focus is pretty narrow. :-) – Paul Sasik Apr 5 '11 at 4:22
  • Btw, I edited my OP to include the Accounts tab/link as well. – Paul Sasik Apr 5 '11 at 4:27

If you wish to post anonymously -- why not post anonymously?

There are no restrictions on anonymous users in terms of asking and answering questions; anonymous users can even accrue reputation and privileges, and accept answers to their questions. (what they can't ever do, though, is vote.)

You can also recover your anonymous account cookie through the login page "forgot my account" page, provided you give us a valid email address (we don't validate it).

Anyway, I'm really tempted to do the typical geek thing here and tell you ...

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