I have two accounts, one is my main account and another one for the sally questions because I don't like these kind of questions to be exist in my main account.

Yesterday, I've found that Stack Overflow merged the second account with my main account by adding all the questions, the answers and the reputation as well but without asking or notifying me.

Actually I would prefer asking me before a step like this and if they had asked me I would have rejected and close the second account.

Why that happened ? and Is there a rollback option?

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    Well, did you ask SO if you were allowed to maintain two separate accounts? Regardless of any rules that might be in place, I simply can't imagine this being seen in a good light by anyone. – Grant Thomas May 3 '11 at 13:27
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    @Mr. Disappointment: Actually no, but I haven't known that it's not allowed and I haven't thought of that as a problem. – user152128 May 3 '11 at 13:29
  • Rollback to a dual account state isn't easy, but the moderators can anonymize questions, FYI. – waiwai933 May 3 '11 at 13:50
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    @waiwai933 We anonymize questions... by deleting the corresponding user. I don't really think that's a desireable outcome. – Grace Note May 3 '11 at 14:01
  • @Grace Note: Sorry, I didn't understand your statement. Is it possible to anonymize the merged questions? – user152128 May 3 '11 at 14:12
  • Merging of users (like the merging of question) is a one way operation so it won't be possible to roll it back. Equally the moderator would have triple checked to make sure that they were sure it was the right thing to do. – ChrisF May 3 '11 at 14:13
  • @Homam I imagine it's possible for a dev to directly do it, but it'd probably pose the same difficulty level, if not close to it, as reversing a user merge. Which is to say it isn't all that likely to happen. Outside of dev involvement, the only way to have a user dissociated from a question is to delete the author of the question. Which, seeing as the accounts got merged, I'm certain you're not fond of that manner of outcome. – Grace Note May 3 '11 at 14:14

Actually, while it may be socially disdained by some, having 2 accounts is fine as long as they generally do not interact.

Moderators typically merge accounts spontaneously when there is interaction between them. The abusive example is if one account votes for the other. The non-abusive example would be if one account provides a response to the other account in a fashion that indicates that he is intending to be the same person (which often happens with unregistered users who lose their cookie, for example). We go through a fair amount of research before any such merge is performed, as merging is not reversible except with extremely bothersome database manipulation.

As such, I imagine that you got your accounts merged behind your back because you were performing some form of interaction between them.

  • Really is this true? What about accounts that surpass question limits? I don't think it's something that should be allowed. If I could have all my questions under a different account also I would, it would make me look like a super user (perhaps even giving an unfair advantage on careers), and it also means you have no accountability on what you ask. Perhaps with accountability the OP wouldn't have asked so many 'silly questions'? – Tom May 4 '11 at 8:43
  • @Tom Apart from the point where I was pretty sure that there was no auto-merging until Jeff mentioned it, it's true. As for question limits, those generally have anti-evasion measures like functioning on an IP level. – Grace Note May 4 '11 at 11:27
  • Thanks grace, don't you think someone who asks questions in a separate account would have an unfair advantage in careers as they would be favoured by potential employers who see them as 'better' users? – Tom May 4 '11 at 11:32
  • @Tom It probably provides an advantage. I couldn't tell you whether it was significant or not. – Grace Note May 4 '11 at 11:35

99.9% of the time when users have duplicate accounts, it is accidentally.

Thus we have a lot of code that aggressively tries to identify duplicate accounts and merge them automatically.

Otherwise I'd do nothing all day long but respond to "I have a duplicate account, please help!" emails.


Normally having two accounts on Stack Overflow is 'against the rules'. By rules, I mean community convention. There's even a Data Exchange query to see who has duplicate accounts.

See Grace Note's answer for an in depth look as to the nuances involved with having more than one account.

  • Wow, those queries give some nice insight! 130 accounts, no less. At first I figured that must be some "no@spam.not" email address, but then many of the display names are actually the same... – Arjan Dec 28 '11 at 14:23

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