This is another take to the problem that a new user asks a question without registering and loses the cookie. In the discussion I linked to, I wanted to prevent this situation from happening, but I became unsure that it was at all possible to prevent it. Therefore, I would like to know what should be done when this happens.

To take a concrete example, I realized that in this question, the asker replied to a comment by posting an answer, which is a typical symptom of multiple accounts. I quickly verified that although the asker and the user who replied had the same user name and the same icon, they were different accounts.

What should I do in a case like this?

  • Flag it for a moderator attention by myself explaining the situation.
  • Ask the user to do this.
  • Ask the user to open a thread on meta.
  • Something else.

Also, should I ask the user to register?


  • I cannot verify that the two accounts really belong to the same person.
  • It seems that only moderators can merge two accounts.

1 Answer 1


I've been poking around on meta.SO and it's fairly common for a user to request a merge, after which point a moderator deals with the problem.

I'd much rather have the user request a merge, rather than a third party, just so that everything is on the up and up. You can encourage the user to request a merge by flagging their post for moderator attention with a note explaining the problem. Or they can open a thread on meta, which might be easier because they'd have more real estate to explain the situation.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks. I added an FAQ entry whose link is intended to be given to a new user having the multiple-account problem. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 10:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Tsuyoshi: We could make a meta thread "Request username merges here" which explains the process and the benefits of merging. Then you just have to link users to that thread instead of explaining things. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Robin: Thanks for the comment. I had created the FAQ entry exactly for that purpose. I would like to just give a link to it as a comment and be done. I do not mind whether it is flagging or meta thread, as long as the method is convenient for moderators. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 14:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Tsuyoshi: I see. I hadn't seen that. I guess we can let the moderators decide whether they prefer a common thread or flagging. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ I realized that a user needs 15 rep points to flag a post and 5 rep points to post on meta. This means that if a user needs some rep points before doing either of them. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 2:39
  • $\begingroup$ Recent example. (But I cannot guarantee that this is not a fraud.) $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 2:42

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