This post is to call to attention a new tool available for all users that facilitates merging of duplicated/fragmented accounts. Quite often on the site we see users who, for one reason or another, ended up with multiple accounts. One of the main side effects of that is the users would be prevented from commenting on answers to their questions, from responding to comments to their posts (either via more comments or edits). This in general detracts from the experience on the website as a whole.

Previously, we have requested users to flag for moderator attention when encountering a case of such fragmented accounts.

Now, while we still ask you to flag for moderator attention if there are "comments-as-answers" that needs to be handled, the actual merging of duplicate accounts can be handled by the users themselves (if they have log-in access to all the accounts in question). To streamline to process, if you see a case where an account has fragmented, please be so kind as to point the user in question to this help page. The page can also be accessed by going to the contact us link that is present at the bottom of every page on Math.SE, and is the link merge user profiles under the section account management.

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Can we still flag if the user is non responsive? Or whatever reason makes it seem reasonable? –  Asaf Karagila Feb 5 '13 at 12:35
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@AsafKaragila: Can we still flag if....it seem[s] reasonable? Yes. –  Eric Naslund Feb 5 '13 at 16:58
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@AsafKaragila Flagging won't do much in the near future, as moderators won't be able to merge users anymore. –  Mad Scientist Feb 6 '13 at 6:52
    
@Mad Scientist: out of curiosity (as removing this priviledge from moderators appears to offer little advantage), is this to better document/backtrace for everyone infamous cases such as WM and his ZFC campaign? I can see how having to make merging decisions can't be nice, but removing the ability to surprises me a bit. –  gnometorule Feb 6 '13 at 13:32
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@gnometorule The SE team retains the ability to merge users. The problem with merging is that you can expose private data to an unrelated user if a merge goes wrong. In case of sock puppets, moderators are supposed to delete them now instead of merging, to avoid this problem. And for accidentally created accounts, there is a standardized process at math.stackexchange.com/help/user-merge . –  Mad Scientist Feb 6 '13 at 13:40
    
@MadScientist: So what happens if I do see a user account which needs to be merged into another, and the original user has seemingly moved on, or split into a third account and doesn't see a comment asking him to request a merge? –  Asaf Karagila Feb 6 '13 at 14:53
    
@AsafKaragila If the user himself doesn't care, there is no need to merge the accounts (unless they are used to circumvent any rules). –  Mad Scientist Feb 6 '13 at 14:58
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@Mad: Does posting comments and follow up questions as answers counts as such circumvention? I do see a problem with an unregistered user splitting, not caring, and answering because they cannot comment on other answers. –  Asaf Karagila Feb 6 '13 at 14:59
    
@AsafKaragila can i merge my unregistered and registered accounts ? –  jim Feb 8 '13 at 12:45
    
@jim: As announced above: you will need to visit this help page. And you will need to find links to the user pages of those accounts. –  Willie Wong Feb 8 '13 at 12:46
    
@WillieWong sir this is not working my previous account was this math.stackexchange.com/users/43775/jim –  jim Feb 8 '13 at 13:01
    
@jim: what do you mean it is not working? Since your other account is unregistered, I assume you have no access to it right now? Did you follow the instructions on what to do if you've lost access to your account? –  Willie Wong Feb 8 '13 at 14:17
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I can confirm that this tool does not work, but possibly for different reasons than jim's. I tried to merge my account with this one. When I try to add the openid-login from one account to the other account I'm led to a screen like this under /users/authenticate/, which only allows me to switch the user (I edited the html-source of the page before taking a screenshot in order to avoid revealing my openid-login name and in order to make the screen less confusing since both accounts are called Martin). –  Martin Feb 9 '13 at 14:05
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What would happen if someone had a banned account, then they created another account, obtained positive reputation, then merged the accounts? –  SSumner Feb 11 '13 at 15:51
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@SSumner honestly, I don't know. As indicated by the title of this post, the tool is new, so I don't know too much more about it than you do. Perhaps later an SE employee with access to the code will drop by to answer your (and others') questions. –  Willie Wong Feb 13 '13 at 13:37
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