TL;DR - Please change the behavior so that once a user signs up, the questions posted from a guest account with the same e-mail will be linked to the signed up user.

Long version:

After posting 2 questions as guest, I signed up. The experience I had after signing up was is extremely frustrating.

I asked a question. As a result, I got a mail suggesting that I will sign up. I signed up. The questions I asked using the same e-mail address as guest were not linked with my account, and are still considered posted by the guest user. Because the signed up account is a new account, I have no reputation, so I can't comment on other users' questions. This means that once I signed up, I was no longer able to participate in the discussion about the questions I asked.

In order to give this feedback, I need 5 reputation, which I initially didn't have,. This is frustrating mostly because the "feedback" link in the mail I got directed me here. While the mail gives the impression I can provide feedback, in practice I couldn't.

In addition, until I cleared the browser cookies, the account was in flux. I couldn't properly operate as the guest, because the e-mail address belonged to another user. I found no way to switch to the signed up account (I tried to complete signing in, several times, ending up exactly where I started), so I couldn't operate as the signed up account as well.

Fortunately enough, I got some comments on my question and ended up editing it twice. Due to this, I now have enough reputation to post here about the user experience I had.

The overall experience is that once you sign up, you have less capabilities than a guest. A user should not lose capabilities when signing up.

Please change the behavior so that once a user signs up, the questions posted from a guest account with the same e-mail will be linked to the signed up user.


(my intention is not to aimlessly complain, but to give actionable feedback on the user experience; I apologize if this ended up sounding like a long rant)

  • $\begingroup$ You should be able to merge the accounts following the instructions on the help centre page. Automatic merging of accounts when they use the same email address is not an option, since others could use that email address too, and merging accounts of different people is somewhat ugly. $\endgroup$ Jan 24 '16 at 12:06
  • $\begingroup$ But from what I see, indeed the situation for users who first use an unregistered account and later register seems less than optimal. Of course there's selection bias, I never get knowledge of those who manage to not create a second account when registering, and hence have no problems. Thus I have no idea how frequent an unproblematic registration is relatively, I only see those who end up with two (or more) accounts, and all I can do is point them to the help centre. $\endgroup$ Jan 24 '16 at 12:18
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Perhaps automatically merge the accounts only if the user followed the sign up link in the mail. This may be a good indication that the user's intent is to continue the same account as a signed up one. $\endgroup$
    – Gil
    Jan 24 '16 at 12:30
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that sounds reasonable. I have no idea how these things work and whether there are reasons not to do it, or whether it's already intended to work that way and you've hit a bug, though. Unfortunately it's weekend, so the chances of quickly getting the attention of somebody who knows the code are slim. $\endgroup$ Jan 24 '16 at 12:33
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ If the request Let's require registration to ask a question was fulfulled, we wouldn't have this problem. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Jan 24 '16 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Norm: Maybe it's time for "Let's require that the let's require registration to ask a question thread will be fulfilled already" thread. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Jan 24 '16 at 20:18

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