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I woke up this morning to find that my username had been changed (looks like to my google account username) and I lost all my tags. How did this happen? I have always been logging in with my facebook account. Furthermore, I woke up to find that my inbox was filled with 48 messages saying things like

"You have earned this badge for"....

Also, it seems that I am an entirely new user. I was user #5783 and now I am #38158. Can someone explain what's happening please?

Thanks.

I have changed my username back to what it was before I went to bed last night.

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    $\begingroup$ Bizarre! $\colon)$ $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Aug 18 '12 at 22:11
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Amazingly I have now a new ID..... $\endgroup$ – user38268 Aug 20 '12 at 6:43
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UPDATE: To keep things interesting, I brought this up to the SE gods. After a period of time, we learned something: There are trusted openID sources, like facebook and gmail, that easily associate with your MSE user credentials. You can have different MSE accounts with different associations. But if you have two different accounts, and they have the same email address, there is an automerge functionality, so that the multiple users may be automatically merged into each other.

Something to this effect happened here.

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    $\begingroup$ Hum. How much verification do they do of those email addresses, I wonder? I wouldn't want people to be able to auto-hijack my account simply by creating another one and claiming my email address as their own. $\endgroup$ – Henning Makholm Aug 20 '12 at 11:56
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know where to report this, so I'm doing it here. Ben's meta users don't seem to be affected by this magic merging. Here's the old one: meta.math.stackexchange.com/users/5783/benjalim $\endgroup$ – t.b. Aug 20 '12 at 14:22
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    $\begingroup$ @Henning: That's a very good point. So I tested it by attempting to create the user mixedmathHijacker with the same email as my account. When I added a gmail account, gmail asked me to verify by clicking on the email (as we so often see). So it seems to me that one can't hijack your account without first hijacking your email. $\endgroup$ – davidlowryduda Aug 20 '12 at 16:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Henning: that's the point of only accepting these from providers we trust - as long as Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Stack Exchange's own OpenID are validating emails properly, we can be sure you're the person your provider says you are. Similarly, we ignore any emails coming from Joe's House of Shady OpenIDs. $\endgroup$ – Shog9 Aug 20 '12 at 19:22
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    $\begingroup$ BTW: this is the correct answer. Maintaining two separate accounts on the same site is possible, but not well supported - if you happen to log into both with the same (or equivalent, as described above) credentials, they'll be automatically merged. $\endgroup$ – Shog9 Aug 20 '12 at 19:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Shog9: Can one opt out of trusting Facebook? Years ago I created an account there with a low-security password that I don't remember anymore -- and don't really care about -- but didn't expect to be useful for breaking into my stuff everywhere else on the web ... $\endgroup$ – Henning Makholm Aug 20 '12 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Henning: if your email is still associated with it, you can recover access to the account and either update the password or delete the account (or better yet, both). You should probably do this for reasons beyond just protecting access to your SE account. $\endgroup$ – Shog9 Aug 20 '12 at 19:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Henning, you can also remove the Facebook OpenID from your MSE profile and that should solve your problem. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Aug 21 '12 at 21:40
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One of the SE moderators appears to have merged your account with Jarod Alpersomebody else's. I'm not sure why.

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  • $\begingroup$ Jarod Alper does not have a math.se page but a mathoverflow page. Is this due to the fact that MO and Math.SE are merging or something? $\endgroup$ – user38268 Aug 18 '12 at 22:16
  • $\begingroup$ A check reveals that my mathoverflow page (here)[mathoverflow.net/users/21278/benjalim] has not been merged with his. $\endgroup$ – user38268 Aug 18 '12 at 22:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Ben: he doesn't have a math.SE page because your accounts have been merged (your page is both of your pages!). math.SE is (currently) completely separate from MO; accounts on one have nothing to do with accounts on the other. $\endgroup$ – Qiaochu Yuan Aug 18 '12 at 22:45
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    $\begingroup$ It might have to do with the fact that Ben's profile links to Jarod's home page (already the old one did, and so does the MO profile). $\endgroup$ – t.b. Aug 18 '12 at 22:58
  • $\begingroup$ @t.b.: Oh. I was not aware of this. (That's very confusing.) In that case, I have no idea who Ben has been merged with. $\endgroup$ – Qiaochu Yuan Aug 18 '12 at 23:04
  • $\begingroup$ @QiaochuYuan I think I know who I have been merged with. In the usual case I have always been logging in with my facebook account. However one day I accidentally clicked on the google logo when logging in and a new account was created. The name of that account was the same as the one that I saw this morning when I woke up. Perhaps it was merged with that one. $\endgroup$ – user38268 Aug 19 '12 at 5:11
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    $\begingroup$ @BenjaLim This will not help with your Kafkaesque situation, but I think the link to Jarod's page could be placed with his name: as in "Matrix Lie groups and representation theory - Jarod Alper". Chances are, fewer people will be confused by the link then. $\endgroup$ – user31373 Aug 20 '12 at 2:15
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    $\begingroup$ @LVK Besides I think it is quite obvious from my Math.SE front page that I am not Jarod Alper. I linked to his page because he is my lecturer, I am not trying to impersonate anyone. $\endgroup$ – user38268 Aug 20 '12 at 5:51
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    $\begingroup$ @BenjaLim: I don't think that is obvious at all. The natural interpretation of a "website" link in a user profile, without further qualification, is that the link will take you to the user's personal website. I don't think you should be using that field to link to a personal website that is not yours. $\endgroup$ – Henning Makholm Aug 20 '12 at 11:53
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    $\begingroup$ We don't use the website for validating or merging accounts. Since that information is publicly visible, it would be trivial to steal access to someone else's account if we did! $\endgroup$ – Shog9 Aug 20 '12 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ @BenjaLim of course you're not trying to impersonate, and your about me section points out you're 2nd year undergraduate, but please remember that the website entry (along with location & age) is located under the "bio" section of the profile. $\endgroup$ – user2468 Aug 21 '12 at 3:53

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