The sweet sound of silence: account merging


June 11, 2013 by admin

I think everyone has a project where something is nagging them. There's something you know you need to do but either you aren't looking forward to it or you're busy with other priorities so you put it off. Eventually though, you wind up taking care of it and it's as though a weight has been lifted off your shoulders! The sweet sound of silence, be it mental or verbal, when you are no longer distracted by the nag is a wonderful moment.

About two weeks ago we pushed out two "relatively minor" updates to our member merger. When people forget they have an account on or they can no longer access the email address they used, they often create a second (or third, or fourth...) account. For accuracy, we usually want to reduce this down to a single active account per member so we offer an account combining tool. This worked well for merging a single duplicate membership but it didn't know how to merge members that had multiple overlapping club memberships. This wasn't a problem early on but over time it became more and more common resulting in more accounts that could not be merged.

Operationally it's not such a big deal as you can flag one of those accounts as inactive and for all intents and purposes simply ignore it. But... it nagged me. I knew it should work. It could work. But it's a messy process that I wasn't looking forward to revisiting.

When we released our major update a couple of months ago, I was given the opportunity (or forced, depending on your point of view) to review and update the code to handle our newest features. When I was finished, I had a piece of code I was really excited about (yes, we engineer types do get excited about such things). We copy ourselves on notification emails when accounts are joined together and we also receive reports when merges fail to complete. We used to get a lot of those failure emails. You can imagine the sweet inner peace I have found now that the merge tool successfully merges all but a single indeterminate scenario (when both accounts are registered for the same event).

Organizers once again have full and complete control and I have a little more focus for the next project on my list.

Topics: Features

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