Limit adding more than 1 duplicate profile and limiting duplicates overall
Member services has seen a significant increase in the overall number of duplicates in the past 6-12 months. This has meant there have been a significant increase in login troubles for members, an increase in login-related inquiries. Member services has also been unable to keep up with the constantly growing number of duplicate accounts. Since December 2020, we have seen approximately 3000 duplicate pairs emerge - that's approximately 1000 pairs or 500 duplicated accounts per month.
We believe there are a few things that could be done to reduce the number of duplicates overall.
1. Prevent/block folks from adding more than one duplicate account per day
2. Prevent/block folks from adding more than one duplicate account ever, not including checkout as guest/donate as guest
3. For 'checkout as guest' and 'donate as guest', we might want to add a warning message about a potential duplicate, asking folks to login then complete their transaction
Screenshots attached for the following: I have also noticed that when not logged into the website, if I go to create another account for myself using the same first name, last name, email, and username, it only warns me that the username is already in use, rather than indicating there may be a duplicate account. I also received a popup that said, 'The Mountaineers says 'there has been an error' - but it didn't indicate anything in the popup about there being a potential duplicate, and the popup can be dismissed. It seems to me that there needs to be a direct warning indicating a duplicate account rather than just indicating the username is taken - otherwise someone will just use a different username and create another duplicate. But if I misunderstand something or if there is a feature that I didn't get to trigger, I may be wrong about the duplicate protections on the 'join' page.
Jeff is right that we shouldn't completely block folks from creating a new account, however right now it seems like there are very few barriers to doing so and very few prompts that a person is even creating a duplicate. A more robust design that makes it harder for folks to make a duplicate account would mean a minimum of approximately 20 hours less work potentially every 3 months (minimum of .75 minutes per merge, 1500 merges = 18.75 hours of work per 3 months). Please let me know if you have any more questions!
Kristina Ciari Tursi commented
As of 11/17/21, our duplicate list now has 6,209 duplicate instances. When we checked in August, it was close to 4,000. We are dedicating at least one staff hour per day to trying to reduce the list, which continues to grow exponentially.
If you assume one staff hour is $20, then we're currently dedicating a minimum of $100/week and $400/month to "managing" the duplicates list, however it continues to grow. If you were to account for other clean up work as a result of the duplicates problem you could easily double the estimate. It would not be ridiculous to estimate that managing duplicates costs us nearly $1,000 a month.