NationBuilder pulls people's information from a lot of different places, and while we try very hard limit the number of duplicates that will appear in your database, it will occur from time to time. Sometimes the information people provide in a signup form doesn't exactly match up with their Facebook account, or they log in to your website with Twitter for the first time and then someone on your staff manually enters their data from an event sign-in. It happens.
Luckily, NationBuilder makes it easy to merge duplicates.
Once a day, NationBuilder will automatically group all the profiles that appear to be duplicates and allow you to click through on the potential matches to easily accept or reject a merger. You can merge a person for whom you've imported two different email addresses from two different sources and who also follows you on Twitter, for example. You can start reviewing potential dupes by going to People > More > Dedupe.
When you're looking at an individual signup record in the control panel, you can click on the "Merge duplicates" tab to see any potential matches ("automated suggestions") in your nation.
Manual merges are possible too. The first thing you want to do is decide which control panel profile is the one you want to be merged into the other. One way to decide is to see which one has less information on it. Another way to decide is which profile has existed in your database for longer. Once you've decided on a "master" profile for this person, go into that profile and look at the person's NationBuilder ID number at the very end of the url. Example:
Copy that number, and then go to the person's "lesser" profile (aka the duplicate) and enter it into the field under Manual merge.
Paste the NationBuilder ID of the "master" profile into this field and click Merge records. It may take a few moments, but NationBuilder will merge the profiles and their activity histories.
When reviewing suggested duplicates, you also have the option to skip records. Skipped records will be placed back into the random pool of suggested duplicates.
Additional technical notes
Duplicates are suggested in these scenarios:
- Multiple signup records have the same name and one has an email account and the other doesn't
- Records have the same names and one doesn't have a voter ID and others do
- Records with the same names and multiples have an email address (NationBuilder will merge up to four emails for a single signup record)
- Records with the same names and one has a Facebook account and the other doesn't
- Records with the same names and one has a Twitter account and the other doesn’t
- Records with the same names and one has a Facebook account and one has a Twitter account.
NationBuilder will attempt to suggest all possible duplicates for a record.
In the deduping menu, suggestions are shown randomly - skipping a potential duplicate will put that profile back into rotation. (Leaving a record and resuming the dedupe list does not show the person you were on last - deduping resumes on a random record.)
NationBuilder does not support multiple Twitter or Facebook accounts for a single person - if you choose to merge them, a "resolve conflict" drop-down menu will appear and the account(s) not selected will be deleted from your nation. If you want to retain multiple Twitter or multiple Facebook accounts and associated activities for the same person, you should reject the merge.
If there is a discrepancy between names on suggested merges (this may occur when merging a record with an email address and a Twitter record), you can pick the correct name in the "resolve conflict" menu. This menu is only available when a conflict exists on a signup record.
Attempting a merge that would result in more than four email addresses will result in an error - you can remove unwanted email addresses by using right click or command+click (Mac) to open and edit a profile in another tab, then refresh the suggested duplicates page and complete your merge. This method is also helpful for examining a profile more closely for match insights.
Merges are represented as activities in the control panel dashboard activity view and can be filtered by selecting "Signup merges."
Profiles that have been merged into others will show an error message if you visit their URL (a road to nowhere). If you get stuck on an error page, simple return to YOURSITE.com/admin/signups/dedupe to resume deduping from your nation's list of suggested duplicates.
If you delete a suggested duplicate (by opening and editing), you'll again need to return to YOURSITE.com/admin/signups/dedupe to resume deduping.
Clicking "skip" on one record in a list of suggested duplicates for the same person will skip all remaining unmerged records for that person.
Merging a record with an opted-out email address with a Twitter follower record will result in a prospect (whereas Twitter followers are by default supporters). Merging a Twitter follower with a non-supporter who is not an email opt-out will result in a merged supporter record.
When profiles are merged, additional new activities may be created in the signup's profile dashboard.
Voter files: If multiple people in your voter file have the same name as a Twitter follower, you may get several bad suggested matches - to resolve, simple use the "none of these is the same person" button. If you get a social media match to multiple voters, selecting the correct voter will resolve the suggestion and the other voters will be automatically rejected as duplicates.
Greg McFarlane commented 2013-11-28 00:23:09 -0800I have just lost access to my nation because of a merge. I merged two records of myself and then immediately lost access, now getting the error “You can’t access that page. Please email your point person if this needs to be fixed” when I try to login. My nation now has no admins!
Courtney Munson commented 2013-11-27 09:59:14 -0800Why does NationBuilder not prompt you to make a decision when merging two accounts with addresses? I just lost an address for a contact during a merge.
Or, as I saw someone else post, why can’t NationBuilder show you the records side by side and allow you to chose which address to keep (this goes along with my question below about the lesser/master profiles)?
Courtney Munson commented 2013-11-27 00:48:05 -0800Last comment/question: there are other duplicates in our system that I keep running into (that have existed for weeks, at least) that I can’t figure out why the system isn’t catching. If two records have exactly the same name, shouldn’t the dedupe feature catch them?
Courtney Munson commented 2013-11-27 00:30:11 -0800Also, why is information in the “lesser” profile overriding information in the “master” profile? In a record I just manually merged, the Employer for the lesser record (the one whose number I entered into the merge box in the other record) overrode what was in the master record in that same field. What gives? I need to be confident of how this works so I don’t lose important data!
Courtney Munson commented 2013-11-26 23:44:40 -0800An import I did over 24 hours ago has still not been deduped. Why? Going through the list there are people that the system should be catching (records with exactly the same name).
David Collison tagged this with Helpful 2013-11-05 13:16:04 -0800