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Combining Post Authors in WordPress

It was the case of the clones. There are two Lorelles using my main WordPress blog! Oh, no!

Hmm, how to explain this? While alpha testing a new WordPress Plugin, it worked on some posts, but not others. After a lot of research and checking, we discovered that the author ID was different on the posts with the problem. The Plugin was author ID dependent, so it would only work on posts with the matching author ID.

Wait a minute! This is my blog and I’m the only author. Why should there be two IDs?

Sure enough, I checked the Users > Authors and Users panel and found that there are two Lorelle VanFossens blogging on my blog. How did that happen?

Example of more than one of the same blog author in WordPressThe painful part is that at the time, Lorelle number 1 had 547 posts attributed to her, and Lorelle number 2 had 349 posts attributed to her. Lorelle number 2 had to be merged with Lorelle number 1, so there is only one author on that blog, not two Lorelles.

It seems that during a complicated import, two Lorelles were created on my blog as legitimate authors. One of them had to go. Which one and how is the challenge.

Are you still with me? Which me?

Combining Post Authors

There will be times when you run across more than one you on your blog claiming to be the author of your blog, or times when you need to remove an author from your blog, for whatever reason. Here are your options:

  • You can leave all those posts attributed to the author on your blog. By taking away user access, the author will no longer have access to editing those posts, but the posts will still carry their name.
  • You can delete all the posts, along with the author access. Bye-bye content.
  • You can reassign all the posts to someone (or something) else.

In my case, I want to delete Lorelle number 2 and assign her posts to Lorelle number 1, since I will only allow one Lorelle on my blog.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to do this:

  1. Back up your WordPress database.
  2. On the Users > Authors and Users panel, click the checkbox next to the author you want to change.
  3. Scroll down and choose Delete checked users.
  4. Check everything to make sure you made the right choices, then click Update.
  5. On the next page, check the ID and name to make sure this is the author you wish to delete.
  6. Under “What should be done with posts and links…”, select Attribute all posts and links to: and set it for the new author. In my case, it’s “admin”, the real Lorelle.
  7. Check again to make sure everything is right (there is no turning back now!), then click Confirm Deletion.
  8. Check the number of posts for the attributed user and the numbers should add up right.

They do and I’m happy, and now the WordPress Plugin works like a charm.

I hope you don’t find clones of yourself on your own blog, but if you do, you now know how to fix it.

And this has me wondering. What do you call two Lorelles? Lorelli? Lorellia? Lorellies? 😀

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network, and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.


  1. Posted September 12, 2007 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    I have a question. If I want to delete a previous guest blogger’s ID, what happen to her posts? On the meta section of my blog posts, the name of the author appears. What happens to that “author name” if I removed the guest blogger?

  2. Posted September 12, 2007 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    I think that two of you would be called Lorellii, or possibly schizophrenic.

  3. Posted September 12, 2007 at 7:03 am | Permalink


    I spent 17 years as a scientific programmer. Before that I studied Fortran at Iowa State University, using mark-sense versions of punch cards (use #2 pencil to blacken ‘punches’ on an IBM card with 40 columns rather than 80 – they were short of keypunch machines).

    You mentioned something that scares me spitless, ‘back up your database’.

    How do I know if I got a good, useful backup, and is there a way to practice *restoring* the database? Several times in the last 37 years I have encountered a backup that wasn’t complete, or was done in such a way that restoring didn’t work. How do I know if I *can* restore a given backup, or restore a backup for a given database?


    Brad K.
    Ponca City, OK

  4. Posted September 12, 2007 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    pelf: The posts will not go away, however, as I’m mentioned before, your legal problems might arrive when you remove author credit. If you want the posts to go away, delete them first, and then remove the author. I believe if you delete the author, the posts revert to the admin. I’d look that up in the Codex to be sure.

    Brad: Well, let’s see, I’ve done this…hmm…many times and haven’t had a problem. For information on backing up, see Backing Up Your Database and for restoring, see Restoring Your Database From Backup from WordPress Codex, the online manual for WordPress users.

  5. Posted September 12, 2007 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    The newest versions of WordPress also have a feature built in that allows you to import and export the WordPress database. It doesn’t use the same methods as described above, however it’s a lot easier to use.

    While I personally prefer an SQL dump of the database, the Import/Export method is safe to consider as a “backup”, IMO.

  6. Posted September 12, 2007 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Otto: Did backup get put back into the latest version or only the import/export functions are there?

  7. Posted September 12, 2007 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    If you delete an ID then the posts will delete as well unless you tell them otherwise. Believe me, you want to pay attention to No. 7 and make sure that you do No. 6. If you don’t, bye bye posts. There is a great post over at the Search Engine Optimization Journal on what to do if you lose your posts.

    It’s a big pain in the butt if you delete a user and all the posts along with it. Best solution: Back up your blog on a regular basis.

  8. Posted September 12, 2007 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Not true. I just tested it.

    Deleting an author only removes their access to the blog’s WordPress Administration Panels. It does not impact posts.

    To remove an author and their posts, you can delete the posts from the Manage Posts Panel and delete the author from the Users Panel. You have to do both to remove both.

    You can also delete posts without removing the author. The author will still have access to the Administration Panels.

    If you remove the author and you want the author’s name removed from the byline, you will have to go in and edit the post. I recommend that you do not remove the author’s name if you want to leave the post there. It’s their work. If you leave it published publicly on your blog, they still get the credit. In this case, it is better to delete the posts rather than change the name.

    Also, I was very curious about the article from Nick’s Search Engine Optimization Journal but could not find it and the link was malformed. Can you try again. That would be helpful. Thank you.

  9. Posted September 12, 2007 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    This is a great lesson. I have had the very same issue when importing posts. As always your word press tips are great.

  10. Posted September 17, 2007 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the help, I’ve been needing to take care of this for quite some time.

  11. Posted January 25, 2009 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Мой сайт вчера добавили Яндекс Каталог.
    Это здорово, я вот сел и специально пару десятков страниц его пролистал.
    Пурга редкая, у меня даже вопросы возникли не по знакомству ли туда добавляют. Нет, я знаю о том, что за денежу можно оперативно добавиться. Но ведь не платят же общество любителей волнистых попугайчиков. Я не шучу, оно там правда есть. Жесть. Вообщем для себя принял решение все свои проекты попробывать в Яка добавить.
    Вам тоже рекомендую, сайт хороший, я уже видел где-то что Вам об этом говорили в комментариях.

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  1. […] Combining Post Authors in WordPress: I found myself with two Lorelle’s on one of my blogs after importing blog posts. This is the technique you use to fix the cloned authors on your WordPress blog. […]

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