A long time ago I've expressed my concern about the multiple accounts policy of M.SE. Once again this has been proven a wide open door for the suspended users (or for those posting low quality questions and who want to hide their identity).

The most striking case I've recently seen concerns a user who was suspended for 1 year (until 24 September), and who made a socket puppet in March (this year) which had been active until few days ago. The mods/admins of M.SE needed three months to notice this!

Once again I'm asking the M.SE mods/admins to stop this multiple accounts policy.

Edit. My question is not about whether it's allowed or not to have multiple accounts. I'm simply concerned about this, and asked the admins of M.SE to stop it.

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    $\begingroup$ But as far as your request goes: how would we prevent users from creating multiple accounts? $\endgroup$ – user642796 Jun 10 '15 at 14:56
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    $\begingroup$ @ArthurFischer I think the admins of M.SE could prevent this. (They should have the right tools in order to prevent such things.) I'm not a specialist in security networks to answer this question, but other maths sites are doing this with some success. Anyway, it's just a proposal. $\endgroup$ – user26857 Jun 10 '15 at 14:58
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    $\begingroup$ The policy is not that of MSE, but rather that of StackExchange. The mods don't have control over the creation of accounts. If we notice a misuse of the system, we can confer with the community managers about removing the account. However, since people can have multiple email addresses and networks can share external IP addresses, it would be very hard to implement a policy that prevents multiple accounts. Thus, SE allows multiple accounts and the community keeps an eye out for people who try to abuse the system. $\endgroup$ – robjohn Jun 10 '15 at 15:21
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, the admins probably could do things that would make it much more difficult to create multiple accounts. I wouldn't be surprised if most (if not all) of these methods would result in a drastic loss of anonymity that many users (including yourself) enjoy on this site. That a few bad apples wouldn't be able to misbehave as easily is, IMHO, not enough to make such a drastic change. $\endgroup$ – user642796 Jun 10 '15 at 15:28
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    $\begingroup$ @ArthurFischer Well, I don't think we have much anonymity now, especially on a US based site like this one. (ed ajf) $\endgroup$ – user26857 Jun 10 '15 at 15:35
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    $\begingroup$ @user26857: it is actually very difficult to prevent this sort of thing, in an environment where users can use arbitrary email addresses to register, or where they do not need to register at all. It is not hard at all to acquire a new email address (e.g. from Google) and a new IP address (e.g. from a VPN). The people on Wikipedia have wasted enormous amounts of time on problematic editors who were determined to work around similar suspensions there. The better solution, in my opinion, is to simply take direct and firm action when suspension avoidance is detected. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert Jun 10 '15 at 15:48
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    $\begingroup$ Even if you don't have anonymity from government organisations with budgets of US$billions, it appears that you do want anonymity from at least other users and SE itself. And you are certainly not alone in this. And that's fine. Most actions that I can think of that might help prevent the creation of multiple accounts would tie your account to personally identifying information that would be accessible to at least SE devs/CMs, and likely site moderators, too. It's that loss of anonymity that I speak of. $\endgroup$ – user642796 Jun 10 '15 at 19:56
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    $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – user642796 Jun 10 '15 at 21:49
  • $\begingroup$ It seems that the suspension on the user in question has been extended to November 23, 2015. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert Jul 20 '15 at 0:25

The reason for a ban is mainly to stop a problematic behavior. If somebody returns and the behavior is so different (and non-problematic) that nobody even notices I think it is almost a non-issue.

In the present case, the behavior of the account became problematic pretty quickly. That it was a ban-evasion was just "icing on the cake" but not the only or even main problem in my mind. It accelerated the process but in my opinion that account was on its way to getting into some trouble, regardless the ban-evasion.

  • $\begingroup$ If you check the comments (present or deleted) under the two questions I've answered him can see that he has done similar things as before: treating the answerer(s) like idiots, posting rude comments under the answers, etc. And this happened since the first days of the new account activity. $\endgroup$ – user26857 Jun 10 '15 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ I cannot see deleted comments. But, we agree anyway that the user showed problematic behavior. $\endgroup$ – quid Jun 10 '15 at 15:56
  • $\begingroup$ @quid Can anyone besides mods see deleted comments? $\endgroup$ – Surb Jun 10 '15 at 18:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Surb for all I know, no; in any case not by-design. There used to be a bug/loop-hole that allowed it for 10k+ users in a non-standard way but this got closed. $\endgroup$ – quid Jun 10 '15 at 18:56

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