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The title pretty much sums it up. I could find at least 8 questions and 3 profiles just today.

Is this abuse? Should I do something about it? What can I do about it?


It seems as if the moderator's hard work eventually paid off! He is now harassing Experts Exchange!

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Err which guy, exactly? – talonmies Jan 1 '12 at 16:29
Well... that's the thing... he keeps switching profiles. The jQuery grid guy. – Ayman Safadi Jan 1 '12 at 16:34
Who? When? Why? Every user account has a user ID; you could post at least that. – kiamlaluno Jan 1 '12 at 16:34
Those questions are awful and need immediate burnination. – Pëkka Jan 1 '12 at 16:40
We noticed this a couple of hours ago, we're working on it. – Tim Post Jan 1 '12 at 17:42
Anna just vaporized a few more attempts today. He'll get sick of it, eventually. There's twelve of us and one of him. – Tim Post Jan 2 '12 at 8:42
@Tim, that doesn't seem to bother him too much, though. Maybe some kind of harsher warning is in order? – Frédéric Hamidi Jan 2 '12 at 11:06
That does indeed look a lot like this guy's style & fiddles (which are pretty much identical to this other guy's) – Mat Jan 2 '12 at 12:36
I think it's cool to have a site with users and mods who are willing to take the time to keep it useful for everyone, especially with persistent annoyances like this. Just thought I'd say that :) – Andrew Barber Jan 2 '12 at 21:58
This one is claiming to be the bugger's classmate. Still got nuked (10k only). – Michael Petrotta Jan 3 '12 at 19:17
@MichaelPetrotta I find it unlikely that several different people in the same class are posting about the same problem using an identical post format and content that contains only minor variations that don't fundamentally change the question (and sometimes no variations at all). Not impossible, but certainly improbable. – Adam Lear Jan 3 '12 at 21:15
Thanks for the heads-up on this user. We'll keep an eye on him at EE and if he violates any of our policies we'll send him back to you :) – JCL1178 Jan 10 '12 at 8:07
Now that's what I call hyphenated justice! – Tim Post Jan 10 '12 at 12:21
This little bugger is persistent. Isn't this project due by now? – Adam Rackis Jan 11 '12 at 21:27
Merged two more accounts this morning. – Robert Harvey Jan 17 '12 at 19:23

4 Answers 4

up vote 85 down vote accepted


It turns out there wasn't just one bugger... there were a few buggers from a certain educational institution behind this madness, along with some honest classmates who were very willing to tell on them :)

We've dealt with the real issue now, so we won't be seeing these guys again for a while.

Stack Overflow - 1
Cheaters - 0

Yeah, it looks like someone doesn't appreciate suspensions as New Year's presents. He should be glad we're giving him anything after he ostensibly wound up on Santa's naughty list.

Is this abuse?

Of course. Creating new accounts to evade suspensions is an outright no-no on almost any online community, not just Stack Exchange.

Should I do something about it? What can I do about it?

Raise us a flag. Bitches Mods love flags.

In all seriousness: things like this should be brought to mod attention ASAP, even though there are probably enough of us to go around. The generous character limit you get for raising flags means if you can help us find substantial evidence and point us to it via links, as you have done here on meta, it makes things much easier for us, so don't feel like you're completely powerless when it comes to problem users.

Definitely feel free to close the reposted questions if they are blatant reposts or blatant crap (which most of them are). Just remember: there is only so much the community can do.

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+1 for "Bitches loves flags" – Emil Jan 8 '12 at 12:38
Oh man. Now you've made me so curious which educational institution that was. – Pëkka Feb 21 '12 at 12:14
(Was it the Bedlam School for Young Offenders?) – Pëkka Feb 21 '12 at 12:19
@Pekka: The what? – BoltClock's a Unicorn Feb 21 '12 at 12:26
@BoltClock'saUnicorn How come we get minus one and they only get minus zero?! – Grant Thomas Feb 21 '12 at 12:31
@Bolt en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethlem_Royal_Hospital – Pëkka Feb 21 '12 at 12:42
I know - it's the 2013 course of a University whose curriculum concentrates entirely on Spamming – Pëkka Mar 2 '12 at 19:24
@Pekka웃 University of Huddersfield – happy Mar 12 '13 at 21:43

This is obvious, and blatant abuse. It's being dealt with. This particular account does not care about the rules, our community or anything else that doesn't deliver a gift wrapped lump of code, despite accepting several answers.

So now it's a short lived game of Space Invaders, as the individual(s) keep creating new accounts. Not all twelve hands are present at the time of this writing (it is a holiday), but the hands that are present are really pissed. We'll make it stop.


This seems to have died down, at least for now (I wasn't greeted with even more upon checking the flag queue today).

Note, moderators do not have the ability to ban an IP address, that is a dev only ability. Additionally, IP bans are ugly. My ISP (for instance) routes a huge internal range (/20, sometimes /16) through a single public IP. Hence, a single ban would cut off quite a few people.

While adding them is at the sole discretion of Stack Exchange, I don't like them unless circumstances are extreme. While annoying, I don't think this particular case was really extreme.

Update II

There's been talk in comments about hellbanning, or basically putting a user obliviously into their own little bubble. In this case, the user was making a different account with a different OpenID each time. For any kind of ban to work, it would need to be done at the IP level. I really feel restrictions based on IP alone are ugly.

As long as the community remains extremely efficient at spotting and reporting this type of behavior, we don't have to do stuff like that or even uglier things like browser fingerprinting. To be clear, you did most of the work here by alerting us to more incidents within minutes of them being posted. Sure, it takes a few moments to run some checks and then ultimately launch missiles but I'm quite happy to do that if it avoids the alternatives.

This was a good demonstration of just how effective the site's immune system is. We've got lots of healthy white blood cells and a dozen antibodies on hand just in case.

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On the contrary, I'm actually enjoying this a fair bit, but maybe only because I'm a rookie. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jan 1 '12 at 18:01
@BoltClock'saUnicorn: Or maybe you just like Space Invaders. – Jeff Mercado Jan 1 '12 at 18:26
@Jeff Mercado: Who doesn't? – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jan 1 '12 at 18:35
Galaga > Space Invaders – Dave Newton Jan 2 '12 at 19:04
We regular users appreciate the time you mods spend dealing with nonsense like this. – Adam Rackis Jan 2 '12 at 22:07
I'm with @Bolt. I've found (and flagged) six of this guy's accounts so far. It's a fun way to pass time during builds. – Michael Petrotta Jan 2 '12 at 22:55
Just vaporized another one. I almost admire the persistence ... almost. – Tim Post Jan 3 '12 at 11:08
Soooo, why can't you guys just IP-ban him and be done with it? – John Jan 3 '12 at 18:53
I was wondering the same thing that @bob just asked. Does DHCP make it hard for your all to IP ban people? – Adam Rackis Jan 3 '12 at 20:07
@BobCratchit Moderators can't IP-ban people directly. It's a dev-only thing. We haven't ruled an IP ban out, but we're trying other approaches first. Once a ban is in place, we're not gonna lift it and if the questions are posted from a public place we may be locking out legitimate users as well. – Adam Lear Jan 3 '12 at 21:17
@AnnaLear Very good points. – John Jan 3 '12 at 21:21
@Anna and Tim, I remember reading a blog post from Jeff about silently banning users. Having it look like they were regular users doing their thing, but nothing they post is ever visible to anyone. Basically they're posting junk in their own little bubble. Was that ever implemented on SO? Seems like it would be perfect for this guy. – Adam Rackis Jan 4 '12 at 17:31
@Adam Rackis: "hellbanning", which I doubt has been implemented (yet). – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jan 4 '12 at 21:36
@Bolt - that's it! Thanks. Should definitely be implemented—Mods' time is too valuable to spend on silliness like this...though hopefully this guy is gone now? – Adam Rackis Jan 4 '12 at 21:38
@Adam Rackis: Can't say for sure yet. We're still monitoring. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jan 4 '12 at 21:43

I've seen this user before and have dealt with some of his accounts. As Tim and Boltclock said, we're working on these ones as well.

This is annoying and abusive, but nothing we can't put a stop to with a bit of work. :)

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Heh, when he gives up on SO and starts posting it here instead, does it mean we won? – Tim Post Jan 2 '12 at 8:45
So...he's posting the same question over and over and over? How odd. – Adam Rackis Jan 2 '12 at 22:10
@Adam Rackis: He's posting the same set of fiddles, but either repeating the same questions or asking questions that differ just tangentially. Basically he's getting us to put something together for him, piece by piece. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jan 2 '12 at 22:17

Search google for the jsfiddle

Hottest 'dom' Answers - Stack Overflow
stackoverflow.com/tags/dom/hot?filter=day I've updated your jsFiddle: http://jsfiddle.net/uXZcC/11/ function numberKeyUp(input) { // I added this to deal with empty values. ...

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incorrect number is displayed - WebDeveloper.com
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... above what needs to happen so that the number 4 is displayed except for the number 6? code is in jsfiddle click http://jsfiddle.net/uXZcC/21/ ... ultra media: SitePoint Forums ultraamedia.blogspot.com/2012/01/sitepoint-forums_2056.html 2 Jan 2012 – code is in jsfiddle click http://jsfiddle.net/uXZcC/21/ ... I have a slight situation in my jsfiddle which I believe can be explained easily ...

incorrect number is displayed | Flip Forum
flipforum.org/incorrect-number-is-displayed/ ... example above what needs to happen so that the number 4 is displayed except for the number 6? code is in jsfiddle click http://jsfiddle.net/uXZcC/21/ ...

Textbox is displaying NaN [closed] programmersgoodies.com/352379/textbox-is-displaying-nan-closed/ 31 Dec 2011 – I've updated your jsFiddle: http://jsfiddle.net/uXZcC/11/ function numberKeyUp(input) { // I added this to deal with empty values. ...

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Just as an aside: SE allows for searching URLs too, like: url:"http://jsfiddle.net/uXZcC*". That finds one more to delete ;-) – Arjan Jan 11 '12 at 21:32
My point was the number of other sites the same fiddle occurred – mplungjan Jan 11 '12 at 21:34
This is beyond crazy. He's harassing the whole Internet. – Pëkka Jan 11 '12 at 22:16
lol @Pekka Harassing the whole internet! All the time/effort he's spending, seems like he could learn some of it himself. – Andrew Barber Jan 11 '12 at 23:17
@Pekka You've got to be mildly impressed, though. We may be witnessing the birth of a whole new spamming technique. – JCL1178 Mar 2 '12 at 19:21
@JCL yeah. Crowdsourcing at its finest (see the update to the accepted answer). – Pëkka Mar 2 '12 at 19:23

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