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In answering this question about searching for users, I've noticed there's another Jon Skeet. The user hasn't done anything as far as I've seen, and hasn't duplicated by my gravatar, but it's a concern nonetheless.

Now this could be coincidence of course. There are certainly plenty of other Jon Skeets in real life... but should this be treated with suspicion?

This is the curse of allowing non-unique usernames, of course...

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How do we know this is the real Jon Skeet? –  Rob Allen Aug 19 '09 at 12:47
    
+1 for "doppelgangers." Tee-hee. –  Eric Aug 19 '09 at 12:48
    
He has a long way to go to reach you, Jon I. –  Ladybug Killer Aug 19 '09 at 12:50
    
@Eric: I won't do that. The Umlaute are missing. Jon, I spend you these: ä –  Ladybug Killer Aug 19 '09 at 12:51
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@John: fixed it. wow always wanted to edit one of Jon Skeet's posts... wonder what will happen now... a striking lightning? ;-) –  fretje Aug 19 '09 at 12:59
    
Does stackoverflow need a verify check like Twitter? –  David Basarab Aug 19 '09 at 13:02
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@John: I think Jon' (pronounce Jon Prime) would a more fitting moniker. –  devinb Aug 19 '09 at 13:02
    
@devinb: Didn't know that one. Thanks for telling me! –  Ladybug Killer Aug 19 '09 at 13:22
    
@fretje: Thanks! Installing lightning rod... –  Ladybug Killer Aug 19 '09 at 13:23

5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Absolutely 100% flag for a moderator, especially if the second account is trolling / spamming (which we have seen before with clones). This happens periodically, and they are destroyed quickly. Thanks for highlighting this; the false Jon Skeet is no more.

Having this question on meta is good, but I think the general approach should be moderator flags, as there isn't much debate necessary, nor much that anyone (other than the moderators) can do about it.

(caveat: yshuditelu's point about coincidence is well taken, but I don't think that is the case on this occasion)

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So how do you intend to treat "John Smith"? –  nb69307 Aug 19 '09 at 14:12
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In moderation: johnsmiths.co.uk –  Marc Gravell Aug 19 '09 at 15:24
    
I'd treat in moderation too - it's fairly crap beer. –  nb69307 Aug 19 '09 at 15:34
    
Samuel Smith, on the other hand... beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/113 –  Dennis Williamson Sep 8 '09 at 2:18

While your name has been (up to now) fairly unique, there are a lot of duplicate usernames in the rest of the population, which is by design.

I'd say just ignore it unless the dopplegänger proves to be an obvious nuisance or is deliberately trying to be deceitful. Then you could report it (flag or team@stackoverflow.com) and let the admins take appropriate action.

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Kill them with fire

But other than that, I would say an email to a moderator or team@stackoverflow.com would probably be the best option to sort things like that out. I suppose a mod could then contact the user in question, or maybe even change the username. I know moderators can view the history of accounts, so it is possible they could see if the account had a previous username and then switch it back to that.

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done ;-p –  Marc Gravell Aug 19 '09 at 12:54
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Marc disappeared him! –  Eric Aug 19 '09 at 12:57
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Fire? That really depends on what character class you're playing as. –  Bill the Lizard Aug 19 '09 at 13:40
    
@Eric I just finished reading that again. –  devinb Aug 19 '09 at 14:06

I think if you notice a user attempting to mimic yourself or someone else entirely, I would report it to the team (team@stackoverflow.com). Otherwise, if they just have the seem name, but seem to be doing anything to "capitalize" on your name, I would let it go. As you say, most of us have names that are shared by many throughout the world.

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For non-community-wiki questions and answers, you're the Jon Skeet with the ridiculous amount of rep under your username. I'm not sure what would be the best way to identify you in CW, and it is possible (but very unlikely) that a malicious Jon Skeet would make posts that would embarrass you.

Before we change things to address this, I'd like to see more evidence that it's an actual problem.

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It isn't the first time it has happened... often touting spam. –  Marc Gravell Aug 19 '09 at 14:10
    
And, speaking of a recent devil: stackoverflow.com/questions/960357/…. Guess who's back? –  John Saunders Aug 19 '09 at 16:17

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