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My purpose in asking this question is only to clean up the mess created by users.

For the last 2-3 days I have been answering questions on SO, and found that the questions asked by most users are new. But from their questions and other things it looks that they are not new to the community.

There must be a lot of duplicate accounts created by users to ask only one question. I want to know how to know if a user has duplicate accounts. Generally, it looks that users change their email hosting account website but don't change their user name. For instance abc@gmail.com, abc@yahoo.com, abc@rediffmail.com.

DisplayName - NumOccurrence
===========================
Chris - 1019
John - 1007
Mike - 1003
Alex - 893
david - 867
Matt - 662
Mark - 642
Tom - 637

If accounts are found to belong to the same user, does the community/moderator have the rights to merge accounts?

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You don't think there are 1019 people named Chris out of the millions of register users, and that they must be duplicates? Those are probably 8 of the most common Western (at least American) names. Very likely are different people. Do you have any evidence that says they are tyhe same users other than the display name? –  psubsee2003 Mar 1 '13 at 15:17
    
its only the basic idea for detection only not to offend any thing –  Vineet1982 Mar 1 '13 at 15:20
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You forgot to lower-case your query... there are actually 2,884 Chris' –  ben is uǝq backwards Mar 1 '13 at 15:20
    
Is there even an official policy against having multiple accounts, as long as they're not colluding? –  cHao Mar 1 '13 at 15:21
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Wasn't offend despite the fact that my given name is first on your hit list :)... but if you want to hunt for duplicate users, display name that is mostly like a given name is a very bad choice. –  psubsee2003 Mar 1 '13 at 15:21
    
@cHao can't find the link right now, but generally speaking, they are permitted as long as they aren't used to votw for themselves or double vote other users, or any other shady voting/bounty habits. –  psubsee2003 Mar 1 '13 at 15:23
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@psubsee2003: Yeah, i was searching after i asked, and found What's the SO policy about having multiple user accounts? –  cHao Mar 1 '13 at 15:25
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Alright, you caught me. Yes, I have 1003 SE accounts. Can I get those merged? This is the real account. –  mikeTheLiar Mar 1 '13 at 15:27
    
You got me. Everyone else with the word "Sam" in their username is actually my sockpuppet –  Sam I am Mar 1 '13 at 15:28
    
You mean 7,239 @mike? –  ben is uǝq backwards Mar 1 '13 at 15:29
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On that topic, would this happen to be an account of yours: stackoverflow.com/users/848953/vineet1982 ? –  Brad Larson Mar 1 '13 at 15:29
    
I also tried the things want to stop this in favour of community –  Vineet1982 Mar 1 '13 at 15:30
1  
Hey! I'm not a duplicate! I can't help it if I'm popular. :P –  Mike Mar 1 '13 at 15:32
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Among those 1019 Chris's there are 518,671 pairs of Chris's. How many of those do you think are duplicates that happened to use the same name? How would focusing in on those half a million pairs help you detect anything? –  David Robinson Mar 1 '13 at 15:39
    
@Ben yes, those too. –  mikeTheLiar Mar 1 '13 at 15:40

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

There are queries (or write your own) to look at this data. This one seems to yield the data you are seeking. It is based on email hash.

However, the first names you listed are extremely common and would be a poor (worthless) measure of duplication.

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1  
Absolutely none of those names are "US" names. They may be common in the US but most are either originally Hebrew or Anglo-Saxon... –  ben is uǝq backwards Mar 1 '13 at 15:22
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@benisuǝqbackwards - I didn't mean that they were "US" names (there's rarely such a thing)...I was merely qualifying that I could attest to their commonplace nature in the US and in some parts of the world (though I can't speak for other parts of the world). Regardless, I left your edit to avoid confusion. –  Tim Medora Mar 1 '13 at 15:24
    
The comment probably came out wrong @Tim. I debated whether I should post it. Your post had "are extremely common (some US, some globally) ". This ignores the rest of the English speaking countries in the world, population 86-121m (Canada) and then the countries/languages those names originated in. I maybe reacted hastily but it can get frustrating sometimes when the everything but the US is largely ignored (this comment hasn't necessarily come out the way I wanted either; it's difficult to say it and I don't mean offense). –  ben is uǝq backwards Mar 1 '13 at 15:40
    
No offense taken; it's amusing because I was trying to avoid making a US-biased statement in the first place (and obviously failed). I originally phrased it as "are extremely common globally" but I modified it since US residents often arrogantly think that "because it is true in the US, it must be true everywhere". In other words, my statement was a nod to the fact that parts of my assertion might only be true in the US. Anyway, always good to be reminded of what a global community the internet is. –  Tim Medora Mar 1 '13 at 15:48

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