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There's a user, anirudha, who has a rather checkered history of creating alternate accounts, whether for sock-puppeting or skirting suspensions. He's now created a new account, anirudha gupta. As always, the account looks to be very clearly his, down to the same avatar, same website, etc.

In this case, however, he hasn't really done anything wrong yet on the surface, that I can see--there's no sock-puppetry that seems to be going on between the pair, and this time, it wasn't to skirt a suspension. It mostly looks like the account was created to escape a very negative history with the previous account.

When, exactly, is it appropriate to report multiple accounts? Should a person with a history of multiple account abuse be reported simply for having multiple accounts, or is there some further requirement of a new bad act that should occur first?

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I knew I answered this one before and here it is: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/24737/… - It's fine, you have a look at him, but why do you post it twice? –  Ladybug Killer Oct 21 '09 at 11:38
    
@John: I do mention that post above. That one was me asking about reporting in the specific instance of a suspended user--and the answers tended either towards notes on suspension, or on sock puppetry. In this instance, there's no clear sign of either--and I'm asking because it does seem to be a different sort of question. I had thought about editting the previous post, but it seemed odd to do so, as it'd be turning it into, effectively, a brand new question, and invalidating most of the answers. –  Brisbe42 Oct 21 '09 at 12:07
    
Epilogue: In the end, one question had him asking it with one account, and responding openly with the other account. That question was reported, and the accounts have been merged. –  Brisbe42 Oct 26 '09 at 11:57

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I think we should give people the benefit of doubt and assume that their intentions are honourable.

As you say it looks like anirudha is looking to start afresh with a clean sheet. Perhaps he's learnt the lessons of his previous incarnations and is reformed. So perhaps keep an eye out for sock-puppetry but otherwise do nothing.

If he does transgress then report the problem in the normal manner.

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I'm missing sarcasm tags. Sock puppets are not tolerated except for testing purposes by the team! –  Ladybug Killer Oct 21 '09 at 11:40
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I'm not sure I get your point. If there's no evidence of sock-puppetry then we have to assume it's not a sock puppet account and that the user has turned over a new leaf. As soon as there is evidence of sock-puppetry, either through the automatic checks or someone spotting something then the account should be suspended (or even deleted). –  ChrisF Oct 21 '09 at 11:50
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There exist multiple accounts of the same user. That is sock puppetry. He does not need to upvote himself. The possibility to do it is sufficient. –  Ladybug Killer Oct 21 '09 at 11:54
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@John: That's the entire point of this post--I'm not sure what the generally agreed idea on sock-puppetry and the like is. There are other people, ranging from moderators, to people who have started over with new accounts, etc, that have had legitimate, or at least, have not had bad intentions for creating multiple accounts. I'm not sure where the line is. –  Brisbe42 Oct 21 '09 at 12:09
    
@Brisbe42: Now I understand that this is a different question than the other one. Thanks! –  Ladybug Killer Oct 21 '09 at 12:11

Freeze him with liquid nitrogen! - Just kidding...

Multiple accounts are sock puppets. There is no need to prove that he upvoted himself. Report it to the mods, so they can care about it.

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If it's possible for the moderators to merge two accounts, then hopefully the sock-puppetry would be nullified automatically -- merging the accounts would render all cross voting between those accounts as invalid and remove them. –  Ether Oct 22 '09 at 20:26
    
I hope so, Ether. And they can merge accounts. –  Ladybug Killer Oct 22 '09 at 21:37

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