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What should we do with users who create many accounts?

This guy is probably not the only one that creates a new account for about every question he asks.

Edit: After the apparent merge if his accounts in July, he has now 16 accounts, of which 8 accounts have the same email-hash.

People are starting to get annoyed by this particular one (some get more annoyed than others, as his second problem is that he is sending his questions by email too).

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3  
We could always track them down and give them paper cuts on their nipples. –  aaronasterling Nov 15 '10 at 0:32
1  
What if they like that... –  Jeroen Wiert Pluimers Nov 15 '10 at 7:38
    
possible duplicate of What's the SO policy about having multiple user accounts? –  Andreas Bonini Nov 15 '10 at 7:43

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

This topic has come up before:

The conclusion was that although the practice is discouraged, it's OK as long as the accounts aren't sock puppets. There's definitely no chance of that in this case; none of the 16 accounts has cast a vote on anything. (Although if you're creating sock puppets, it would be dumb to give them all the same account name.)

I've decided to ignore this user. Allowing his or her behavior to bother me simply isn't worth any more of my time. When I read a question and it doesn't make any sense, I notice it's from Lexdean, and rather than engage by editing the question or posting a comment requesting clarification, I just close the tab and move on to something else.

I wish there was some way I could add this user to an "ignore" list the same way I can with certain tags.

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4  
+1 for the "ignore list" wish; did you submit that as a feature request? –  Jeroen Wiert Pluimers Nov 15 '10 at 6:48

EDIT: I moved the checking to something more important, like EmailHashes(!)

EmailHash - NumOccurrences
5698d4707354e0b9e4ba6f22a0be84d8 - 77
a432ac3e33b49f53223cf795d31577e8 - 69
04b942ca7001ac7179aa14bb3d590878 - 68
415a1da470f0a73906b6833dbf773cad - 61
bede3927cdd54a89c3fddd047af0aef1 - 55
c1fa7618ad66b58dffd2b3bf71d2ae8a - 51
be21766f09e0e5fd3a2f8cc721ceba2e - 46
5d83b94b455417fe0cf6a03226172146 - 42
ce49626bea8d1e4949e87cacce662153 - 41
34640dc7d06dae9841470272b121a452 - 38
06451734c4c13fb69981df88dad76e64 - 37
0ea032f0661d091ab4d53e7d214f4d68 - 37
e91cef26ff569af3fa04027d1b5c8a01 - 37
10f59ffb03e3d661037b1312c0d0fb2c - 36
a6bb875992f2bea471b788611d3afc40 - 35
5810bda19603579e6586799528789d8b - 34
1fb5f7dc722758d9a8e38d36debb7218 - 32
196db543a462291fe5497917ebda5736 - 31
edf0be6f27738ee7344f767f8e066274 - 31
f24da0fb92ce004520e876355912f910 - 31
dc0171026bdae4950c91b2c147cd41ba - 30
297f83e02470bf8b797470b126141087 - 30
980b3fc8b51bfc7e8fc01576ea240481 - 30
0e5be616468b4bd5e535cc75a38da179 - 29
cf2e79eb6971da96eb26b3fc5c9514cd - 29
bdc17f5a771a988a9b454d4cafd3780a - 28
7e31c1742a331606a330ba3ac3c043c9 - 28
1d53be99f50b32d9f28cd586610aac31 - 27
c85afe296810ecd9127a58247e739996 - 27
a69ae3e7d0277ee982fcd653e5e76a3e - 26
1708a313f4edf8349b14964a9259c302 - 26
1c1079a7b3e0185c015f1c7d5e5e6bc4 - 25
7545330f5d2295050d036ed33bd6382f - 25
ec4338bd089a8f6446ef2bfa4a5f9a70 - 25
a04a3471c81481d9f108d66280d7effc - 24
17a11a6d92477ef0e8e9a2e0359bacc6 - 24
710834fe2cdec6362c9636b1b230ceaa - 23
7c97003be330bb45cd015ef2754e9d00 - 23
437e858d9d128ed9e67d50cbb9b0ff24 - 22
c6dacdcf88a313c0f09e3b535d687b04 - 22
fcd5c17e9016adf856259b6273331168 - 21
fdb62ecb445536e1a8e981f4f4332c42 - 21
3f009d72559f51e7e454b16e5d0687a1 - 21
4b57d3cae7e0033819c3ed85d1b1c865 - 21
4eab895c56ce28ced600ee72162ee0ba - 20
2ac71aa212ba7b8be169266cad29ff65 - 20
edc0d7137b55fafed121a336eea571c7 - 20
f650a086561b4ec5539449bfabc386bb - 20
c838724626bd528f2a8df4ff3d7c5a78 - 20
bec51d7b9c255206b62173a0e58cebb8 - 19
b7cf765a1e1158388b6de8cc86cc2075 - 19
f8e6d4455b3057e6bae305534d80f68a - 19
32d18237527880c030f59f79e6b59ee7 - 19
41715cd2391d035e7a6a3fa8fe52e326 - 19
879628a231815611d2275bdc5c982788 - 19
58d76b633d7adabcfb62a702f9623518 - 19
47e915d7110c0a6a9f403350bd024de5 - 18
b7436e88c1eb190f4ce173e544f0982a - 18
a8d4f0e50c32679eb7a9d08196c71917 - 18
df22200e12d539174dcff9334697460b - 18
e048a299c7ddc828e89f1b5fb166a2a6 - 18
ea0cc83b36088dd5b4bdac127b5068f2 - 17
d802d8212ed5139e303a577f04f49ac3 - 17
d7e1cc08494d0d72d5c73f0ecf919f58 - 17
bf3e5d1d64e8efc3eab5bda20fec71b7 - 17
f3ada405ce890b6f8204094deb12d8a8 - 17
0bbd01f43ab82cf4366f23c5445e8c20 - 17
0011078d69f2a472d19077d4324fd0fe - 17
5789d05781cd58a8954ac23941af7a4b - 17
6dffd179717cacdde5bd8c9b78d014f7 - 17
65ab5ce0caf15fb04b6a2cce7a55ce5b - 17
6c0b5bef9ad73ee989791278d595dfa9 - 17
820d0e4ee14e986a44d33782ca852f51 - 16
84f0e32d74c7077c56fae7775e0eb509 - 16
22f3d395338b76850eea9bfd6e7c9be0 - 16
412f7a08e1f7952c2da13f1d862e31c2 - 16
f4b3a202f86bce6b3598f6c9143ac908 - 16
bbba7362d4bd9b00b302b5bc90c4e4d5 - 16
c71bb148768b62da18f287c8d14ff2fe - 16
dfc3b2964efc6f152b4fcef98c94a4a9 - 16

Either this is the most shocking example of hash collisions, or these are all duplicate accounts using the same email


It seems duplicate accounts are quite common

DisplayName - NumOccurrence
Chris - 1019
John - 1007
Mike - 1003
Alex - 893
david - 867
Matt - 662
Mark - 642
Tom - 637
Dave - 620
James - 603
paul - 583
Michael - 581
Dan - 558
steve - 528
Daniel - 504
Andrew - 498
Jason - 489
Sam - 480
Ben - 479
tim - 464
Peter - 423
Brian - 415
joe - 413
Nick - 411
Eric - 398
Adam - 387
Martin - 375
Jeff - 365
Jim - 365
Andy - 362
Rob - 359
Ryan - 357
Kevin - 356
Josh - 333
Jon - 290
Thomas - 287
Jack - 287
Bob - 282
Simon - 279
Scott - 274
Greg - 274
Jay - 273
Robert - 261
Richard - 248
Max - 234
Aaron - 227
Justin - 224
Phil - 223
Patrick - 222
Sean - 219
Tony - 216
Anonymous - 204
Frank - 197
anon - 190
Jonathan - 190
Amit - 189
Ken - 189
Bill - 180
George - 176
Ian - 172
Rahul - 171
Will - 169
Jeremy - 168
Pete - 168
Raj - 163
Marc - 163
Rick - 160
Alan - 159
Matthew - 152
Nathan - 149
Craig - 146
Steven - 146
erik - 145
Anthony - 141
brad - 137
Stefan - 137
Ali - 135
Christian - 135
Luke - 131
Kyle - 131
Jacob - 130
Ron - 128
Rich - 126
Doug - 126
Marco - 123
jake - 123
Joel - 121
Stephen - 121
Lee - 118
Victor - 118
Brandon - 117
Adrian - 113
jan - 113
sebastian - 112
ivan - 112
ravi - 110
Vijay - 110
Carlos  - 107
Andreas - 107
Jamie - 107
Alexander - 107

Almost all of those are common first names, which I think this person might be a part of

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As a side note, any particular reason why in the query there are 55428 users without a user name? –  TheLQ Nov 15 '10 at 0:49
8  
It's not that useful to search for duplicate user names, as you have shown -- one should also search for duplicate profile data, which would result in duplicate gravatar images and indicates a truly duplicate account. –  Ether Nov 15 '10 at 0:49
    
Users without a username are displayed as user*******, where the asterisks are their ID number. Since many users are post-once, leave-forever users, they usually don't choose usernames (since it isn't required). –  waiwai933 Nov 15 '10 at 0:59
4  
@Ether What about email hashes? Updated my post –  TheLQ Nov 15 '10 at 1:01
    
exactly! And I'm really surprised to see so many collisions at this level! Definitely something for the moderators to investigate IMHO. –  Ether Nov 16 '10 at 17:29

Based on the user's activity, I would say that he isn't intentionally creating duplicate accounts, but he's either forgetting that he has existing accounts or how to login to them. For those new to OpenID, it can be confusing.

The best course of action is to have a diamond moderator to take a look and merge the accounts. By simply posting on Meta (as you did here), someone will probably get around to this. The other option is to flag one of the user's posts and indicate that they have multiple accounts. Diamond mods can also see email addresses, so if the user provided one, the mod can explain how to stay with one account.

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1  
As of right now, the user in question has 16 accounts, and there's some indication that the person's accounts have been merged once before. I'm tempted to conclude that he or she is intentionally being a jerk by opening new accounts for every question or answer, but then I'm reminded of Hanlon's razor. –  Rob Kennedy Nov 15 '10 at 4:56
    
I have the impression this particular user is extremely lazy. Combined with his quite strong opinions, and lack of knowledge, he is on my mental ignore-list now. –  Jeroen Wiert Pluimers Nov 15 '10 at 7:37

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