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I'd like to see a feature supporting multiple accounts. By all means, feel free to make this low priority.

Motivation

As discussed at Using multiple accounts (ethically), there are occasions where it's legitimate to have multiple IDs, to avoid attaching a real name to discussions on client security or project management issues.

It seems that there's quite a few technical obstacles to overcome to avoid merging, which could be bad - e.g. if I'm discussing a security flaw related to a client project, having all my posts from my pseudonym end up attached to my real name would be very bad.

Implementation

V1: As long as the link between accounts is only visible to a very restricted group, I'd be happy with explicitly linking (it means any abuse for self-voting is easy to detect, and that self-voting on unlinked accounts could be more harshly dealt with). The only effect of the link would be to prevent merges; rep etc. would remain independent.

V2: Less ideal, but workable for me, would be an option to tag a post (Q or A) as 'private' so that the real ID wasn't visible to anyone other than the chosen few.


By very restricted group or the chosen few I'm referring to the SO team, rather than community mods. This is both an exercise in due diligence, and a recognition that while a mod is generally a responsible member of the SO community, there are no guarantees that they all are; in much the same way, voting for a politician doesn't mean I'd share my clients with them.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

As discussed at Using multiple accounts (ethically), there are occasions where it's legitimate to have multiple IDs, to avoid attaching a real name to discussions on client security or project management issues.

You can already accomplish this by using incognito / anonymous / inprivate mode in your browser.

Remember that we allow completely anonymous internet users to ask and answer questions at will.

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Considering that community mods can perform user merges, I think they at least should be able to see why they can't.

I don't think there are that many obstacles to overcome. There is just one: don't vote on posts made by your other account.

It's also possible that you'll be signed in as your real-name account when you go to comment on something on the post made by the other account... but your system wouldn't prevent that either.

(Edit from comments: If you're really worried, flag one of your posts and ask a mod to annotate your account with the name of your other account to hopefully prevent future merging. It won't save you if the mods see activity that'd normally lead to a merge, but might help under normal circumstances.)

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I guess a note for mods saying 'these accounts are linked' would be the way to handle that, it was the comment 'Merging socks is a routine task that mods do, so it is almost second nature to not think about doing it.' from Will don't give a that makes me nervous (on linked post) –  Phil Lello May 7 '11 at 17:17
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@Phil The rest of his comment says "As long as the two accounts do NOT interact in any way (including you commenting from one account on something asked/answered by the other--its a common way socks are found) you shouldn't have to worry. Best practice: Go incognito on the sock." which is exactly my point. Don't introduce any interaction between the accounts. Don't give the mods a reason to go look at your IPs. If you're really worried, flag one of your posts and ask a mod to annotate your account with the name of your other account to hopefully prevent future merging. –  Anna Lear May 7 '11 at 17:19
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@Phil That note could help under normal circumstances, but mods will ignore it if there is interaction between your accounts that'd normally lead to a merge and suspension. –  Anna Lear May 7 '11 at 17:20
    
Ah, didn't know there were mod-private notes; that might work. –  Phil Lello May 7 '11 at 17:21

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