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While reviewing the suggested edits queue I found a suggested edit to a question or answer that appeared to be submitted by the same person. Upon further research, I found that the user actually had two user accounts, by the same name.

I've spotted this sort of behavior before and have always been confused (but never done this amount of research)—what's the better approach here?

  • leave well enough alone, it's someone else's business
  • contact them myself with a comment on some post
  • post here and let moderator handle
  • flag for moderator attention and explain there

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Thanks for making this :) – Tim Post Jul 13 '11 at 8:30
up vote 23 down vote accepted

I'd say the best course of action is to flag any one of the user's posts for moderator attention. In the box provided, explain why you think that the user accounts are in need of merging and be sure to provide links that substantiate your suspicions. (Although in this case, it's pretty clear-cut...)

In general, I see little or no reason to bring it up here on Meta. No community discussion is required, and this is probably something best kept private between the individual user(s) and the moderator handling it.

I very much recommend against trying to contact them on your own. People don't always respond well to this, and it's possible that you'll end up just causing trouble. Moderators have tools in their bag of tricks that let them handle this type of situation much more elegantly. And even in cases like this one (where the user obviously didn't intend to create a duplicate account), their "fix" would be to flag one of their own posts for moderator attention and ask for their accounts to be merged. I'd say that doing it yourself cuts out the "middle man" and arguably makes the experience all that much more seamless for a new user.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for answering this :) – Tim Post Jul 13 '11 at 8:30
This might need to be updated. Mods can't merge users anymore. – Double AA May 31 '13 at 6:25
@DoubleAA Didn't know about that change. Do you have a link that documents it (e.g. a Meta question discussing it)? – Cody Gray May 31 '13 at 10:20
@CodyGray Can you see this? – Double AA Jun 2 '13 at 9:58
@DoubleAA Yes, I can. But I'm not sure my advice should change. I think a regular user should still flag it for moderator attention, and then one or more moderators can decide (using the tools that they do have) whether it merits bringing up to the community team. I guess regular users could email the community team on their own, but I don't really see the point. – Cody Gray Jun 2 '13 at 11:21
@TimPost Thoughts? ^^^ – Double AA Jun 2 '13 at 11:51
@DoubleAA Yes - when users find suspected sock puppets, the best they can do is flag for moderator attention, and the mods can then take action. We do not merge clear sock puppets together any longer, accounts that should have never existed in the first place are just destroyed. If the mod decides that it's not a sock puppet but needs our attention, they can send it to us. – Tim Post Jun 3 '13 at 2:53

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