I've used Stack Exchange for the last year, using my e-mail to login. A few days ago my brother came to the site using his own e-mail, and upvoted some of my answers.

Now Stack Exchange has suspended my account for two days, and when my brother tries to login he ends up in my account instead of his.

What happened? How do I separate my brother's account from mine?

  • 18
    No, Stack Exchange users are not allowed to have any siblings. Or parents. Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 5:12
  • Related: Two accounts were merged, but they were used by different people, which is about automatic merging.
    – Arjan
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 9:16
  • 2
    To remove your brothers email from the logins: go to your profile, click logins, and from the popup delete whatever is not you.
    – Arjan
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 9:54
  • @Arjan, that what i am telling that my brother has up voted my question , and answers. i tried by removing every login details . but when my brothers login same thing is getting appear . u mention that then what will happen in school environment Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 10:26
  • Maybe your brother can still access your account because he is still logged in? Maybe if you go to askubuntu.com/users/logout (and click the log out button) will also invalidate his cookies. (In your case, you could probably ask him to log out too.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 10:58
  • 6
    (Please take care about punctuation. And please use proper uppercase letters to start a sentence. And proper words like "I" and "you". Thanks.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 11:22
  • @Gaurav_Java You should try this when the suspended account becomes active again, ping me in a few days when you did. Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 11:51
  • 1
    @Arjan sorry sir i doesn't mean to make u angry . i am always leaner and u have reputation to become moderator . u always correct me if we new users do something wrong Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 12:30
  • 3
    The word "you" is spelled with 3 letters. Still. Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 15:59
  • @brunopereira81, still I am getting login from my brother account. after suspension period over Commented Apr 1, 2012 at 3:20
  • 1
    please goto AskUbuntu - click the Meta link and ask this question. Thanks. Commented Apr 2, 2012 at 7:21

3 Answers 3


(Note: I'm an Ask Ubuntu moderator)

Your brother can simply create a new account, since his account no longer exists and there was nothing on it in the first place: no reputation, no good answers, no good questions. Only massive up-voting of your account on the first day of its existence.

There is one thing though: the ban stays. Use it as a timeout to make sure you punish your brother for indecent behavior. Vote rings are a serious issue in Stack Exchange; it doesn't matter if its coming from my brother or my friend next door.

The weirdest of the weird things with your brother's account was that he claimed he was from Italy in his profile, even though you are both Indian (I assume) and there wasn't a single access from his account from any IP from Italy -- all accesses came from the same residential IP address in India.

Next time your brother creates an account, please let him know that these small things are important details that will trigger actions from the moderators when issues rise.

Note that you can also reply to the message you got from the Ask Ubuntu moderator that suspended your account asking for more information on the issue; we will be happy to help you sort this out, further explain why it happened and where are we going from here on.

See you in two days; hope this is enough to satisfy your need for answers.

  • Isn't that merging dangerous, like in a work/school environment? My new coworker might be living in a different city than I am, but while in the office IP range might be upvoting my stuff. If the voting really goes one way only, then the merge feels dangerous to me. And of course, my coworkers are nice fellows, and would not claim to be from a different country. Or would they, thinking about privacy... In school situations, I'm not too sure everyone is nice to everyone else...
    – Arjan
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 9:42
  • @Arjan If there are any doubts about the status of the accounts a merge is never done before previous contacting the user -it has been done so many times-. In this case it is obvious that the 2nd account was irregular, had faulty information that was not true and was created only with the purpose of up voting. The merge is complete, his brother can get a second email or associate his account in n ways, that should not be the issue here. Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 10:50
  • 2
    If I believe the OP is honest, then in this case the merge was wrong, I think. How could one be sure that the upvoted account was even aware about the voting of the newish other account? I understand that in this specific case no harm is done with the merge. And good to know that in other cases, when in doubt, a user is contacted. Still then, this specific example could also be an eye opener that things might go horribly wrong in cases that look the same? The brother getting access to the (suspended) account is bad luck. A fellow student getting access feels like a real problem.
    – Arjan
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 11:03
  • 4
    @Arjan Of course, this is a lesson learned. Your point is great and deserves further discussion, I have no issues with that. But don't, not even for a second, think that there was no reasons to merge or simply suspend these accounts: false country information in 2nd account; 1 day existence and +200 for the 1st account; 1st account creates question in meta, 2nd account answers complete rubbish, 1st account accepts the answer... The list just goes on an on. If he cannot fix it now he will probably in 2 days or when he finds the correct way of doing it in the user profile. Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 11:17
  • Ah, 1st account accepts the answer makes this VERY clear indeed. A few days ban is a very mild penalty then.
    – Arjan
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 11:21
  • 4
    @Arjan That happened within minutes of one another, if his "brother" did not know what he was doing then the OP should, he is a member and has several accounts on the site for 5 months now. 2 days was lite in my opinion. If he has issues with his brother's email loging in as his account that's one thing and can be bugged out, not sure, not my area, but he should have no reason to ask what happened since a moderator contacted him with the reason and suspended his account. End of story. Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 11:23
  • 2
    @Gaurav_Java - wait until the suspension has been lifted. Your rep count will be reinstated minus the votes received from the other account. Visit the general chat room and ping one of the moderators i.e. start the message with @ and the moderator name. Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 12:08
  • @fossfreedom . my brother and my account is still getting merged . after suspension period over even when we both use different ip from different system Commented Apr 2, 2012 at 7:19
  • Tyvm - nice to know that mods can see IP addresses.
    – peterh
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 14:57

Since both accounts (yours and your brother's) were accessing the site from the same IP address, and because one account (your brother's) had upvoted posts made by the other account (yours), a moderator (or an automated script) undoubtedly concluded that you were engaging in vote fraud.

Typically, a user will register a second "sockpuppet" account and use that to upvote their own questions and answers posted from their main account, earning reputation along the way. This is considered a massive abuse of the system and is strictly forbidden. That's precisely what you were doing by having two accounts registered from the same IP address that were voting on each other's content.

Since the second account (your brother's) was deemed to be a sockpuppet, it was merged into the main account (yours). That's why when your brother logs in, he sees your account. There are no longer two separate accounts.

As well, the single account that remained (yours) was suspended as a result of this abuse. The suspension message displayed on your profile is the evidence of that:

This account is temporarily suspended for voting irregularities. The suspension period ends in 2 days.

I suppose that if you really do have a brother who created a separate account, but you share the same computer/Internet connection, it's possible that the ban was levied in error. You could probably flag one of the moderators on that site and ask them to look into it.

But you should tell your brother not to make a habit of voting for your posts. That's not really fair. I don't have a brother—who's going to vote for my posts? Besides, we have no way of verifying that it is, in fact, your brother.

  • 7
    I see a flaw in the procedure/system here: what if the merging is really wrong, like what if my coworker somehow gets my account? Merging is one thing, but giving the merged (newish) account access to the first account by merging the wrong way, seems dangerous too.
    – Arjan
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 9:02
  • @Arjan The procedure has been changed recently, in favor of not merging but removing the votes by other means. Adding the login credentials is important for merging accidentally created users, else they might have problems logging in after a merge. Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 10:16
  • @Fabian. i have one pc i and my brother both use on same pc so why IP will get differ Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 10:28
  • @The Establishment . i will tell my brother not 2 use the site which i am using but how this problem get resolve . after 2 days we both will get separate account and after that i am able to delete that. ya do have my brother can i give prove to moderator Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 10:33
  • (Given the comments from an Ask Ubuntu moderator, it is now clear to me that in this specific example there is no doubt about voting irregularities whatsoever. Together with @Fabian's comment above, I'm sure my concerns are nicely handled already. Humans can still make mistakes in the future, but, for example, no need at all to change the moderator options to merge accounts.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 11:30

I'm sorry to jump here on this but

Since both accounts (yours and your brother's) were accessing the site from the same IP address, and because one account (your brother's) had upvoted posts made by the other account (yours), a moderator (or an automated script) undoubtedly concluded that you were engaging in vote fraud.

That seems a bit wrong, two users with the same IP number is the evidence there to conclude that it was the same person ?

Before merge accounts all moderator should read this Privacy concerns when merging accounts

We are 3 users here using the same internet connection (so same IP) and all of us use these sites. According to that quoted chunk of nonsense rules we may run into troubles soon, because to be honest I may had up voted their answers :)

Got to "my logins" and remove your brother email, OpenID etc etc. If that don't works contact support :)

  • 5
    You don't know half of what went into determining the status of the accounts in this question. The ip match was not the only thing. SE moderators did not get their Internet connections yesterday. ;) Commented May 10, 2012 at 1:46
  • @AndrewBarber So Please tell me what was used to conclude that, not only on this case, but in general ? And thanks for the downvote
    – user983248
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 1:49
  • 6
    It wouldn't be too smart to share that kind of information, now would it? But some of it is discussed in the answers to this question, where the status of these accounts was vigorously questioned. You arestarting to sound like the person who doth protest (way) too much, here. -1 was for posting an answer hat should have been a comment. You are welcome. Commented May 10, 2012 at 1:54

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