We have an exceptionally tedious situation over on English Language and Usage, where a suspended user keeps posting questions using different identities. Apparently an IP ban is impractical in this case.

When another of these "sockpuppets" is identified, standard procedure is that the question is deleted (unless it has upvoted answers), and the new account is merged into the suspended one.

This isn't entirely satisfactory - some deleted questions are actually wanted (but can't be undeleted), and some of the ones that aren't deleted should be.

Why can't questions currently being deleted in this way to be assigned instead to the Community user?

  • Just merging should be sufficient - the user won't be able to make any more changes, since once merged, it'll still be suspended. – nhinkle Jul 21 '12 at 1:53
  • @nhinkle: I'm not a mod, so I can't do that. As I said, currently the policy of ELU mods is to delete questions that don't (yet) have upvoted answers. Presumably to protect the rep gained by those who have answered, but so far as I can see this also allows the suspended user to accumulate rep from any upvotes on the question. In practice, people normally downvote the question. Not always because it's bad - I suspect often they downvote because they're so annoyed with this tiresome user (who therefore rarely rises above Rep:1). The whole voting/rep system just gets messed up because of this. – FumbleFingers Jul 21 '12 at 2:15
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    If he's suspended, rep doesn't matter, because it's locked at 1. I would suggest you bring it up with the mods on ELU if you don't think they're handling it in the most efficient way possible. He can't rise above 1 rep because he's suspended. – nhinkle Jul 21 '12 at 2:28
  • @nhinkle The ban on this user is set to end in a few hours, but during his month-long ban, he created at least 3 new accounts per day in order to ask the same questions again and again. – simchona Jul 21 '12 at 3:24
  • @nhinkle: You miss my point. I think "the most efficient way possible" would be for the questions to be owned by Community, but my understanding is that the system currently provides no mechanism for that, so there's no point in me suggesting it to ELU mods. I therefore think it has to be raised here, since it's effectively a feature-request relevant to all SO sites. – FumbleFingers Jul 21 '12 at 3:29
  • For context of this user's behavior: english.stackexchange.com/questions/75347/job-opening-positions – simchona Jul 21 '12 at 5:08
  • @simchona: Careful! If you attract other people there, even if only a fraction of them get irritated enough to post comments, our disturbed troll will appreciate the attention. He's ended up with his own private chat channel in the comment thread on that question! We should treat him like a boil on the bum (keep it decently covered, and don't encourage other people to look closely at it! :) – FumbleFingers Jul 21 '12 at 5:15
  • @FumbleFingers I have a feeling something will be done soon. The original user's suspension ends in about 15 minutes. – simchona Jul 21 '12 at 5:16
  • @simchona: I hate to say it, but I was going to turn in for the night 5-10 minutes ago - and being aware troll's suspension was just about to end, I decided to wait up. I am not proud of myself for wished to rubber-neck - but I've rolled my "post-final final" fag now, so I'll just have to sit and smoke and watch for a few minutes. In the meantime, I'll just wait to see how many Americans find cause to question my sexuality! – FumbleFingers Jul 21 '12 at 5:23
  • @nhinkle: That business about suspended users' rep being "locked at 1" seems a bit pointless - a few minutes after his suspension just ended, our troll has a rep score of 83 - the rep was obviously accruing in the background, and has now been awarded. – FumbleFingers Jul 21 '12 at 5:57
  • And if he's no longer suspended, he gets that rep, which is how the system works. The whole point of suspension is that when it ends, it's over, and you're forgiven. That's inherent to how suspension works on the Stack Exchange network. That being said, if he's been actively causing trouble up to when the suspension ended, then I expect he'll be suspended again soon and the rep gains will be a moot point anyhow. – nhinkle Jul 21 '12 at 7:19
  • Also @FumbleFingers there are other tools available to mods and devs to handle situations like this. I understand your request and where it comes from, and it's reasonable, but there are alternative solutions that are more suited to this type of situation. – nhinkle Jul 21 '12 at 7:21

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