A work of fiction: A user by the name Rich has been committing insidious crimes by creating multiple accounts. At the same time, he has been preserving some qualities of a decent citizen, by answering questions, and thus earning rep points. Now, with enough medicine and illegal drugs, he has been fully rehabilitated and decided to pursue a healthy career on stackoverflow.

He's making a step forward, will SO moderator board give him another chance, and another life?

Let's consider the following cases:

  • A user's account has been deleted; a good example is nefarious Sasha. The user wants to comeback with his original account (minus malicious posts), and his points, as opposed to starting afresh. Can he or she do that, assuming (s)he provides enough medical evidence to prove absence of mental degeneration and other similar conditions? As we learned in this post, the criminal can recover the account.
  • A deleted user did comeback, under a different account, and for months has been showing a improvements. Can his/her deleted account be combined with the new one?
  • A user created a several accounts and has been using them (I dare to say, illegally). Now, he decided that a life of a criminal is a no-no, and therefore decided to stop. But he cannot chose which account should represent his true and reformed identity, as they all have rep, questions... after-all he wants to be able to keep track of his old questions. Can these accounts be combined?

Please do NOT turn this discussion into a finger-pointing!

  • 4
    I would tell him to take this opportunity to have a fresh/clean start and forget all about the other account. In 4 months more rep could be raised from 0 if that user plays for the rules. What's the point of having an account mix up that eventually would me him feel dirty :( – OscarRyz Sep 22 '09 at 21:33
  • some criminal given a pardon before the end of the sentence – Andrei Sep 22 '09 at 21:39
  • no, I think we should at least let them finish what they are saying; we wouldn't want to interrupt... – Marc Gravell Sep 22 '09 at 22:10
  • Some other are killed. Tell him to take this as a reincarnation. You start completely from 0 – OscarRyz Sep 23 '09 at 1:14
  • 2
    FYI, a "fresh start" shouldn't begin by spamming meta. – xmm0 Sep 25 '09 at 22:43
  • 1
    All of a sudden I find my finger pointing in the direction of Rich. Why did you do that, finger? – belgariontheking Oct 22 '09 at 21:00

Users can always come back if their behavior improves.

However, in this case, it is too much manual work to re-associate the deleted account, so the user should start at zero, or whatever the new accounts have.

Probably better to start with a fresh slate anyway.

  • That's cool... Without a re-association, can as user's account be undeleted to its previous state? – Andrei Oct 2 '09 at 21:03
  • no undeletion is possible, not in practical terms. – Jeff Atwood Oct 2 '09 at 21:15

In order:

  • to use your example, Sasha was deleted at his own request; in the "your account has been suspended" e-mail I believe it was stated that yes; he could return <q>as long as the behaviour improves</q>. I assume that Jeff's hacked-up undelete script would still work (but it isn't 100% - some things don't resurrect cleanly)
  • (really just combines the first and third bullet)
  • accounts can indeed be combined as long as ownership/identity can be demonstrated (i.e. I won't believe you if you claim that you are "Jon Skeet")

The last is the easy one. The first only Jeff/"the team" can do. Note that if there is evidence of self-voting between the accounts that dubious rep may be redacted (although not immediately, IIRC).

Can we stop dancing? If you are, as the text implies, the user formerly known as Sasha - then it is in many ways encouraging that your account isn't well known to me. I genuinely don't have the ability to personally undelete user accounts, and there may be a question of dates (re the suspension)... one for Jeff's input...

I also like Oscar's point; perhaps merge the well-behaved accounts (to restore good sense) and let the old sleeping dog lie.

  • I wonder how can, as per example, Sasha prove that ** as long as the behavior changed **. – Andrei Sep 22 '09 at 21:18
  • (will update to answer that) – Marc Gravell Sep 22 '09 at 21:20
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    If he were reformed, he wouldn't be using the moniker "Andrei Chikatilo" – Brad Gilbert Sep 22 '09 at 21:39
  • @Brad: What if that's his real name? – mmyers Sep 22 '09 at 21:40
  • hmmm... had to look up some history, but yes... perhaps not the best choice of account names to keep. – Marc Gravell Sep 22 '09 at 21:48
  • Is it worse than BTK Killer? – mmyers Sep 22 '09 at 21:50
  • 2
    He links to the Wikipedia article in his user page. – Brad Gilbert Sep 23 '09 at 19:58
  • The film, Citizen X about the agents who tracked him down is excellent, if you're interested in that sort of thing. – Bill the Lizard Sep 25 '09 at 23:23
  • He (in this case I) was a "legend" uniquely molded by the soviet regime into a maniac that took over 12 years to capture – Andrei Oct 2 '09 at 21:07
  • *murderer who blamed his misdeeds on childhood tragedy. – Shog9 Oct 2 '09 at 21:16

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