I've run into, what I hope, is an odd edge case...

Back Story:

What started as a disagreement over rolling back an edit, resulted in some revenge voting, and when I was looking into it, I noticed what looked like some sock-puppetry.

When I flagged the issue moderator/s responded by nuking the account.
Everything worked as expected...

Things got odd a few days later when the same user showed up again, with the same name, and same info in their user profile.

So, I flagged again. The account was nuked again. Problem solved.

Now, today, the same user is back once again. I've flagged again pointing to the other flagged posts explaining the situation and so on...

What I noticed today is that it looks like this user is using accounts on other Stack Exchange sites to create their "new" profiles on Stack Overflow, thus gaining the association bonus and basic privileges.

It looks like these other accounts have never been used; no questions, answers, comments, etc. So it appears that their only purpose is to serve as life-boats for this annoying account resurrection...


Can moderators team up with mods on other network sites, or contact SE employees, to nuke all of a problem user's accounts to prevent them from re-creating accounts with the association bonus?

Can anyone come up with a better way to close this loophole?

How did this user gain association reputation without having any Q&A activity?
Association Bonus not removed upon account deletion

  • 4
    If the other accounts have never been used, how do they have enough rep for the assoc bonus?
    – Doorknob
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 22:42
  • 3
    @Doorknob see: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/277920/…
    – apaul
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 22:44
  • 5
    @Doorknob "The 'association bonus earnable' flag is stored on the Stack Exchange network profile, and is never cleared. Even when the original account is deleted."
    – apaul
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 22:45

2 Answers 2


You've got a few options here:

  • Just keep nuking the account. He'll get bored eventually.

  • Instead of deleting the account, suspend it. That way, the account can't be re-created to obtain the association bonus. (Votes can be invalidated manually by a super-♦)

  • Contact a Community Manager to apply a network-wide suspension.

(These are all only possible if you're a moderator. If you're not, flag some random post and thoroughly explain the situation, preferably with several links.)

  • "Contact a Community Manager to apply a network-wide suspension." - or to delete all those profiles altogether
    – nicael
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 22:54
  • 9
    Suspending sounds like the most expedient option here.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 22:59
  • @AdamLear why not revoke the association bonus altogether?
    – apaul
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 23:00
  • 4
    @apaul34208 The cases where this is abused are fewer (as far as I know) than the cases where someone deletes their profile(s) but then returns. We preserve some information about network-level accounts even after site profiles are removed. Starting to cherry-pick what we clear out and what we don't is going to get problematic. Not impossible, of course, but why do it when the vast majority of situations where this comes up are benign?
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 23:02
  • @AnnaLear Ah... I hadn't thought about voluntary account deletion... I guess that makes a bit more sense.
    – apaul
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 23:06

Perhaps if/when the original account that earned an association bonus is deleted the association bonus should also be deleted network wide.

This may be more complicated than it sounds, but it seems like it would be the expected behavior.

Besides, as far as I know, the association bonus is intended to say:

"This user has demonstrated that they know how the network works, hence they should be trusted with basic privileges"

If the original account has been deleted for misbehavior, that seems to say that they shouldn't be trusted anymore...

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