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A well-known crank, let's call him "Wolfgang", uses ten different sock-puppets to dump his pseudo-scientific nonsense into several Stack Exchange sites. Every time another user, let's call him "Uwe", notices Wolfgang's questions or answers, he adds a comment "Warning: "Forte" is one of Wolfgang's ten sock-puppets, and discussing with Wolfgang is known to be pointless". Then Wolfgang changes the display name of his sock-puppet "Forte" to "Uwe", which not only confuses other readers, but makes commenting quite difficult for Uwe. Is this considered as acceptable behaviour, or is it something that moderators (have to?) deal with?

marked as duplicate by Shadow Wizard discussion Sep 7 '17 at 22:29

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    it's called flagging for moderator attention ... – Vogel612's Shadow Sep 7 '17 at 21:48
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    @Vogel612'sShadow For each site individually? – Uwe Sep 7 '17 at 21:52
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    @Uwe Yes, for each site. – Servy Sep 7 '17 at 21:55
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    @Ramhound because there's more or less (on MSE more) well known protocol for such issue, which is also detailed in multiple places, not only the explanation for the flagging privilege – Vogel612's Shadow Sep 7 '17 at 22:13
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    Would expect comments that indicate possible duplicates in that case – Ramhound Sep 7 '17 at 22:14
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    Impersonation is against the rules. Flag it, let the mods in question know its cross site. If its really bad, maybe use the contact us link – Journeyman Geek Sep 8 '17 at 5:58
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In general, these sorts of confrontational asides are not useful on SE, as they leave moderation up to underinformed public opinion and a he-said/she-said muddle. (On the plus side, the popcorn industry gets a boost.)

Don't post these passive-aggressive comments, especially not preemptively. Instead, flag for a ♦ mod if someone is using sock puppets to evade account restrictions on posting (including suspensions), or to create confusion with other users' names. Disruptive usernames will likely be changed by ♦ mods, per What are the rules governing display names and avatars?

Also flag for a ♦ mod if an account is routinely posting low-quality posts that do not trigger the automatic bans. There is a suspension reason for this. If you don't have enough room in the flag reason box, use either a deleted answer of your own to contain the overflow (linking to it from the flag) or use the Contact form. Make sure you have at least some evidence that does not depend on the mods being subject-matter experts in the particular tags involved. (Although, of course, expecting e.g. Physics SE mods to know something about physics in general is perfectly reasonable.)

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    The comments were typically not preemptive. Wolfgang likes to hide behind the mask of the innocent student who asks a curious question. Then people who try to be helpful spend a lot of time to explain the facts and get involved in lengthy discussions, so somebody has to tell them that they're talking to a crank. If I flag Wolfgang's posts based on their content, I have exactly this he-said/she-said problem (unless the moderator knows Wolfgang already). The second problems is that Wolfgang doesn't really about being banned – after all, he's got ten accounts. – Uwe Sep 7 '17 at 22:17
  • @Uwe: The question says 'Every time another user, let's call him "Uwe", notices Wolfgang's questions or answers, he adds a comment', strongly implying that it's a preemptive response to the post, not to the existence of a prolonged discussion. Even if it was reactive, my advice stands: this sort of interference is seldom helpful and often harmful, despite how tempting it is to publicly correct someone who is Wrong On The Internet. – Nathan Tuggy Sep 7 '17 at 22:30
  • @Uwe: Also, you may not be aware of this, but ♦ mods are actually capable of applying various sanctions across sock puppets, including merging accounts, deleting accounts, using IP patterns and similar to preemptively and automatically treat accounts the same, and so forth. – Nathan Tuggy Sep 7 '17 at 22:31
  • We're talking about at least 11 accounts and (so far) 7 sites. Is that something that a moderator of an individual site can do globally? – Uwe Sep 7 '17 at 22:36
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    @Uwe: No, but mods can and do cooperate with each other and with SE staff to handle cross-site problems. – Nathan Tuggy Sep 7 '17 at 22:39

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