I know users can have more than one account on any given site; as long as they don't use their 2nd or 3rd accounts as sockpuppets, Stack Exchange is happy. There's a whole series of argumentations that justify this sort of behaviour, so I'm not concerned here with its ethics.

But what about voting?

  • Can a user with two or more accounts upvote or downvote someone else's post more than once?

  • Can a user with multiple accounts upvote their own comments?

These seem rhetorical questions but this type of behaviour is quite different from serial downvoting and also much harder to detect.

To clarify, they are not upvoting their own posts. Instead, they are using their secret accounts to up/downvote someone else's post multiple times.

I can't prove that the upvotes on comments are cast by the same user, but if I become aware that they have at least two accounts I may strongly suspect malicious behavior, e.g. drumming support for their comments and driving upvotes on specific questions they have chosen to answer. I'd like to know for certain if this is a flaggable offense.

  • 2
    Just flag for a moderator's attention when you find something fishy. – NVZ Jan 1 '18 at 8:32

Found the answer

There are a handful of legitimate reasons to maintain multiple accounts. A good rule of thumb for identifying abusive socks is: if the second account allows you to do something on the site that your normal account would be prevented from doing, it is abuse. Examples of this include (but are not limited to):

  • Voting on your own posts
  • Answering your own questions with the other account(s)
  • Casting multiple votes on others' posts
  • Supporting your own arguments ("+1: shog is right, don't know why the rest of you don't realize this")
  • Using bounties to circumvent the rep cap
  • Circumventing suspensions, quality bans, or the rate limits on posting questions / answers / comments / etc.


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That sounds sketchy.

Given you mention downvoting in the second paragraph, I'm assuming you're talking about voting on non-comments. In that case, no, I don't think people should be casting two votes just because they have two accounts. The question/answer being voted on isn't twice as good/bad just because they have two accounts, and their opinion isn't twice as valid simply because they have two accounts.

For comments, the effect is much less significant, since comments themselves are temporary. I would say though that if someone is double voting on comments, it's not too much of a stretch to assume they may extend that habit to non-comments as well.

I think a custom moderator flag would be appropriate on the comments. Voter fraud is taken fairly seriously for non-comments, so, like above, I would expect that to carry to comments to a certain extent.

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