I'd like some clarification on the rules for having alt accounts/sock puppet accounts. I suspect I have seen someone doing this, and think it is exploitative.

Account X posts a question on a site.
Account Y gets the association bonus from activity on other sites, and then posts a bounty on Account X's question. This is their only activity on that site.

Is this a valid use of alt accounts, or does it contravene the golden rule: don't do anything you couldn't do with just one account?


No, you can't.

The golden rule of sockpuppet accounts is that they should never interact. In this case, you are using one account to place a bounty on your second account's question. This means added attention to the second account's question, thus gaining rep for that account.

Your accounts should never interact in any way on the way on the main sites. The sole exception might be editing if the editing account is above 2k rep (i.e. won't be gaining rep from suggesting edits). When in doubt, avoid it.

(I mention on the main sites because chat is a bit different - "science" and chatbots are a bit looser in the rules about interactions.)

  • 1
    The bounty also prevents the reputation from being deducted from the main account, so that's another reason why it's abuse. – Sonic the Curiouser Hedgehog Apr 14 '20 at 6:59

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