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Not long ago here on main meta, a user posted a question, a rudimentary one which attracted a downvote almost immediately. Their response was almost as quick; they deleted their account.

Subsequently, 6 minutes later another question was posted about "asking on behalf of a friend". That account was quickly deleted.

14 minutes on, another question identical in meaning to the second was reasked. When I left a comment asking about the odd behaviour, again the account was deleted immediately.

As I do from time to time, I checked the account profile before deletion. The first and third Q-accounts had identical site memberships (I missed out on seeing the second, so no screenshot). Four association bonuses on the same sites with both Q-accounts, no account spawning the bonus:

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The accounts are:

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Does this odd behaviour have any implications for evading account suspensions? Can new accounts be created from a "safe" disassociated account and then that account disassociated again, to leave that original account high and dry, safe from any potential bans or suspensions? If so, then can this be addressed and the loophole closed?

What follows is, can multiple clone accounts be created from the same spawning account if each time it's disassociated it can spawn new ones? Each with an association bonus and no apparent connection to the original user.

Update: They're back again again, question, profile. Hey, a couple of downvotes and the question/profile were deleted as before.

Just to keep the details tidy, here's a list of user numbers in order of appearance:

  • user1193500

  • user1194361

  • user1194364

  • user1194376

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    For a while now, users who've made one post are subject to a 24-hour wait when requesting to delete their own account, so if the account is being removed immediately, it means a moderator or staff member must be doing the deletion. Perhaps they're not using the correct option to delete the profile while leaving an automatic suspension: to do so, one must choose the "spam or nonsense" or "no longer welcome" reason May 14 at 9:53
  • The 24 hour thing sounds good, I'll not comment on bleary-eyed mods' choices first thing in the morning. May 14 at 9:55
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    See: "How can I delete my account?" (search for the text: "Will deleting my account clear any restrictions placed on my account?"), and "We've drastically simplified the user deletion process!".
    – Rob
    May 14 at 10:52
  • I'm the resident bleary eyed mod and this had nothing to do with me. I'd guess tho maybe the sock-master made socks associated with sites they're interested in?
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    May 14 at 11:48
  • Hol up, how do they have association bonus? May 14 at 13:10
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    @ThomasMarkov The Association Bonus is tied to the account, not to any specific profile. It's not impossible to earn the bonus on one site and then delete that profile - the other sites will retain the bonus. There's also been a situation where someone can earn 200 rep on a Team and get the association bonus for that. I'm not sure whether we fixed that or not.
    – Catija StaffMod
    May 14 at 13:15
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    @Catija It was fixed but later regressed. May 14 at 15:51
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    Well it's just a typical troll, we better leave them alone and just flag when seeing it. Eventually they get bored and stop. But comments under their posts only encourage them to continue. May 15 at 6:45
  • Ideally, I'd want to make it harder for them to do this if possible, but they'd find a workaround no doubt. @ShadowWizardSaysNoMoreWar May 15 at 6:56
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    @LittlePickle. repeat abuse from this user may eventually lead to network-wide-suspension which in turn will take care of their exploit of association bonus. Probably this option is main reason why no changes to the system are made to prevent such exploits
    – gnat
    May 15 at 9:48
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    We'll deal but probably worth not giving the troll attention - if you find it, flag, then we can deal with the accounts and move on.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    May 15 at 11:00
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