I just came across these two questions:



Both asked and answered by the same user. The first one is answered within 2 minutes with a link to a tutorial. I found this suspicious and thought that he was probably promoting the site to which he had linked.

Then I found the second question, which is an exact duplicate where he answered with a link to his first answer 3 minutes after asking the question. He was answering in a style designed to hide that he is the OP.

These are obviously not real questions, so I flagged them, but I'm not sure what's the right thing to do.

I don't think this is acceptable use of SO and this user has over 2K rep. In fact he gained 40 rep from these questions, when he should have been punished for them IMHO. He has over 200 questions and I don't know if this is a common behavior of his, but perhaps this should be investigated. I just feel like some kind of action should be taken to discourage this kind of abuse.

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    Hmm. Looking at the user's answers, it sounds like the account was merged with another sock puppet account by the sound of the responses. In particular, look at the answers: like this one or this one and so on. – Jeff Mercado May 25 '11 at 0:20

He got dinged for puppetry. The oddness was caused by his puppets being merged into his account. User has been warned, suspended, and the suspension has been lifted. So, in effect, it has been dealt with. The cleanup, not so much.

A simple flag would suffice in these situations.

  • I think there should be some kind of note to let people know that it is a fake question and that it has been dealt with. Otherwise people will just flag these questions over and over again. I mean the answers are still valid and probably helpful to some, so it seems unreasonable to delete them, doesn't it? – Erik B May 25 '11 at 0:29
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    @Erik: After having read a good amount of this guy's questions, answers and comments, I wouldn't think much would be lost from deleting them. The examples you posted in particular would be of very little value to anyone IMHO. I think it would be better off if someone went and asked their own question on the subject. – Jeff Mercado May 25 '11 at 0:35

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