While reviewing the suggested edits queue I found a suggested edit to a question or answer that appeared to be submitted by the same person. Upon further research, I found that the user actually had two user accounts, by the same name.

I've spotted this sort of behavior before and have always been confused (but never done this amount of research)—what's the better approach here?

  • leave well enough alone, it's someone else's business
  • contact them myself with a comment on some post
  • post here and let moderator handle
  • flag for moderator attention and explain there

Return to FAQ index


2 Answers 2


I'd say the best course of action is to flag any one of the user's posts for moderator attention. In the box provided, explain why you think that the user accounts are in need of merging and be sure to provide links that substantiate your suspicions. (Although in this case, it's pretty clear-cut...)

In general, I see little or no reason to bring it up here on Meta. No community discussion is required, and this is probably something best kept private between the individual user(s) and the moderator handling it.

I very much recommend against trying to contact them on your own. People don't always respond well to this, and it's possible that you'll end up just causing trouble. Moderators have tools in their bag of tricks that let them handle this type of situation much more elegantly. And even in cases like this one (where the user obviously didn't intend to create a duplicate account), their "fix" would be to flag one of their own posts for moderator attention and ask for their accounts to be merged. I'd say that doing it yourself cuts out the "middle man" and arguably makes the experience all that much more seamless for a new user.

  • 4
    This might need to be updated. Mods can't merge users anymore.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 6:25
  • 1
    @DoubleAA Didn't know about that change. Do you have a link that documents it (e.g. a Meta question discussing it)? Commented May 31, 2013 at 10:20
  • @CodyGray Can you see this? moderator.stackexchange.com/2013/02/january-2013-newsletter
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 9:58
  • @DoubleAA Yes, I can. But I'm not sure my advice should change. I think a regular user should still flag it for moderator attention, and then one or more moderators can decide (using the tools that they do have) whether it merits bringing up to the community team. I guess regular users could email the community team on their own, but I don't really see the point. Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 11:21
  • @TimPost Thoughts? ^^^
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 2, 2013 at 11:51
  • 2
    @DoubleAA Yes - when users find suspected sock puppets, the best they can do is flag for moderator attention, and the mods can then take action. We do not merge clear sock puppets together any longer, accounts that should have never existed in the first place are just destroyed. If the mod decides that it's not a sock puppet but needs our attention, they can send it to us.
    – user50049
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 2:53

Mods haven't been able to merge accounts for a while - it is extremely messy when it goes wrong and there's very few situations where accounts need merging - commonly unregistered accounts with lost cookies or the rare situation where an alternate account is initially used for privacy but its no longer needed and so on.

If you notice a possible sock being used abusively in some manner, flag it. A mod can review to take action or escalate it to a CM.

If its in good faith - say the cases above, they'll need to use the contact us link to request a merger. Ideally the PII (IP addresses and/or email addresses) should match for the accounts in question to make it easier to verify.

  • 4
    "unregistered accounts with lost cookies" I'm not sure there are actually "very few cases" of this, given the numerous ones I've seen on various sites. Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 18:02
  • This is not "rare" - it is so frequent that having had this ability removed from mods has been a significant daily inconvenience for the affected users, who have no idea what happened or why it happened or why they should bother contacting SO. Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 16:13
  • 1
    oh, the unregistered account thing is common. The intentional alt account is not Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 16:15
  • Yeah, the intentional unregistered user? I'm aware of exactly two such people across the whole netowrk. Maybe there are more. Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 16:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .