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It's my assertion that some users are posting on alternate accounts as a means of posting questions that they know are not in line with the intent and purpose of this forum, for their own devices.

Is this something that is within the bounds of how this site should be used?

Is there a way to contact the site administration to confirm that these accounts are coming from the same source, should it be determined that this behavior does undermine the spirit of the site?

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  • I've seen this on other internet forums, but I didn't think it would be a problem here. However, now that you do mention it, I can think of one or two cases where this indeed may have been the case. – Buddho Sep 10 '15 at 14:54
  • I'm not sure it is happening, but given a few particular instances over the past couple days I now question – Ryan Sep 10 '15 at 16:01
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posting questions that they know are not in line with the intent and purpose of this forum

That might be another or a separate problem, i.e. if a question is bad then it hardly matters which account was used to post it.

Is this something that is within the bounds of how this site should be used?

The slang word (i.e. the jargon) for an alternate account is a "sock-puppet" (so-called because it looks like a separate/independent user but it's not autonomous, instead it's controlled by someone else).

A reason why some users create sock-puppet accounts is to up-vote themselves: that's a standard problem, and there are automated mechanisms in place to detect and prevent it.

This answer says that the following, too, ought to be seen as problematic behaviour:

  • Answering your own questions with the other account(s)

Is there a way to contact the site administration to confirm that these accounts are coming from the same source, should it be determined that this behavior does undermine the spirit of the site?

One way is to 'flag' it for moderator attention (when you flag it, choose the "other" reason at the end of the list and explain the problem clearly).

And/or let a moderator know that you want us to contact you privately so that you can explain the problem (e.g. post a little comment in reply to any of my posts, saying something like "@ChrisW can I have a word with you in private?").

And/or you can contact the site administration (the SE community team) using the contact page (there's a link to this in the footer at the bottom of every page).

A communication like this from you, to the moderators or to the SE team, would be handled confidentially.

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Moderators can see if two accounts come from the same IP address. While this not necessarily indicate puppet accounts (there may be two users in the same household or they may use the site from work) - it could be a sign to look more closely.

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