6

The recent questions by pseudonymous emulator user(s) got me thinking.

In this question wizzwizz4 said the following:

It would be a lot easier for us if you stuck with one account.

I'm here purely for the questions and answers. The only reason I made an account under this name (named after the late Google Knol) is so I could accept an answer to a question I posed - the system wouldn't allow me to do so with the half-activated account it produces when you type in a name and e-mail on the Ask screen.

I'd much rather remain completely anonymous and not sign up at all, and have all my site activity completely dissociated.

I'm not interested in maintaining a reputation (I find the SE system not to my taste; if I could turn off the score display for myself (so my score isn't shown to others) and others (so I can't see their scores) I'd do that.) I've had several high-scoring answers and questions on RCSE previously under other names.

I don't intend to maintain my current name any longer than I have to for courtesy's sake. (It'd be a bit transparent if I had another question about Turbo C for example.) The pseudonymous emulator user(s) (regardless of the content of their questions) are doing exactly what I intend to do - and I believe I'm treating their questions in good faith.

It's my belief that if the questions posed are answerable, and interested users make a best-effort approach to answering them directly, informatively, and relatively professionally, that's all that matters. Names are neither here nor there.

Does my approach to wanting to not maintain an account present an issue?

2
  • 2
    It's perfectly fine to remain anonymous, but you can be anonymous with a single account. Just don't tell us who you are, use an alias. – Mast Oct 25 '20 at 11:43
  • That doesn't really benefit me much, it's not foolproof, and like I said, I find the score system not to my taste. – knol Oct 25 '20 at 12:02
7

I'm not in a position to decide policy at this moment, so I'll just provide some of the background information.


If you are a model user, this pattern of account-creating doesn't cause many issues for moderators. More account numbers to keep track of, more scary warning messages to ignore, but that's about it. The only issue I can think of is other members of the community finding it hard to keep track of you, but if that's the intention then that's fine. (It also breaks some internal SE statistics, but it's a principle of mine that you should never change your behaviour to make it easier on the data processing.)

However, the moderation tools we have access to are limited. Unless we manually link the accounts (which somewhat defeats the point of creating new anonymous accounts), there are only two ways of dealing with problematic users:

  • Ban the IP address.
  • Ban the IP address range.

We can't create a private channel in which to let people know about the specific (obscure, arcane) site rules they're breaking, so we have to basically name and shame in comments.

We can't suspend individuals for brief periods. All we can do is knock out write access for regions of the 'net and hope the collateral damage is sufficiently low – the fact that many people are still on IPv4 makes this issue all the worse.

If your questions are well-received, your answers are high-quality, you don't reference your own experience as a source, you don't intend to edit much… well, you won't be able to help out with flags, reviewing or other site moderation, but apart from that I don't see much of an issue with using multiple names.

However, the system isn't designed to give feedback to multiple disparate accounts. If questions of a certain sort aren't being well received, consider sticking with that account for a bit for those questions (or linking them in some other way), so people can give feedback and you can learn what you're doing wrong. (Spotting the pattern – which questions are well-received, which questions aren't – is half the challenge of improving your asking, though, in my experience.)

4
  • 1
    Please ask for clarification if it's needed; this answer was thrown together, so it's really badly-written. – wizzwizz4 Mod Oct 20 '20 at 16:49
  • Thank you for your time, I'll think on this – knol Oct 20 '20 at 16:55
  • I think there is a right to some privacy, but RCSE is good at welcoming and supporting new users. It does get annoying saying 'great first question' repeatedly to the same person. – Mark Williams Oct 22 '20 at 18:44
  • 5
    You failed to mention that score also somewhat signals credibility to other users, I think. – tofro Oct 28 '20 at 19:02
6

Stackexchange permits all users to maintain multiple accounts. It is if those accounts vote for each other or otherwise abuse the reputation system that moderators and/or staff will intervene.

It is also not compulsory to register an account. If you don't wish to register, you can participate as an unregistered user.

THe main benefit of registering and gaining reputation is the acquisition of privileges. However, many of our users - across all SE sites - don't care about privileges and don't use them if they gain them. So, again, it is not an issue.

The overall aim of this, and all SE sites, is to assist future visitors to find answers to their questions. If you contribute to this in your own way, we are grateful.

3
  • 1
    I found it was compulsory in order to accept an answer - it felt somewhat rude not to do so. – knol Oct 20 '20 at 17:51
  • 2
    @Chenmunka I thought that unregistered users are able to accept answers. Does this vary by SE site? – Flux Oct 25 '20 at 17:01
  • 1
    @Flux: You could be right. I'll try to get a definitive answer – Chenmunka Mod Oct 26 '20 at 18:14
0

Surely the issue in the linked question is not that the questioner has used multiple accounts. Rather, the forum has suffered a sequence of emulator questions, which have a ranting tone and, frequently, insults at people who don't spend their labour implementing what the questioner wants.

Such questions get closed for one (IMO, valid) reason or another; and then a new account gets opened and the next ranting emulator question is posted.

So, we infer that it's the same person creating different accounts; but the problem is that the accounts appear to be created for the purpose of avoiding detection as a serial offender. It's what is posted, not the accounts.

2
  • 3
    I'm not asking about them, I'm asking about me. – knol Oct 29 '20 at 1:17
  • Behaviours associated with bad actions will be seen (most probably in error) as having a faint whiff of said bad actions. It is a very human thing to do. – Vatine Nov 1 '20 at 9:11

You must log in to answer this question.

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