5

Example here

The question is exactly the same as a question posting yesterday. It's almost certainly the same user, using a different account.

The new question is clearly a dupe but cannot be closed as one since the original has no answers. Should I flag it? Close it for another reason?

  • 6
    Mod flag and move on. Nothing else needs to happen. – Frank Jun 27 '16 at 13:27
14

If you have a suspicion of sock puppetry, or other account shenanigans, raise a custom flag and mods can investigate it.

If it's a duplicate to a recently asked question, it's probably the result of an unregistered user not knowing how to or wanting to post from a single account. It happens. Close the question as a dupe and move on. If both are unanswered, as usual, flag it. The point is, that no 'special' action is required. People can have as many accounts as they want, so long as they aren't using them to engage in vote manipulation or other duplicitous behavior.

1

Can I just point out that it's the first question that should be closed, not the second?

Note that the assumption is that someone made a second account because they couldn't access the first. If you close the question from the second account, they still won't have access to the first account. If you close the question from the first account, they may have access to the second.

Closing the second makes it more likely that we have an orphan question that will never have an answer accepted and which doesn't respond to feedback.

Sometimes the correct thing is to close both questions, because they suck. I'm not talking about that situation but one in which the question is valid but duplicated. I'm also not talking about the situation where two different people asked the question. Just ones where it seems that some one person posted the same question twice. In that case, closing the second question as a duplicate leaves more problems than closing the first one.

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    except.. how do we know it really is the same user to begin with? – user106385 Jun 27 '16 at 21:08
  • The users do not appear to be duplicates from the data we have available. Even if they were, it's not a problem; so long as the user isn't using both accounts to vote on his own stuff and artificially raise his rep (or otherwise attempt to subvert the system), it's up to him/her to chase SE to merge the accounts if s/he so chooses. As LessPop covers above, if you see or suspect something like that happening, flag with a custom reason and explain the situation, be as detailed as possible. Mods will only step in if there's something untoward happening. :-) – Robotnik Jun 28 '16 at 3:36
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    @Robotnik The problem is that if a new user creates a second account because she or he can't access the first account, then closing the new question makes it so the user can't access the live question. So there's one question that is fine and valid but the poster can't accept answers. There's another that's closed but the poster can still access. In that situation, the wrong question was closed. If you instead close the first question and leave the second open, then the poster may be able to access it. – Brythan Jun 28 '16 at 4:59
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    @Brythan While I understand what you're getting at that's not really our concern: if the user has lost access to an account or requires their accounts to be merged then they need to contact Stack Exchange, which is linked in the footer of every page. This is not something the mods can do for them unfortunately (but we can certainly help out if asked). Having said that as users/content curators we're focused primarily on getting, clarifying and curating useful questions and answers: the users are secondary to this. – Robotnik Jun 28 '16 at 5:45
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    If the user left a comment with their second account (or even asked a question) to the effect of "Help I can't access my other account!", sure, we wont hesitate to help them out, point them in the right direction, get the SE team involved and so on. But we should not change the way we handle duplicates or otherwise curate our site because users forget their login details. – Robotnik Jun 28 '16 at 5:45
  • @Robotnik I cannot agree here. Consider q/271026 and q/271028. The questions are identical, the gravatar is the same, so with everything else being equal, I don't see why we should make the new user's life (and ours, and the CM's) any harder than it is already, just in case the doubly-unregistered user gives enough of a fuck to fill a form (almost unheard of). Merging the older into the newer simplifies life for everyone involved. – badp Jun 29 '16 at 0:27
  • @badp - Fair enough, well you've been doing this longer than I have, I will defer to your experience :-) – Robotnik Jun 29 '16 at 0:53

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