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I've recently noticed some suspicious activity surrounding a bunch of new user accounts created these past 9 days.

These users are (from newest to oldest):

I suspect they all belong to the same person for following reasons:

  • They have the same gravatar, suggesting they might be using the same email address.
  • Similar pattern of names (4-6 letters with 0-3 numbers, no uppercase letters, no whitespaces, most are Asian-sounding).
  • All posted only 1 question, no answers.
  • Most are poorly received (negative score).
  • Most are closed for various reasons, but mostly for being off-topic or unclear (i.e. not a real question).
  • Apparently no activity after asking their question (no comment to clarify their issue, no accepted answers, no edits). The only exception is mazar, who posted a single comment.
  • Most (5 out of 9) posts are just a single paragraph. One was edited by someone else to break it into multiple paragraphs.

While none of these points suggest multiple account on their own, there are just too many coincidences to ignore.

I wouldn't normally point out something as trivial as someone making multiple accounts (especially not based on mere speculation), since they don't appear to be breaking any rules at first glance. But the fact is that for the past 9 days they have posted 7 low-quality/off-topic questions. Normally, the system would impose a question rate limit on new contributors if they asked too many low-quality/off-topic questions in too short amount of time.

Assuming they are indeed the same person, this would indicate that they are attempting to bypass the question rate limit by creating new accounts all the time. And the rules clearly state that creating multiple accounts to circumvent limitations is not allowed: https://gaming.stackexchange.com/help/question-limited

Deleting your account, or creating multiple accounts will also not help. If you attempt to circumvent these restrictions, you risk not being able to use the site at all for quite some time, and put the use of the site by your co-workers in serious jeopardy. You can lift this block in just a few days with a bit of effort and some good answers, please don't try to get around it any other way.

Can a moderator check if my suspicions are correct?

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Update:

Since posting this meta, the user had created another six accounts I believe (totaling 14). It was later identified that they were copying posts from Reddit and re-posting them here verbatim (for example, the "mazar" user posted How do I make kelp elevator without drowning? which is copied from this Reddit. Note the post was edited by another user but the original post is a direct copy of the Reddit post).

All the accounts have been destroyed. With the exception of "mazar" (which has instead been deleted, allowing their single question to remain on the site since it would have more significant reputation impacts if we removed it outright).

It is believed that this "user" (or what is more likely... bot) had the intention of copying posts from Reddit to post here, wait a few days, and then edit in a spam link. In fact, they revealed this when the commented on one of the answers they received (the comment itself has been deleted now, but you see in this screenshot).

This exact behavior has been exhibited before on the Stack Exchange sites. In fact, Arqade recently saw this exact behavior (I believe SmokeDetector actually picked it up).


Original Post:

Without going into deep details - it does appear to be the same person who created all of these accounts. But, none of them have encountered a question ban (I'm unsure what the exact criteria is to get question banned other than spam/rude behavior flags, but it doesn't appear they've encountered it on any of these accounts).

I saw your comment from the "00luyan" post, and that was when I investigated to see if all of these accounts were related, and its pretty obvious they are (and the mod tools confirm it).

As far as moderator actions go, we can reach out to the SE Community team to perform a merge of the users accounts. Moderators can't perform account merges - only SE Staff members can (or if the user requests it, which is still handled by SE).

My gut feeling is this user is just using the site wrong since they don't appear to be acting in bad faith (no sock-puppeting appears to be happening, they haven't posted any spam/rude posts, etc.) and none of their accounts have encountered any bans. The only reason I personally haven't done anything (yet) is because of your comment. I had hopes that maybe the user would request a merge (and that may well happen still), but I will see about getting this process sped up.

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  • There have been cases in the past on other sites where users have been careful to make a new account for each post, and perform automatic merges where the account has made a good post so that only the good posts were credited towards their main account. This could be the same thing.
    – gparyani
    Nov 9, 2022 at 20:04

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