# Under what conditions is maintaining two accounts or generally faking two different users by a single person acceptable on PhysicsOverflow?

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Under what circumstances is it acceptable to maintain two different accounts or more generally playing two different personalities by a single user on PhysicsOverflow?

There might be legitimate good reasons for using two accounts sometimes.

But what do we think about "sockpuppeting" in different variants?

What forms of uses of two accounts or playing two different personalities by a single user should be acceptable and legitimate on PhysicsOverflow?

A by othe online communities often used criterion to decide what is legitimate and what is a deal breaker is if and how the two different accounts/personalities interact ...

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The below is my opinion on the matter, not an official policy:

• If the two accounts interact (this includes voting on the same posts), then all votes between the users should be reversed, and the accounts merged. The user should be warned against doing so in future. This includes if one of the accounts in an anonymous (ip-only) account.
• If the account was created to circumvent a ban (for whatever reason, including spam, gibberish, etc.), the account should be treated as a separate user.
• If the accounts are completely non-interacting, the user should just be asked if he wants the accounts merged (they may have forgotten the password etc.). If not, they should be treated as separate users.
answered Jan 18, 2015 by (1,985 points)
edited Feb 9, 2015
The penalty for sockpuppeting should be harsher, but the standard of proof must be very strong. A warning is not enough of a deterrant, in my opinion.

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