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I know that users are allowed to create second accounts but what are the rules on how those two accounts can interact or how they can be used?


For example, the two questions below were most likely created by the same person. The first question was closed as unclear. And then it appears the OP created a second account, to bypass the moderation attempt, and created a very similar new question.

How do I prevented the hackers (secret intel) manipulating my terminal again

How to Defend against this zero day attack?

Note: The second question is in a deleted status, so only high reputation users can see that content while it remains in a deleted status.


Questions

  • What are the rules on doing what the OP did?
  • What are/aren't you allowed to do with two accounts?
  • What should we do if we suspect something like this is occurring?
  • Let's assume positive intent with respect to the referenced questions. I'm not going to redact them right now since it does help illustrate your question. I will say that I'm not going to post the contents of a deleted question - that is reserved for high rep users to see and if people wish to vote to reverse the deletion, that's the normal course of events to revive a deleted post. – bmike Sep 3 '18 at 3:40
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TLDR; multiple accounts for this OP isn't a concern at all and most of what's below has nothing to do with the person being asked about - it's just so you and everyone else has a very good feeling that the system is super resilient and having lots of accounts won't hide harmful behavior or violation of the terms of service here.

Answers

  • Make accounts as you please, but not to break the rules or evade limits the system places on your account.
  • Don't do anything you wouldn't / couldn't do with one main account.
  • Flag things when you're pretty sure something bad is happening - use the "other" flag to explain what you sense knowing that we'll hold this in confidence and react when it's clear something bad is going on.

There is no requirement to register for one or any question. It's up to an individual to request a merge in 95% of the cases per the help guide:

https://apple.stackexchange.com/help/merging-accounts
If you have two accounts that you would like to join together, please sign into either account...

The only time elected moderators get involved is handling community flags on posts and when the automated systems trigger a warning and we generally need to refer unclear cases to the community manager employees as even we can't see who voted on any specific post and we only have limited access to select Personally Identifying Information (PII) of users that we have to go out of our way to access (and that access is strictly logged and auditable). This usually happens surrounding a flag that was issued in private and discussions in private as well as governed by the moderator privacy agreement

Suspensions are temporary responses to specific conduct and limited in duration, forgive and forget in almost all cases.

Rarely will someone continue to break the terms of service after being reminded patiently once or twice what the house rules are with respect to maintaining a correct and up to date account information.

https://apple.stackexchange.com/legal/terms-of-service
• You are solely responsible for ensuring that your account registration is complete and remains up to date.

If you look at the main meta, there are some cases where a suspension to investigate whether accounts are behaving improperly (sometimes referred to as sock puppet voting or targeted voting) but none of the above is relevant to the two links you posted above.

Hopefully this helps everyone know when to flag a post for moderator attention going forward.

  1. The system has checks to prevent evasion of blocks simply by making a new account: https://apple.stackexchange.com/help/question-limited - making a new account won't help get away with this behavior.
  2. The system has checks to detect abnormal voting patterns (and will just reverse the most blatant cases of improper voting without human intervention - we're just there for unclear / marginal cases that require a little human care and talking with the OP in question in private). Whether vote manipulation is for revenge or for artificially inflating reputation - making a new account won't help get away with this behavior. - How should sockpuppets be handled on Stack Exchange?
  3. The rest ends up being spotted super easily by all of you who have been around for a bit. When spammers get a feel that they can post their marketing material here, it's like crack and they can't stop and then they get caught. One off attempts to out-smart the systems remain one-off and aren't really a problem to be handled since they are one-off.

Feel free to ask more questions on meta or flag a post or two as "other" and ask a moderator to explain if you are flagging correctly. We won't divulge if we suspect someone is doing something wrong but we will escalate or handle it - that's our over-riding reason to be here and serve as elected moderators. To be a human and handle these exceptions, kindly, with compassion and patience and as a team collaborating so none of us has to be the only one running the show or deciding any of this.

  • 2
    Awesome answer! It's great to have all these links in the one place, and I think this really gets across how well the system works and the main role moderators play. :) – Monomeeth Sep 3 '18 at 5:05

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