1 of 6
Todd Trimble Mod
  • 50.5k
  • 4
  • 74
  • 112

With regard to Gerhard's response -- which I agree with -- I see a number of things problematic with regard to the behavior that is taking place in the present circumstances.

I have no doubt that behind these numerous accounts is only a very small group of humans, and there's a very good chance it's just one. In other words, I am finding very clear evidence, using the moderator tools available to me, of sockpuppetry taking place. As you all know, sockpuppet upvoting is a significant violation of site (and SE) policy, but sockpuppetry is obnoxious for other reasons as well. In the present case, there have been numerous instances of the sockpuppets' answering each other's questions, editing each other's posts, and leaving comments on each other's posts. Even in cases where no sockpuppet upvoting is taking place, an appearance is trying to be created of great community activity and interest surrounding the posts in question. This type of attention-drawing is based on deceit, is thoroughly obnoxious, and is inherently problematic.

Other problematic aspects include opening new accounts in response to other accounts being closed. In one case relevant here, an account named "mika" was (re)created after a same-named account was deleted, with the user openly saying so. Deletion can mean one of several things. One is that Community Management or site moderators have decided that the user is no longer welcome, in which case the user opening a new account is explicitly in violation of community moderation. Another is that the user is self-deleting the account voluntarily. But in this case as well, coming back again in a new form flouts the norms of this site, especially by enabling the user thereby to evade community moderation and policing. This is akin to question repetition, as when a user deletes his post and then asks again.

Still another problem -- more of a judgment call but nonetheless real -- is trollish behavior (sealioning, etc.). In my opinion, and in the opinion of other community members, there have been a few instances of that in the current circumstances, both at meta and at main.

In such cases, when the behavior becomes problematic and repeatedly so, we may have to clamp down a little harder. (Many of you will remember one or a very small band of users engaged in shenanigans a few years ago, with the main perpetrator now permanently banned from SE.) I don't have a problem per se with a user controlling a number of accounts -- as long as site policies and guidelines are not being flouted and deceit is not taking place. Otherwise I have a big problem with that.

Todd Trimble Mod
  • 50.5k
  • 4
  • 74
  • 112