I am curious concerning policy concerning individuals which have previously held accounts which were subsequently destroyed, starting up new accounts at a later date. It seems like this might be something along the lines of what video gamers call an 'exploit'. If a user gets a bunch of downvotes, or perhaps suspensions for plagiarism or voting irregularities, destroys their own account or has it destroyed by the system , then they can start over with a 'clean slate'? Since it seems punishment's (suspensions) are dealt on a scale according to the number of offenses, then the old offenses aren't held against them anymore?

I have noticed our troll reappears with new account name on a periodic basis, sometimes even registering instead of just trolling as an unregistered user, and these accounts are subsequently destroyed.

I know we users aren't privy to some of the moderator level information, and destroyed accounts never reveal (to my understanding) the reason why the account was destroyed (user initiated or 'Community/moderator initiated).

Sorry if I am rambling, but I guess the main query is two-fold:

Is there some policy concerning a former user restarting with a new account?


Is there a situational difference in this policy dependent on if the account was system destroyed for violations or if the destruction was at the users request (say someone was upset over oppressive new policies and wanted to not participate any more and have their user name removed in protest...)

To be clear, I am not asking about two users with the same username, but a user who reappears after an old account (which may have had violations against it) is destroyed and assumes a 'new identity'.

I looked into some 'higher level' meta discussions of the subject, and these showed up:

Users should not be able to wipe their record by requesting account deletion and then recreating the account [duplicate]

Automatically suspend accounts recreated after a moderator deleted the original


Ironically enough, @T.E.D.s' response

I don't know that there is any policy about this, and I'm not sure its happened enough for there to need to be one.

may have been a case of foreshadowing.

It appears to me that another ex-user whose account had been suspended and then eventually deleted seems to have reappeared. This one, (user26763 after account deletion) was suspended for low quality contributions, and the returned account does not appear to show any improvement; still refusing to properly cite or provide sources and updating information in comments instead of using site provided features and editing the answer.
(Another re-visitation to a question the user previously answered here)

One occurrence, just a novelty, an inconvenience. But now two in as many months; perhaps a policy may be needed?

  • What we need is a policy stating that sources are required (as I believe is the case at Skeptics). There are far too many low quality answers here, and many (most even?) are not the result of low quality questions as is often asserted by some users (though it is certainly true that we have too many low quality questions as well). Commented Apr 21, 2021 at 3:42
  • Agreed. Every time I look at this individuals posts however, I often see several other posts, (some upvoted), which also lack sources...Some of our upper level users also disdain the use of sources as well...It makes enforcement difficult without appearing biased.
    – justCal
    Commented Apr 21, 2021 at 4:05
  • "Every time I look at this individuals posts however, I often see several other posts, (some upvoted), which also lack sources". Yes, I noticed that too, and one can hardly expect new or low rep users to cite sources when they see that some high rep ones don't. I'm wondering if it's worth the effort trying to change our policy on sources...there will be quite a lot of resistance I fear. Commented Apr 21, 2021 at 5:11

1 Answer 1


Honestly, I don't know that there is any policy about this, and I'm not sure its happened enough for there to need to be one.

In fact, I think its quite possible for two accounts to have the same name.

I think there was once an issue elsewhere on the site about someone using that to impersonate a famous user (Jeff Atwood, IIRC), but I don't remember that being a problem here.

I have seen at least one instance on another site where a former mod who ragequit during the Monica drama later came back with a new account using the same name after they cooled off (and are currently running in that site's moderator election). Its a little confusing, but strikes me as something that should be allowed.

That being said, if its the Troll I'm thinking of, you may be misunderstanding what's happening. We just had this same discussion about this same person in the private moderator chat.

There is one particular troll who has made themselves such a network-wide pest that they've earned a unique level of attention from SE network mods.

This site was one of the troll's (shockingly many) favorite victims. Enough so that they were likely one of the main reasons we went to 4 mods rather than 3. Sempaiscuba was particularly good at ferreting out which new accounts were the troll's new socks, and we'd generally as mods destroy those accounts (cue sound effect of woodchipper).

Recently (like the past year or so), I've been noticing their original account reappearing on content (some of it new, some old). What appears to be going on here is that SE mods are now also on the hunt for this troll's socks. When they find one, instead of firing up the wood chipper like we'd do here, they instead merge the sock account with the troll's main account. The effect of this is that the offending sock account automatically suspended until after the North West administration, and that posts it made now show up with the main account name instead of the sock's name.

I can see why they'd prefer to do that. Its possible (although highly unlikely) that the sock actually posted some good content somewhere on the network that an individual site wanted to keep. Just throwing the sock in the chipper like we do also deletes all its posts and comments.

My suggestion going forward is if you see an old undeleted post from this individual appear, vote to delete it and/or flag it for deletion.

  • 1
    To clarify, my concerns are over a new account under a different user name, but if you are familiar with the Unibomber case, it is pretty easy to tell it is the same user from a deleted account. The system seems to be handling THE troll, thats not the real concern of the query, but a concrete example of an occurance of the issue.
    – justCal
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 16:24
  • Ah well, we here don't usually destroy accounts unless they are seriously problematic. Either their very first post was bad faith and offensive or spam, or its a sock created to get around a ban. Neither really seems to apply to what you are asking about.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 16:27
  • 1
    Now if someone deletes their account themselves, and then later regrets that and creates a new one with the same name, I think this answer does cover that right above the divider.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 16:29
  • 1
    Right. That does address the second portion of the question. But we users cant tell a ragequit from a system destruction. So we can't tell if an old user reappearing should be ok or not. (I'll drop a flag and you guys can decide.)
    – justCal
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 16:37
  • @justCal - I don't know that we volunteer mods can tell the difference either. I suppose if the person supplied the same PII we theoretically could, but that would assume we knew to save the PII from the deleted account prior to its deletion to check against. Getting rid of cached copies of an account's PII realistically is the entire point behind deleting an account, rather than just abandoning it.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 18:00
  • 1
    Thanks for looking into it....
    – justCal
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 18:09

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