Is sock puppeting (whereby people hold multiple personalities) an issue on Super user? OR, do people think, is this an issue on the Stack Exchange Network?

  • By "is it an issue" do you mean to ask if sock puppets exist or is having sock puppets a problem?
    – Sathyajith Bhat Mod
    Jun 16, 2011 at 9:46
  • Both, I suppose, do people think they exist or do people think they are a problem? Jun 16, 2011 at 9:49
  • I think on SU it's less of an issue, probably a bigger one on SO and MSO. And they are a problem, unfair rep gaming and ban evasion is not welcome here.
    – tombull89
    Jun 16, 2011 at 10:09
  • 3
    Only the ones we haven't found yet :-) The funny thing is, they can only vote-up so many times before getting caught, which is more trouble than you know, participating. So why bother with the sock puppet stuff?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jun 16, 2011 at 10:24
  • It is certainly not more trouble to use sock puppets than to participate. In fact, it is incredibly easy, to the point of being automated. A good user could make themselves as powerful as a moderator with subtle automation over a long period of time, and you would never know. In fact, it is possible that in any given situation, you are talking to several users who are all the same person, even in an argument.
    – user231946
    Jun 18, 2013 at 8:04
  • Also, this website WELCOMES unfair rep gaming and ban evasion. This website also welcomes high rep voting abuse, high rep clique trolling, psuedo-moderation, and a multitude of incredibly asinine security flaws and abusive methods.
    – user231946
    Jun 18, 2013 at 8:05

1 Answer 1


As Sathya comments, it depends on in what way do you mean? So let's break it in to two questions that Sathya suggestions:

Is owning a sockpuppet an issue?

Generally, it is a bad thing and any user found using multiple accounts to subvert or game the system, or bypass any restrictions, will have action taken to prevent that behaviour.

However, if you believe you have a genuinely acceptable reason for owning multiple accounts, then it would probably be a good idea to ask first. If the accounts never interact (at all, no votes, answering, commenting, etc; nothing, and seriously never) and aren't used to troll, spam or evade restrictions (such as question limits, suspension, etc) then it can be acceptable.

Do sockpuppets exist on Super User?

Not if we can find them.

And there's plenty of tools available to ♦s and the system that help us do exactly that.
But, for obvious reasons, I will not go into any detail about these.

  • One tool worth mentioning which is publicly known is automated: if an account gets too many upvotes (or downvotes) from any one account, the system automatically detects it as vote fraud, and those votes are removed and the user's reputation is recalculated. This of course doesn't just apply to sock puppets - it also applies to malicious repeat downvoters and overly helpful upvoters.
    – nhinkle
    Jun 16, 2011 at 14:59
  • 1
    IP-based is indeed only for mods, but e-mail-based is public. :) Jun 17, 2011 at 0:07

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