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Forums: Index > Wiki discussion > DB:Defining "abusing multiple accounts"

I reckon it's time we talk about a more clear definition of what exactly "abusing multiple accounts" is. There is little in Wikia's ToU about this, and our own policies are vague. There is nothing specifically in ToU or our policies saying you may not have a multiple accounts. In some cases, we allow them. When do we define this as "abusive"?

The most obvious reason for blocking/banning someone abusing multiple accounts is sockpuppeting to avoid a ban/block. This one is pretty clear cut, but not specifically detailed. There may well be other reasons. Wikia's ToU states that you may not create an account to "impersonate another user or person". How exactly does one define "another person" in that? What about instances like users creating another account to troll? To pretend to be a female, when they are a male? We've had that. I would like to see some discussion on what we should define "abusing multiple accounts" as, so we are on a more clear footing when dealing with blocks for suspect account behavior. The Gunny  380px-USMC-E7 svg


  • Why would any one need more than one user name on the same site?

I think it should be understood we are all using user names. I would use my real name Casper but every site I go to has already got folks claiming it.

  • IMO abuse is far more related to what Gunny said. Sock puppetry but I would add Intentionally not logging in. Yeah some times we all forget or do not notice but doing it on purpose to appear as an anon... That is deception. I speak only for my self but I would rather be burned for my at times controversial personal opinions than to cower as an anon. I have one account and that is all I need.
  • I am me.

SaintPain TinySaintPainThat was broke afore I got here." 20:44, May 15, 2013 (UTC)

Well, unless you have a compelling reason (for a bot, humour account, etc), I don't think there's much need for a second account... Which is hard to reconcile with assuming good faith - Unless you're making it extremely obvious as to what your identity is, You must be trying to cover something up right? Maybe its nothing big, no bans but a reputation you earned but would like to forget - but to some people I can understand how such a deception can be considered abuse - It's potentially an abuse of trust. This is something I think needs a lot more discussion. Agent c (talk) 23:44, April 14, 2013 (UTC)

Coming from experience, i would say that abusing multiple accounts what be what i did. Hiding your real identity on the internet is commonplace and putting in fake details happens worldwide so people can have fun in places like this without worrying. Making an account to avoid a ban or perm block is abusing multiple accounts. I would say making another account to troll with one other account already in use is not abusing, but making a mess and keeping your identity. If the troll gets discovered and goes back to their old account to avoid block/ban that would be abusing multiple accounts regardless of which one was made first (if that makes sense). --Unknown-7 "Broadcasting: Retro Radiation King" 00:01, April 15, 2013 (UTC)

I'm sorry, this is a very clear an obvious case of abuse. Trolling is against the rules, end of. If you have a second account to troll, you're effectively circumventing a ban - or will be as soon as you get banned for trolling. You've got the second account in complete bad faith. Agent c (talk) 00:14, April 15, 2013 (UTC)

This is actually almost exactly what I was meaning earlier, Gunny. Defining more accurately what is or is not flexibility. There are cases that properly defining this would make it clear to all sysops that this is a rule, so there is no confusion about certain cases. Myself, I don't find any harm in modifying the rule to be a bit more specific, it's sort of a "might as well" sort of thing. My main reason for feeling so strongly I have to admit, is personal experience from seeing people being betrayed by people who claim to be one person and later being discovered to being a totally different person. I personally think the best way to deal with this situation would be to ask all people with a second account to make it clear that it is their second account, either by telling an admin or by putting it on their userpage. If they are trying to start over, I can understand why this would be a difficult choice for them to make, but they could easily tell a neutral admin about their situation so nothing comes of it.
With what Retro said above, keeping information anonymous I don't think would be an issue with this, you never have to give information to people even on a first account. - Chris 4 Star Dragon Ball Edit 00:06, April 15, 2013 (UTC)

I would also like to suggest there to be a amnesty period of sorts, so that users who do have more than one account can make themselves known to an admin or to post it on their userpage. It seems most fair to give them the ability to come forth with no punishment. - Chris 4 Star Dragon Ball Edit 00:10, April 15, 2013 (UTC)

I'm not clear on your position. Are you defining all alternate accounts as "abusing"? If not, then under what circumstances would you consider them to be "abusing"? The Gunny  380px-USMC-E7 svg 00:14, April 15, 2013 (UTC)
I myself would define abusing as making an alternate account in which they did not make it clear that they had an original account, whether they did that by publicly putting it on their userpage, or telling an admin in private. - Chris 4 Star Dragon Ball Edit 00:24, April 15, 2013 (UTC)

I have a fake name on my profile, does that mean i am impersonating another person if they coincidentally had that name? Bring Down the Sky (talk) 00:16, April 15, 2013 (UTC)

No. If however you registered an account of say, Limeygirl and started theatening to ban people, then you'd have something to worry about. Agent c (talk) 00:33, April 15, 2013 (UTC)

I'm going to throw my metaphorical hat in with Chad on this one. Multiple accounts can be of use to some users (bots, separate wiki accounts, et cetera.) but beyond those reasons I can see a very clear issue, that whenever a normal account is banned we would be completely unaware of any secondary accounts, not without IP checking every new user versus every current user. If the user shows that they have a second account, and the second account makes a response to acknowledge that, then a system could easily recognise both accounts and ban both if an event occurred where either account were to break rules. By not telling us of a second account, then using that second account as though it were a different user, is a complete betrayal of trust and adds to the problems previously mentioned.

The idea that I would propose, for most, would be that any secondary account must be made public and a link to that account added to the first account's talk page / user page. This way whenever a ban is implemented the staff member can see all secondary accounts owned by the banned user and ban those as well. If you are found to have a secondary account and have not added such a link or alert to this within a preset time period (to give the user time to setup their secondary account and to fit it in with proposed guidelines), then the secondary account is perma-banned from the wiki. This may seem extreme, but the main account is still active and only reflects as a warning to that person. Neko-signature Archmage NekoNeko's Haunt 01:30, April 16, 2013 (UTC)

I agree with you 100% Neko. - Chris 4 Star Dragon Ball Edit 01:33, April 16, 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Neko also. Enclavesymbol 04:24, April 16, 2013 (UTC)

To me, abusing multiple accounts comes into play in a number of circumstance. First and foremost, if the other account's soul purpose is that of malice - such as trolling and/or evading bans - then this is 100 percent a case of abusing multiple accounts. After this though I think the border grays a little. We know fall to the abusing aspect. I feel abuse comes into play after any user feels they have been, cheated, harmed, or taken advantage of. Say for example a user creates another account, then uses that account to ask people feelings or any other factors relating to the first account, and they truthfully tell. Then though it is discover that the second account is an alternate of the first. I would then classify this as abuse as the other user(s) was/were taken advantage of people they were not aware of these accounts being one and the same. I know that defining abuse really would/will be hard. So in the end, I feel that the specific cases should be looked at on a case by case way and should be discussed by users (Mods, Admins, anyone else actually involved) to great length. One note I must add though is I feel that abusing multiple accounts should be treated as any other rule as (except by-passing bans of course) the first case would result in both accounts with a 3 day ban. Then second week as is accustom. Only if the alternate account is to evade a ban should I feel perma-bans should be given for abusing multiple accounts. --The Old World Relics (talk/blog/contributions) 01:50, April 16, 2013 (UTC)

IMO a second account is fine as long as it is clear that it is a second account and who it is of; this would mean having the second account's name on the first accounts user page and vise versa. Having a second account without anyone knowing it's a second account can make it problematic to moderate chat; for example if there's a user who is know to push the mods but not to the point of it being ban worth then we'll need to keep an eye on him, but if he can just make second accounts and enter chat under a new name then that'll make things hard. Plus, if they have a second account made in May and the 1st account is banned in June it makes it much harder to spot a sock, think of this as protection from such events. JASPER//"Do you like hurting other people?"UserRichard 19:49, April 17, 2013 (UTC)

Summary so far

We're defining "abuse" of a second account here. Not whether they are allowed or not. I'm trying to clarify a rule already in place, not create a new one. So far I've gathered from the forum these two basic definitions:

  • Any second account that is not publicly declared and displayed on your user page is "abuse".
  • Any second account used to evade bans/blocks, , troll, flame, vandalize, impersonate others or defraud by deceit is "abuse".

Which one is it? Would defining abuse as the second one obviate the requirement of the first to declare other accounts? Or does the second one not go far enough, even though Wikia's and our own policies state that we're supposed to assume good faith. By those policies we can't assume they will act in bad faith with multiple accounts, unless we determine that simply having multiple accounts is acting in bad faith. The Gunny  380px-USMC-E7 svg 01:57, April 18, 2013 (UTC)

This has gotten no response. We're at a bit of a stuck point, with the split in views. I don't want this to drop, so I'd appreciate so input on the two points above:

Straw poll

I agree that multiple accounts that are not publicly declared should be declared "abuse"

Icon check in general, unless there is an exceptional reason to the contrary. Agent c (talk) 01:21, May 7, 2013 (UTC)

Icon check Multiple accounts that are not publicly declared & clearly understood as such should be declared abuse.

IMO SaintPain TinySaintPainThat was broke afore I got here." 15:29, May 8, 2013 (UTC)

Icon check I believe in both, but this sort of encompasses what is below. If the user has their name displayed than it could be seen if they are using it to evade a ban or such. - Chris 4 Star Dragon Ball Edit 02:21, May 11, 2013 (UTC)

Icon check Agree with my main saiyan, Chris. JASPER//"Do you like hurting other people?"UserRichard 21:53, May 15, 2013 (UTC)

I agree that only multiple accounts used for nefarious means should be declared "abuse"

  • Icon check I'm more inline with this. --The Old World Relics (talk/blog/contributions) 01:23, May 7, 2013 (UTC)
  • Icon check Absolutely. --Sign243Talk 15:15, May 8, 2013 (UTC)
  • Icon check I have declared my thoughts over this matter below. ForGaroux Some Assembly Required! 20:05, May 15, 2013 (UTC)
  • Icon check Non-nefarious usage of another "un-declared" account is not a significant issue nor does it have any effects that would fit the definition of "abuse." --Skire (talk) 22:04, May 15, 2013 (UTC)


Just wondering if we came to a conclusion here, as I note someone was banned yesterday for using multiple accounts when they had not been previously banned; I refrained under the understanding that no determination had yet been made; I make no comment on the user themselves. Agent c (talk) 18:25, May 15, 2013 (UTC)

We do not seem to have come to a consensus. The views are split along the lines I've detailed above. The user you speak of was banned from chat by an admin, but ended up being site banned by me because their IP linked them to another account I had banned earlier in the day for insults. My site ban for a known sockpuppet overrides the chat ban placed earlier for a suspected sockpuppet. I would suggest to admins that we not prematurely ban users until we get confirmation of a sockpuppet, or clear intent to troll/flame, etc.
As for this topic, since there's no consensus, the only way it looks like we are going to come to a conclusion is through a rule vote. My only question is do others think this issue is serious enough to go through a vote? If only one or two users think this is a serious enough problem, I don't believe we have the mandate to make/rewrite the rule. I mean there were only 5 editors who even voted in the straw poll. Speak now, or forever hold your peace. The Gunny  380px-USMC-E7 svg 19:49, May 15, 2013 (UTC)
No offence meant. Sorry, didnt know about the insults thing, must have been a third account. Agent c (talk) 20:44, May 15, 2013 (UTC)

There's nothing wrong with holding multiple accounts over Wikia. Hell, I have two other accounts on Wikia that most people around here have no idea about, with one now being owned by my little brother. Even if I was a new user, that's not a reason to hold me suspect or for others to instigate bad-faith actions.

  • If I suspect a user who has broken our policies has come back as a sock-puppet, even if they themselves say that they're a sock-puppet, proof needs to be brought forth first before taking action. For all we know, they could just be lying/trolling. For instance, if a user came into chat and began spamming, and then said they were a sock of Chad. (Or a less known user, for that matter.) Should we believe that at face-value and possibly ban someone innocent?
  • Pretending to be of another sex or person outside of Wikia should not matter. If someone here is willing to believe someone stating their gender or identity, and then taking that further, such as online dating, then that is their own business, until it begins affecting our actual wiki or chat feature. However, if a user impersonates another user on Wikia, especially that of Staff or those with other special rights, then actions should be taken, just as we always have.
  • I've actually been threatened with a sock-puppet ban before because I was forced to comment and vote as an anon for a short period of time. Coming to Wikia as an anonymous user is never a case of sock-puppeting. This includes if one never states their actual Wikia identity. If someone wishes to remain anonymous, then so be it. If need be, we do have the tools available to dig further into who is who.
  • Am I missing anything else? Let me know if I am, and I'll see about addressing those points, too. ForGaroux Some Assembly Required! 20:03, May 15, 2013 (UTC)

I have 2 wiki accounts but I only use one here. I can't see why the issue should reach beyond this site ?

  • Here I am SaintPain and as long as y'all tolerate me or until I die that is who I shall be. I could not enjoy any friendships or honorable rivals as a poser. SaintPain TinySaintPainThat was broke afore I got here." 21:38, May 15, 2013 (UTC)
If its not brought into our wiki, then it remains out of our juristiction.... Agent c (talk) 21:52, May 15, 2013 (UTC)

I suggest we bring this forward in a vote that wraps up a few other minor housekeeping issues, such as the "Make an edit before you vote" rule. Any otehr suggestions? Agent c (talk) 11:14, May 30, 2013 (UTC)

The only problem I see is when folks use more than one account to vote or post in a discussion to make it "appear" more than an individual has expressed one opinion.

  • Multiple representations equals intentional false representation.

SaintPain TinySaintPainThat was broke afore I got here." 03:50, June 27, 2013 (UTC)

Sad point of fact. I do not know if this is just an anon OR an anonymous stalker is this a person I have met on line or not?

  • Folks should just be a member or not.

Is it creapy enough? I don't do it. That is a fair scale ~;P

  • Come on you have to be able to understand this plot twist. The only folks who need multiple accouts to say the same thing again are trolls. Act like a troll I call you a Troll. that is fair.
  • One account one user name. Be your self.

I am on topic and clear as a bell here. NO ONE needs to cheat. Folks choose to.

SaintPain TinySaintPainThat was broke afore I got here." 05:53, June 27, 2013 (UTC)

The stalker's name can't be posted it is hidden behind an IP code. It is not a user name. It is just hidden code that is easily forgotten or move / changed from location to location, Mc Donalds, The cyber bar.. OH no I did not spam you with porn that was my little sister on my lap top.. Yada yada.

6 9 . 1 2 5 . 1 3 4 . 1 9 0

If you can't care enough to get an account you don't care enough. Don't post on my page in disguise. It disrespects you far more than me.

Have ONE account use it and if you forget to sign in just come back and say sorry.

SaintPain TinySaintPainThat was broke afore I got here." 06:02, June 27, 2013 (UTC)

Um, SaintPain, pretty much everyone knows who that user is. He's been doing a large number of extremely useful edits around the wiki and has been even helping people with personal requests. He's extremely trusted around here now, honestly I trust his edits far more than I trust yours. Just because he pointed out the, abundant, errors in your edits doesn't mean he's "stalking" you. Paladin117>>iff bored; 13:24, June 27, 2013 (UTC)

The 69 Anon is as Paladin indicated a trusted anon. We know not who s/he is, or why they won't make an account, but their edits have been time and time again proven to be correct, and from the GECK. All we know for sure is they seem to be pretty hot with it. Agent c (talk) 15:26, June 27, 2013 (UTC)

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