This user:
enter image description here

is imitating this user:
enter image description here

(at least I think so.... if not - why?)

The same name is even allowed, which is annoying and confusing.

So how come this is even allowed when signing up? I don't mean anything about enforcing names, just it would be nice to not have tonnes of users with pretty much the same credentials... Something like a thing that prompts the user signing up with similar stuff to use a different name and stuff...

On most online things such as this you usually have to call yourself Username.122314141414 or something, but here you can get a few users with the same display name... It is nice feature being able to pick what you want, but there probably has to be regulation somewhere?

  • 1
    Of course impersonation isn't allowed. Users on SE are, however, identified by ID not by their name. After all, two users could have the same real name, why should they not be allowed to use that name?
    – user98085
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 17:27
  • 2
    Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/25404/…
    – user98085
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 17:28
  • That's sort of the problem - I think there are lots of users called 'Alex' etc, and they can happily use that as their name - it is just problems occur with this sort of thing, where the name + pic are roughly the same... I dunno, really. It is annoying on other sites having to be called User2224 or whatever... There is this as well...
    – Wilf
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 17:28
  • I'm not sure what your problem is, really. Flag any of the user's posts for moderator attention, and they'll suspend the fake. There won't be a blanket ban on this, however.
    – user98085
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 17:31
  • I don't really have a problem with it, just puzzled why there does not seem to be an attempt at a better solution...
    – Wilf
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 17:33
  • Well, suggest a better solution, then. This is the kind of thing that's best handled manually (because there's inherently personal user information involved) - it might just take a while.
    – user98085
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 17:34
  • that is not the only one... i.sstatic.net/unLhf.png
    – Mateo
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 17:35
  • @Mateo - weird ain't it - I think they take advantage of blade*'s user name having lots of numbers in it.
    – Wilf
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 17:37
  • 6
    imitation is the sincerest form of flattery Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 18:03
  • 1
    Question: How do you flag a user if they've no posts?
    – kiri
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 23:30
  • @minerz029 - I think the user I was reffering to currently has no user
    – Wilf
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 23:32
  • 1
    @Wilf: The user you referenced has been deleted. I'm asking about in future.
    – kiri
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 23:34
  • why not use imagemagick to check avatars for equivalence.If both name and avatar is same, we should suggest user to change one. Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 5:59
  • @adityapatil Nice thought - they could be scaled to the same size to counteract the different sizes of image (as that is why the top pic is blurry) - though there could be varying issues with that... also what if two similar emails/IDs (I think that is what they are based on...) encode similar images? (the ones like this)
    – Wilf
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 6:15
  • 1
    @MarcoCeppi "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"? I don't think one should be flattered by the action of a bot...
    – don.joey
    Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 10:51

1 Answer 1


There's a difference between imitation and just having the same name.

  • Unintentional coincidence

    Example: 2 people named John who create an account with the same display name. The profile picture will most likely be different.

    This is the case when two users just happen to use the same name, and is completely OK.

  • Intentional impersonation

    Example: 10 blade19899's with the exact same name and profile picture.

    This is not allowed and the imitators should be flagged with an appropriate message in "other (needs ♦ moderator attention)".

    This is supported by the SE Content Policy:

    If you are found to be in violation of any of the below policies, you will receive a notice via email. Unless you explain or correct your behavior within 72 hours, your account will be suspended. We will do our best to work with you and ensure a fair outcome in all cases. We reserve the right to immediately suspend, without notice, any content, account, or IP address which we determine to be submitting spam or potentially other damaging or disruptive content the Network.

    [ ... ]

    Identity Theft and Privacy. Users that misleadingly appropriate the identity of another person are not permitted. [ ... ]

  • 6
    Earlier this week there was a new user who's name was "Jeff Atwood". I thought that was a funny coincidence.
    – Seth
    Commented Feb 16, 2014 at 15:51
  • Excellent answer. This could be the canonical answer for future and past dupes.
    – don.joey
    Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 10:53

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