You may have seen this: a new user asks a story-identification question, then a second (also new) account gives the answer (or confirms an existing answer, though usually this deleted and transferred to a comment). There is reason to believe that these two accounts are the same person for one or more of the following reasons:
- The second account acts like they asked the question, such as by saying “Thanks for helping me find the answer to my question”.
- There are varying degrees of this. Sometimes the user even explicitly admits they lost the first account
- They have similar/identical usernames
- They have the same profile picture
- When this is an automatically generated Gravatar, this means the same email was used for both accounts, though a mismatch between Gravatars doesn’t necessarily mean the emails are different
- Moderator-only information matches between the accounts (IP, email, or something else I don’t know about?)
Most of these answers are also upvoted by the community as a good match.
I already ask the user to merge their accounts when I have any reason to suspect they’ve created a second account but it’s rare that any of them stick around or respond. Beyond this, there’s not anything that even a moderator can or should do.
What reasons, if any, are strong enough for us to allow questions like this to be closed (or closed against) as a duplicate? The current policy (Closing Story-Ident questions as duplicates (where there's no acceptance)) doesn’t address this.
It’s pretty rare that this happens and a suitable duplicate also exists, but it does happen. For example, a question was recently asked and has an accepted answer but I’m not sure if this is a suitably accepted duplicate: Book series my dad told me about. It involves space travel, clones, and an indigenous people with kangaroo tails