Frequently Asked Questions

This is a single FAQ from the MetaFilter FAQ.

Can I have more than one account? Can I change accounts?

The guiding principle here is that we expect you to have one main identity on the entire site, at a given time. It's not okay to pretend to be multiple people. Lots of detail in this MetaTalk post.

Changing to a new primary account:
- If you need to move to a new account name, it is okay (in most cases) to open a new account and close the old one. Often people will note on their userpage who they used to be, but it's not required. Note, this kind of account switch was allowed as a courtesy for people who felt strongly that their old name wasn't okay anymore, but it should not be abused. Contact the mods if you have questions.
- Some previously banned users may be allowed to open a Brand New Day (BND) account. This is only okay if the new account is not causing the same problems as the old account. Please contact the mods if you are unclear on this.

Second accounts:
Having a second active account (known as a sock puppet) is generally discouraged, but is allowed as a courtesy for two purposes:
- Privacy, for example asking an occasional question on a sensitive topic or giving an answer in Ask MetaFilter that is not linked to your primary account
- Jokey comments from clearly one-off joke accounts, for example usernames like baby jesus or Official Mefi Head Complainer

It is against the rules to use a sock puppet account:
- to get around the time limitations for AskMe, MeFi and MeTa posts. The time limits are per-person, not per-account.
- to harass other members or otherwise be an asshole on the site
- to comment with more than one account in a single thread, hop between accounts arbitrarily, or otherwise appear to be using multiple accounts to seem like two separate people

People who violate the rules for sock puppet accounts will risk losing the sock puppet account, getting a time out on their main account, and/or having the relevant questions, posts, or comments removed. While moderators generally know which accounts are sock puppets, they will not reveal that information to users. That said, it is the responsibility of the user to maintain the privacy of that account if they want it to remain private. If your behavior with a second account is problematic, the mods will close that account if you do not curtail the problem behavior promptly yourself. Ask a moderator if you have questions about when it's okay to have a second account.
(tags: ) April 20, 2006 - back to questions