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A user has been using multiple unregistered accounts (with the same name and the same avatar). For reference, the accounts I've been able to find are 8280, 8281, 8284, 8289, 8294, 8308, 8309, 8310, 8311, 8312, 8313, 8314, 8315, 8316, 8317, 8318, and 8319, but I expect more to be added soon.

If these were registered accounts, then a moderator could send an e-mail to the user and explain the correct use of the site (which is to use only a single account). But since these are unregistered accounts, I do not know how the user can be contacted privately.

I've been leaving some comments on a few of the user's answers saying that multiple accounts should not be used, but I don't think my comments had any effect.

My questions are:

Is this creation of at least 17 accounts (in the span of 8 days), presumably by the same user, an abuse of how the site is used? If so, then what can be done to stop it?

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Using (multiple) unregistered accounts is not in itself something that is against the SE platform's norms. If SE would not want to allow contributions of this form, it would be easy to enforce sign-up to contribute. Instead, it is considered a feature that one can contribute in passing.

What makes this particular case rather unusual is that there is a burst of answer posts, many of them legitimate, yet some are updates to earlier posts by what seems to be the same person under a different account, comments as answers etc.

That is, I agree it'd be much better if the person decided to sign up, and I proposed them to do so in comment. But, at the same time, I feel we should not force them to do so.

Of course, if they use the site in a way other than intended in a particular case, we need to take action. That is, convert answer-posts to comments if appropriate and so on.

Thus, I think the thing to do is just to continue to moderate on a per-post basis. If it the post is an actual answer, then it's fine. If it is something else, flag as appropriate.

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    $\begingroup$ of course, quid's answer is the reasonable one. My answer is my own. $\endgroup$ – James S. Cook Jul 14 '17 at 5:43
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I helped [guest] combine two non-answers into an answer on the question here: How can we focus students on the various data types in multivariable calculus?

Unfortunately [guest] now believes that it is reasonable to post two separate posts as [guest] and have someone friendly come by and combine the answers together, as seen here: A question about Vector Analysis problems.

To avoid further "if you give a mouse a cookie" style developments, I would recommend not being too much more helpful to this user, instead insisting on the creation of an account which would allow editing of answers and full participation in comment threads.

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    $\begingroup$ I would also like to be clear that while I feel the average quality of [guest]s answers is not extremely high, I also do not think it is extremely low. I think [guest]s account would have a solidly positive reputation if it existed. $\endgroup$ – Chris Cunningham Oct 5 '17 at 21:02
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It may not be against the sitewide policy, but, I for one will downvote such posts. Even I can figure out how to get and use a username. It's a small thing to expect. I find it far more offensive than questions that are "off-topic" or "too-localized" (thankfully, we have not attracted the gaming legalists the other stacks suffer regularly)

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    $\begingroup$ What is a gaming legalist? $\endgroup$ – Chris Cunningham Jul 14 '17 at 20:55
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    $\begingroup$ @ChrisCunningham Those who find the implementation of site rules as a sort of game. $\endgroup$ – James S. Cook Jul 14 '17 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ @James S. Cook: What do gaming legalists actually do? Argue about the rules? Try to get as close to the boundary as possible? Something else? $\endgroup$ – Peter Mortensen Jul 26 at 9:50

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