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I was quite surprised to see this:

https://unix.stackexchange.com/users/22565/st%C3%A9phane-chazelas

https://unix.stackexchange.com/users/89316/ste%CC%81phane-chazelas

OK, that's funny: Now it doesn't look like the same any more. When I copied just the name part from the URL and pasted it into my shell it was the same. Probably some UTF encoding stuff, missing normalization or the like?

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    tl;dr yes. – Braiam Dec 17 '14 at 16:04
  • See here for why. – Stéphane Chazelas Dec 18 '14 at 21:33
  • @StéphaneChazelas Maybe I am not the only one who gets confused. You could simply add a "This is a clone of that account" and this link to its user page. – Hauke Laging Dec 19 '14 at 1:25
  • Which prompts the question, "Is it ok to have two (or more) accounts? And what is the limit?" (that would seem to invite abuse) – ChuckCottrill Dec 30 '14 at 18:06
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Yes, there can be multiple accounts with the same name.

You can choose any name you want as long as:

  • it isn't offensive (e.g. stuffing insults into your user name will cause moderators to forcibly rename you and suspend you);
  • you aren't impersonating someone. (Terms of service §4: “Under no circumstances will Subscriber use the Network or the Service to (…) (c) create a false identity or to impersonate another person”.)

Impersonation implies an element of confusion. It's ok to use the same username as someone else — for example, there are many users who go by their first name alone, which triggers many collisions, and that's fine. It's not ok to use someone's name and avatar: that shows a deliberate attempt to pass for another user.

Stéphane Chazelas (the original) writes his username with the Unicode character U+00E9 LATIN SMALL LETTER E WITH ACUTE. Stéphane Chazelas (the newcomer) uses U+0065 LATIN SMALL LETTER E followed by U+0301 COMBINING ACUTE ACCENT. These are two ways to encode the same text in Unicode.

Note that in this case, the newcomer is the same person as the original, so this is not a case of impersonation. It's ok for someone to have two accounts as long as the accounts don't interact (no voting on each other's posts, etc.) — it's tricky to carry out, and the Stack Exchange team declines responsibility if the accounts end up being merged, but it isn't against the rules.

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  • So why haven't the moderators done anything about that? Or have they? Has he himself made a second account? And why am I asking you this instead of him and the moderators... – Hauke Laging Dec 17 '14 at 23:50
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    @HaukeLaging Why haven't the moderators done anything about what? I don't see anything actionable here. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Dec 17 '14 at 23:55
  • Haven't you just told me that "It's not ok to use someone's name and avatar"? So is there a sophisticated difference between "not OK" and "actionable"? – Hauke Laging Dec 18 '14 at 0:23
  • @HaukeLaging It's ok if it's the same person doing it! It's not impersonation then. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Dec 18 '14 at 0:25

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