I've been active on this site for a while now, and I'm just wondering -- what is the deal with all the "guest" answers? Is this a single person who just re-registers for a new "guest" account every few days? I'm guessing there is someone knowledgeable out there who just enjoys interacting in this strange way with the site?

I've never noticed such behavior on other SE sites I've been active on. Is there a story behind this? Is this a particular user (as I assume) or a collection of people who for some reason prefer not to have more permanent accounts? A person who abandoned a registered account because they believed the system was stacked against them somehow? Or is this a sockpuppet of someone who logs out when they want to post a more blunt (and occasionally impolite) answer?

I know this may not be a significant concern, but I ask for a very practical reason that the "guest" accounts occasionally seem to reply to comments or interact, but often not. I don't know whether it's worthwhile giving feedback to these "guest" answers in the form of comments or replies or whatever. I also do believe in the SE model of voting answers up or down based on content, but there are some attitude concerns with the "guest" contributions that make me wonder whether I want to support this user with positive votes. SE seems mostly designed around the model where positive contributors are rewarded pseudonymously and accumulate reputation based on that. I'm just trying to understand how to interact with this nonstandard model for contributing to SE.

Perhaps no one knows more about this for certain, but I thought it couldn't hurt to ask, as "guest" is a pretty frequent and prominent contributor here.

  • 1
    That person, whoever he is, has given answers to quite a few of my questions. He is sometimes even the first one to answer a question of mine. I don't normally give him feedback by comments unless I don't understand something in the answer.
    – Caters
    Jan 16, 2020 at 2:17
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    It's been happening a while now (over a year an a half at least) very odd, most likely a former user who deleted their account for whatever reason. They have to be familiar enough with the system to immediately delete their account.
    – Dom Mod
    Jan 16, 2020 at 4:18
  • Same happens on Sound Design & occasionally Photography - it's a bit irritating but i guess there's little we can do about it.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 16, 2020 at 19:01
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    Are links still available? Jan 20, 2020 at 17:19
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    @EricDuminil here is a rough SEDE query to list recent answers by deleted users.
    – Andrew T.
    Jan 26, 2020 at 6:52
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    @Dom if this FAQ is up-to-date, then it might be possible (maybe a loophole?) that "a user with only 1 post with 0-or-positive score can immediately delete their account while leaving their post". As an aside, your mod power should be able to check the deleted user's activity history.
    – Andrew T.
    Jan 26, 2020 at 7:06

1 Answer 1


New Guest Lore

Well, I've recently had an encounter on one of my questions with this guest user. I can only presume from their comments that they are fully aware of what they are doing, and likely had a poor experience on the site prior to their current incorporeal state, from the tone of their comment when I brought up this meta post (that's the link in my comment). A standard message, and a seemingly hostile reaction...

Seems unlikely that they'll start posting from a regular account anytime, but hey, as long as they're contributing, who am I to complain?

Guest Encounter

  • 5
    Yeah that's not acceptable. That aggressive tone is one reason why accounts is important as if they just use another account we can't track this behavior. SE has been contacted.
    – Dom Mod
    Mar 16, 2020 at 13:26

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