I'm suggesting a feature to be used by puzzling groups that consist of multiple users who wish to create and post under the group/company/site name.

Joint accounts obviously bring up problems such as attribution and spam, with no simple way to solve, as seen here: Publishing puzzles both on Puzzling.SE and elsewhere

There's been other examples of people questioning it also: Avoiding Plagiarism and Spam

This problem has even brought up new discussions, about the results it caused: How do we move past the absence of our top contributor?

I believe this could adequately resolve problems like this. People could go to the group accounts profile and see that the puzzles come from a group of puzzlers as a whole, possibly a SINGLE link on their profile, (which I know you guys are okay with, there's a site section on the profile)! This way you solve attribution by linking to the site, and it's not spam because you don't have to attribute in EVERY question.

Win-win right?

  • $\begingroup$ What's the fine print? There's something very sideways with "Win-win right?" Provided this was doable/allowable, would this result in something cliquish that would eventually morph into "gated communities? Or are you just saying "Team So and So Proudly Presents" ? If the latter then that could be neat with the possibility of team competitions and such. $\endgroup$ – moonbutt74 Sep 3 '15 at 19:55
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    $\begingroup$ @moonbutt74 I'm saying let's provide a way for groups (for example Riddler's Den, the one rand al'thor was associated with), a way to show off puzzles under the name of their group, instead of individual people. To prevent attributions/spam problems in the future, $\endgroup$ – warspyking Sep 3 '15 at 20:03
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    $\begingroup$ I'd also recommend a list of "puzzlers" who are part of the group, who also have separate Puzzling accounts for themselves, on the profile. To help fight using group accounts for gaming the rep system. $\endgroup$ – warspyking Sep 3 '15 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, rather than a reorganiztion of "stuff" in PSE how about the creation of one Proper account under the chosen monicker that the team can access, meaning issuing the login credentials amongst yourselves without needing to change anything on PSE's end? Note that would include an "official email point of contact. $\endgroup$ – moonbutt74 Sep 3 '15 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ @moonbutt74 It would have to be anew type of profile specifically for groups to make that easier, hence feature-request $\endgroup$ – warspyking Sep 3 '15 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, i was just spit-balling alternatives. $\endgroup$ – moonbutt74 Sep 3 '15 at 20:37

I'm not clear what problem you are trying to solve. Attribution is not required when a user posts content here and elsewhere. So if you wrote a puzzle that you want to reuse, no matter where the puzzle was first published, feel free to just do so: it's your content.

Meanwhile, the self-promotion requirement is mostly around to avoid situations where someone secretly benefits financially from a post. On Stack Overflow, we get occasional users who answer questions with thinly disguised links to their own consulting services. It's off-putting.

Over time, the guidelines have evolved:

  • If you want to advertise your services, do it in your profile.
  • If your post is meaningfully improved by a link to your site, go ahead and use it. Just be sure to disclose your affiliation.
  • If you find yourself adding a disclosure to a substantial portion of your posts, you're clearly here for the wrong reasons.
  • If you still are getting pushback from the community, it's in your best interest to stop pushing the boundaries.

None of these guidelines would change if "group profiles" were blessed.

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    $\begingroup$ But the puzzle WASN'T wrote by the guy who posted it, it was wrote by another person in that group. $\endgroup$ – warspyking Sep 4 '15 at 0:15
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    $\begingroup$ @warspyking: The whole attribution angle is a red herring. Attribution is all about respecting the author of a puzzle. We want to avoid a situation where someone takes credit for a puzzle they had nothing to do with. If a group is working together to write a puzzle, it's really up to them who publishes it. It's not really this community's problem to decide who actually wrote the thing. There's certainly no need to create a special user. $\endgroup$ – Jon Ericson Sep 4 '15 at 0:32
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    $\begingroup$ That's good to know! Recently rand al'thor got suspended precisely for not realizing that. He thought he had to attribute the group itself! We could've avoided the problem altogether. I believe he knows this now though $\endgroup$ – warspyking Sep 4 '15 at 0:38
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    $\begingroup$ @warspyking: I would submit that the suspension you are referring to is considerably more complicated than that. $\endgroup$ – Jon Ericson Sep 4 '15 at 0:44
  • $\begingroup$ Is it? How is it so? $\endgroup$ – warspyking Sep 4 '15 at 0:46
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    $\begingroup$ @warspyking: Long suspensions are usually the result of an accumulation of unaddressed problems. They are hardly ever the result of a simple misunderstanding on the part of either the user or the moderators. When there is a misunderstanding, it's usually cleared up rather quickly in the private communication between the moderators and the user. You can safely assume that long suspensions are more complicated than they appear on the surface. $\endgroup$ – Jon Ericson Sep 4 '15 at 1:17
  • $\begingroup$ Why would problems go unaddressed for so long? $\endgroup$ – warspyking Sep 4 '15 at 1:18
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    $\begingroup$ @warspyking Jon means unaddressed by the now-suspended user, after several warnings from moderators. So why they went unaddressed would be a question for the suspended user. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Sep 4 '15 at 2:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Kevin Oh ${}{}$ $\endgroup$ – warspyking Sep 4 '15 at 3:49
  • $\begingroup$ How come none of the mods knew that non-individual accounts aren't allowed and, given the users' (plural) openness and obvious good faith, didn't simply write to them saying "Sorry, non-individual accounts aren't allowed - please see the terms and conditions of subscription. If you wish to suggest a change to the Ts and Cs, please write to (whoever at the company is the right person)"? $\endgroup$ – h34 Sep 25 '15 at 11:18
  • $\begingroup$ @JonEricson - What has "usually" got to do with the suspension referred to? And why would what was "usual" mean we could "safely assume" something? I know this is a puzzling site, but in relation to this affair cryptic language is not called for. Unless you say otherwise, it seems you accept that the stated reasons for the suspension do not justify the suspension. In any context, that will not stand up and is sufficient to show an abuse of position by the suspenders. (I strongly expect this comment will get downvoted by the Courageous Blackballers of the Night :-) ). $\endgroup$ – h34 Sep 25 '15 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ @h34: Let me put this bluntly: The details of a suspension are not the sort of thing we encourage moderators to talk about. Suspended users have no way to defend themselves against accusations in public because their accounts are blocked from participation. For more information about this issue, please see: Avoid the Streisand Effect - be clear about the reason when suspending an account. $\endgroup$ – Jon Ericson Sep 25 '15 at 23:58
  • $\begingroup$ @JonEricson - You didn't answer my questions, whether bluntly or delicately. It seems to me that the reference to the Streisand Effect is a case of the H34 Effect: the quickfire befuddling reference to a named type of internet happening, at best out of laziness and at worst, to misdirect (as often witnessed when people cite Gibson's Law). The reasons stated to someone for their suspension (which in this case are 100% public) should obviously justify the suspension. That's true in all circumstances and no funnily-named internet stuff can get round it. $\endgroup$ – h34 Sep 26 '15 at 0:06
  • $\begingroup$ @JonEricson - I'm not calling for public discussion of details. Reasons for suspension can be stated at various levels of generality, according to circumstances. But there is no issue here of details vs generalities, because I am going by what was actually stated. The communicated (published) reasons, which concern publicly known and recorded actions, don't justify suspension; therefore the suspension is unfair; and it won't do to hint or state that there were other reasons. Perhaps you are the guy to update the mod agreement to make the principles clearer to mods? $\endgroup$ – h34 Sep 26 '15 at 8:35
  • $\begingroup$ And because of the prima facie unfairness, the user should be fully reinstated immediately, pending any consideration of other actions if there really is a case for that. Because of the prima facie unfairness, which is quite glaring (and to compound the offence by mods, has been the subject of some remarkable special pleading and thrashing about on their part after the event, showing they still don't get it), I don't feel I can participate on any SE sites until the matter is taken seriously at a higher level and something done about it. I hope you take what I'm saying seriously, Jon. $\endgroup$ – h34 Sep 26 '15 at 8:45

This proposal cannot be adopted merely by creating a "feature", because it is a breach of the Stack Exchange Terms and Conditions (term 1, 2nd paragraph, 1st sentence) for a subscriber to Stack Exchange to be anything other than an individual.

I was surprised that mods were unaware of this; I am even more surprised that a CM seems unaware of it. People may be interested in a related question I posted recently to main meta, and the answers to it.

  • $\begingroup$ Please can the downvoter explain why drawing attention to the site-wide ban on non-individual accounts, which is clearly stated in the terms and conditions on which the company accepts subscriptions, makes for a bad answer to a question proposing that a feature be installed on a sub-site enabling non-individual accounts. Or did you DV because I said I was surprised that mods and seemingly also a CM were unaware of the ban? I think the OP's idea is good. My point is that the existing Ts and Cs would have to be altered if it is to be adopted. Thanks for any help in improving my answer. $\endgroup$ – h34 Sep 24 '15 at 16:15

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