Most socks are banned posters trying to come back. It’s fairly rare that we have an active user create a sock, though it does happen on occasion.
We also have quite a few members who for one reason or another had an issue with the transition to Discourse software. Some may have had an incorrect email on their account. Others may not have followed the password reset procedure properly. Some likely had other issues like their internet provider blocking the password reset emails. We don’t want to punish folks who create socks just because of account issues.
Many banned users just go away and don’t come back. Some make a few attempts at socking and then give up. We have a small number of serial sockers. And we have a few that have managed to evade detection, though most end up engaging in the same sort of behavior that got them banned in the first place and just end up getting banned again.
If someone creates a sock because of an account issue, we try to sort out the account issue so that they can keep their posting history and all that. If someone creates a sock just for socking purposes, then both accounts are perma-banned.
Exactly how we detect socks is moderator-only information. We don’t discuss that in public.