|This page in a nutshell: A user who is not under current restrictions or blocks may stop using their current account and start using a new one. Clean start does not guarantee the two accounts will not be connected, and a user who uses clean start to resume old habits of editing may be identified and seen as trying to evade scrutiny.|
A clean, or fresh start, is when a user stops using an old account to start fresh with a new account. The two most common reasons for wanting a clean start are recognizing past mistakes, and avoiding harassment. The old account must be clearly discontinued, and the new account must avoid editing patterns or behaviors that would allow other users to recognize and identify the account. It is expected that the new account will be a true "fresh start", will edit in new areas and avoid old disputes, and will follow community norms of behavior.
A genuine clean start is not considered improper. However, if an editor uses their new account to resume editing articles or topics in the same manner that resulted in a negative reputation in the first place (becoming involved in disputes, edit warring, or other forms of disruptive editing), the editor will probably be recognized (as a "sockpuppet") and connected to the old account. Changing accounts to avoid the consequences of past bad behaviors is usually seen as evading scrutiny and may lead to additional sanctions. The behavior of the new account determines whether it is a legitimate fresh start, or a prohibited attempt to evade scrutiny. A clean start is not permitted if there are active bans, blocks or sanctions (including, but not limited to those listed here) in place against the old account.