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I go into the nether on a multiplayer server with my friend, and we do some exploring. The next day, I go through, turn around, and see an obsidian portal that just hasn't been lit yet. We light it, and it takes us back to our place.

My friend swears he didn't place it there, and I can't imagine he did. It definitely wasn't someone else, as this is an FFA server and had they seen our portal our house would be in flames.

Plot twist, minutes later a couple of pigmen come through our portal and into our house.

What the hell? Did they build this portal?

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Short Answer: No. Long Answer: Nooooooo. –  Turtleweezard Jul 23 '13 at 2:38
    
When you say "back to our place" do you mean the same portal you went in? Also, do you know anything about the server? Version #, mods, etc. –  Batophobia Jul 23 '13 at 15:23

2 Answers 2

No. Assuming a relatively vanilla server, and that your friend is being truthful; pigmen are not capable of building. Given the following info from the Minecraft Wiki entry on nether portals:

Much like water or lava, portal blocks cannot be broken (or even targeted) by tools. However, they are destroyed by even weak explosions, and if any portal block is destroyed, the whole portal is deactivated. TNT, a Ghast's fireball explosion, an exploding Bed, a Wither's explosive Head or an exploding Creeper/Charged Creeper can all disable a portal.

The more likely scenario is that a ghast was firing at either yourself or your friend, and one of the fireballs managed to 'turn off' the portal. Whomever was inside the nether at the time died, and thus returned to the overworld by respawning. The next time either of you enter your portal it checks for an active portal, finds none, and creates a new active portal near the old one.

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This becomes even more plausible if the portal in the nether was activated first. –  MBraedley Jul 23 '13 at 17:38
    
And, mobs are able to travel through nether portals. –  Shadow Zorgon Jan 1 at 22:57

What happened can be split into two answers.

First, the second portal was created
I have the same problem in my world. There is a portal in my overworld that keeps "re-appearing" no matter how many times I take it down (note, it always appears at the same location, which I believe is significant). I'm assuming it is due to one of these two "quirks":

Portal generation can be a bit funny at times. Let's say you have an overworld portal and travel to the nether. If a portal cannot be found within a certain distance from where the game wants to spawn it, the game will keep trying, moving the portal further and further away until it finds a place where it will fit. However, if you travel back through the portal, the "original" overworld portal may be too far away. This causes the game to re-create a portal somewhere else in the overworld (I constantly hear reports of people returning to the overworld in a dark, scary cave, rather than in the portal they made at a "safe" location).

Another possible cause, due to the way "portal travel" is calculated and the fact that portals are two blocks wide, it is possible to align a portal so that going through the left side will bring you to one exit portal, and going through the right side will bring you to a second location. I have not observed this one in my own world, but it is possible this quirk may also lead to a second "random" portal appearing.

In both cases, even if you didn't walk through to the second location causing the second portal to generate, perhaps an item or another mob did, creating the second portal.

Second, Zombie Pigmen will sometimes randomly spawn from portals
This is likely what you observed. It is possible that a Pigman walked through the portal (yes, mobs and items are able to travel through portals) but they usually don't like to walk through portals unless pushed, and moreover, they won't walk around (and therefore won't walk through the portal) in the first place if you aren't in the Nether with them.

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note that "re-appearing" portals are often a symptom of improperly aligned portals. when travelling to/from the nether in a newly activated portal, minecraft attempts to place the resulting portal at the correct equivalent coordinates, but usually must place it a fair distance off due to the correct location being in solid rock, in mid-air, or in water/lava. (also, there are often alignment issues when attempting to use a portal built above the old y:128 height limit.) –  Trent Hawkins Jul 24 '13 at 0:27
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Which is why best practices for entering a newly activated portal for the first time involves carrying 10 obsidian, a source of fire, a diamond pick, and a stack or two of ghast-proof material like cobblestone. So that you can manually pair your portals properly. –  Trent Hawkins Jul 24 '13 at 1:00

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