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What is sockpuppetry

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I am wondering what is it? Spikeynikey123 (talk) 11:21, December 8, 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Sockpuppet (Internet). Sockpuppeting is when you have more than one Wikia account, or when you reply as anon in a conversation that you are already participating in whilst logged in while pretending to be a different person. It's a form of deceptive conduct people use to try getting around bans, create false consensus or to just plain stuff ballots. Lunarity 11:53, December 8, 2012 (UTC)
Simply having multiple accounts is not sockpuppetry - it is only sockpuppetry if you pretend your multiple accounts are different people. -452 19:05, December 10, 2012 (UTC)
I agree! -User454 (talk) 19:06, December 10, 2012 (UTC)
To clarify my original statement, my grammar was poorly formed. What I meant was using more than one account (or taking advantage of having multiple IPs if you have a multihomed connection or more than one service) on the same wiki [there should have been a second comma between "logged in" and "while pretending"]. I didn't intentionally imply that having multiple accounts was a problem in itself, since you need a second account for bots; I only meant using multiple accounts to participate in discussion or non-automated article editing on one wiki. AFAIK, having multiple accounts isn't an issue as far as Wikia is concerned, but people do generally expect that you will only use those separate accounts on separate wikis (if you have multiple normal editing accounts, each one should be used on a separate set of wikis from the others, you should not use 2 accounts on one wiki unless the second is a bot).
Like a lot of new terminology for social behavior, the exact definition of sockpuppets tends to be unclear but it generally boils down to breaching the implicit assumption that one account = one person in a given community (bots are seen as semi-separate entities, since they are partially autonomous). The label applies to someone pretending to be a crowd in a discussion, people pretending to be a different person for the sake of bypassing a block, and people who are blocked but don't even try to hide their ownership of their other account just so they have the opportunity to yell at everyone about how much they suck or whatever. Lunarity 13:22, December 12, 2012 (UTC)


Additionally, it is not against the Wikia Terms of Use to have multiple accounts, or even to engage in actual sockpuppetry. (Local wikis may create their own policies about it, of course.)
The Wikia TOU does say you're not allowed to "Attempt to impersonate another user or person", but so long as you - as your sockpuppet - do not actually "impersonate another user or person" you're quite within your rights to take part in a discussion using multiple accounts. (Logging into a different account is not "impersonation", so long as I don't claim that User454 is not also my account.) -452 19:36, December 10, 2012 (UTC)
I would strongly disagree that you're "well within your rights to take part in a discussion using multiple accounts", even according to Wikia's fairly generous user conduct rules. It all comes down to the word "impersonate". I'd argue that when you have a second account, and you don't disclose that you are the operator of that second account, you are in fact impersonating someone who is not you. You don't have to explicitly impersonate a known person to be "impersonating another person". You just have to pretend to be "someone else". czechout@Wikia    fly tardis 04:12: Tue 11 Dec 2012
You're right that it comes down to the word impersonate. If me logging in as user:user454 is impersonation, then it could be said that I'm impersonating user:452 right now, as user:452 "is not me", it's an account I use. Maybe we need to ask Staff to clarify what the word impersonate means in this context. -452 13:02, December 11, 2012 (UTC)
To answer the original poster directly, sock puppetry is the act of using another account to say things that you either cannot or will not do with the principle account by which you are known on a particular wiki. In short, it is an act of cowardice, in which you hide behind another name, typically to escape something, whether that "something" be a block, the wrath of the community, or the fact that your forum proposal is down a coupla votes. If you need to use another account on Wikia, the chances are high that what you want to do with that second account is something you shouldn't be doing.
I would, however, agree that the simple act of having multiple accounts is not necessarily sock puppetry. There are a few legitimate cases where one would do that. Bots functionally need to be on a separate account from you. And I can imagine that you might want to use one account for one wiki, and another account for another wiki. Maybe you want to make a wiki-specific account to celebrate your fandom — like being LeiaLover at Wookieepedia and OrcHater at The One Wiki to Rule Them All. The problem comes when LeiaLover gets blocked at w:c:iCarly, and you then use OrcHater to circumvent the block. (Or does the problem come from the fact that you got blocked at iCarly in the first place? :) ) czechout@Wikia    fly tardis 04:12: Tue 11 Dec 2012
I think that definition is too vague.
Wikipedia's policy page for Sock puppetry has a bunch of examples of what is and isn't classed as "Sock puppetry". They have a lot of other cases other than the primary "Creating an illusion of support" - but they forbid a lot of things which Wikia allows, such as sharing accounts.
One acceptable reason for having an alt account there is "privacy" - to use another account to hide behind another name to say things you do not want to post with your principle account, to escape possible real-life consequences of an edit. -452 13:02, December 11, 2012 (UTC)
It’s pretty simple. In the wikiverse, it is acceptable to have multiple accounts for legitimate purposes. (See, for a nice general guideline, WP:SOCK#LEGIT.) What are legitimate purposes? Bots, test accounts, security, privacy, maintenance, patrols, etc., are all legitimate purposes. Also, one normally gives these legit accounts names that are immediately and easily identifiable with one’s base account. For example, my main (i.e., base) account is User:SpikeToronto. However, I also have legit multiple accounts such as User:SpikeTorontoTEST2 and User:SpikeTorontoAWB: one for testing, and one for running the Auto-Wiki Browser for wiki maintenance. When a user’s other accounts are not immediately identifiable with his main account, there is a presumption of sock-puppetting.

Morever, using multiple accounts (or editing anonymously) to evade blocks or bans, is clearly sockpuppeting and will draw further blocks/bans at most wikis. Finally, one of the most common sockpuppeting behaviours is the use of multiple accounts (and anonymous edits) to bolster one’s position in a discussion/debate on an issue at a wiki. The scenarios I’ve outlined probably cover 90%+ of most situations. — SpikeToronto 15:33, December 12, 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I did not know you were intending to reply to me. Your comment makes more sense as a reply to the original poster, since I do not need clarification of the definition of sockpuppet. -452 15:47, December 12, 2012 (UTC)
No, no. You’re right. It is a reply to the original poster. That was why I reset the indent. Face-smile It’s quite okay now. Let’s just leave it. Thanks! — SpikeToronto 15:51, December 12, 2012 (UTC)
No, that's not how it works. You set your indent where-ever you want in order to specific who you are replying to. You only need to STATE that you're "resetting" the indent if you're continuing the same thread as immediately above you.
If my reply has 3 indents, and you reply with 4 indents, then you are replying to me. If you use the same number of indents. Just look at the indents through-out this discussion: they all follow that pattern except for yours.
Thankfully, this is the last day that this will be a problem here. -452 15:57, December 12, 2012 (UTC)
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Using_talk_pages#Indentation and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Indentation for more examples -452 16:01, December 12, 2012 (UTC) (edited 16:06, December 12, 2012 (UTC))
But since you're replying to me, I shall reply to you: I know it's pretty simple, so it's worrying that so many people do not understand.
On Wikia, it's acceptable to have multiple accounts for any purpose, other than impersonating someone else. As I've already said, individual wikis may create their own policies regarding this, but I've seen power-mad local admins blocking multiple accounts while stating that it is against the Wikia TOU, when it is not, and when the do not have local policies regarding the matter.
I disagree that evading a ban with a second account is automatically "sockpuppeting". It's ban evading, sure, but it's not "sockpuppeting" unless you pretend that you are not the same user. It's an important distinction that many miss. -452 15:57, December 12, 2012 (UTC)

(Reset indent) I was replying to Spikeynikey. Also, no one follows the indent essay at WP:INDENT, not even at WP. It is too complex. It has never had sufficient consensus at WP to be elevated beyond an essay. It is neither a guideline, nor a policy there. The norm in the wikiverse is merely for each new speaker to indent one level, ’til there’s no more room, and then reset the indent. However, if you want to respond directly to someone in the middle of the page, then you indent your response sufficiently that it is clear that it is to that post that you are responding. Ident norms are also simple. Make them too complex and people at Wikia will follow them even less than they do now. (You’re right that the new forums completely obviate this discussion.)

With respect to the topic of this thread, Wikia’s failure to deal adequately with using multiple accounts in its ToU is no excuse for not following the norms in the wikiverse. As the single largest wiki in the world with the largest membership, bar none, we could do much worse than to follow Wikipedia’s guidelines on the topic. As regards using another account to evade a ban, I have yet to encounter a ban-evader using another account to evade that ban who readily identifies himself. Thus, it would seem to be both sockpuppeting and ban evasion. That explains why when we block such an account at the wikis on which I admin, we usually use a block description along the lines of “Sockpuppet account of User:xxxx for evading ban.” — SpikeToronto 17:18, December 12, 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure if you're intending on calling me "no one", but while I've never read those wikipedia pages until now, I have always done exactly what is outlined there, because that it makes sense. It's the most simple and obvious way to ensure that talk page discussions can be followed coherently. I was planning on creating an example on my userpage to quote, but first decided to see if there was anything on wikipedia about it. Wikipedia:Indentation is almost exactly what I would have created as an example, so I will continue to quote that page as good examples.
You say: "It is too complex." - I say: It is very simple. The examples on Wikipedia:Indentation are very simple and how threaded conversations have always been done in most places on the internet that have threaded indentation (Online display on mailing lists - one such being yahoo groups - comes to mind. Another would be threads on livejournal-based sites), so I don't understand how anyone could think they are complex.
  • "The norm in the wikiverse is merely for each new speaker to indent one level"
Citation needed. I have never known this to be the norm. That is not how threaded messages on the internet have ever worked.
  • "Make them too complex and people at Wikia will follow them even less than they do now."
Are you calling "people at Wikia" too stupid to understand the examples on Wikipedia:Indentation? (Again, I'm only using that wikipedia page as an example because it matches what I would have created as an example.)
  • "Wikia’s failure to deal adequately with using multiple accounts in its ToU is no excuse for not following the norms in the wikiverse."
Rubbish. Wikia are not "failing to deal adequately" with it, they are choosing not to deal with it because there's little reason to unilaterally forbid having multiple accounts. I have multiple accounts on many websites for many reasons. I understand that Facebook unilaterally forbids multiple accounts, as well as requiring real names - if I used facebook, I would definitely want at least two accounts: one for family, one for friends. (Probably quite a few different accounts for different groups of friends, as I tend to belong to quite opposing social circles, but that's beside the point as I'm not even allowed to have 2.)
  • "As regards using another account to evade a ban, I have yet to encounter a ban-evader using another account to evade that ban who readily identifies himself."
The user454 account above was created to "evade" a block. My first edit with that account was to identify myself to the bureaucrat and post my rebuttal of the block. (The admin who blocked me was demoted over the incident.)
When I block users, I usually allow them continued access to edit their own talk page in order to discuss the block, but if a user were to create another account in order to discuss the block, I wouldn't automatically block that second account. -452 17:54, December 12, 2012 (UTC)
Hey everyone, there's no need to debate indentation. That's a topic not related to this thread (and the new forums are slated to go into effect very soon anyways, making it a pretty moot point). Also, if the goal was to answer the original poster's question, I think it's been quite well answered by now. You're welcome to continue discussing things, I just thought it might be worth everyone's time to take a step back and let things wind down. 20px_Rin_Tohsaka_Avatar.png Mathmagician ƒ(♫) 18:06 UTC, Wednesday, 12 December 2012

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