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A sock puppet in the dock.
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A sockpuppet, also known as a sock, is an account on website, wiki, or forum run by someone who already has an account. Sockpuppetry may be illegal in the United States.[1]


[edit] Purpose

Originally used as a term to describe second identities, it is now used for any account created exclusively to cause spam mischief or mayhem at a site without the original user being identified (IP recognition and blocking notwithstanding).

The name has also led to sites that generate such users being referred to as a "sock drawer." Clever, that.

The reasons for sock puppetry can include:

  • Rigging voting results (Modern Library, anyone?[2])
  • Rigging discussions by creating a sockpuppet who "agrees" with your argument.
  • Rigging discussions by creating a sockpuppet who makes deliberately extreme or moronic (usually strawman) arguments against your own view.
  • Attempts to avoid rules, blocks or scrutiny.
  • Boredom
  • LANCB — but returning under an assumed sock
  • Wandalism

[edit] Examples

All of the subscribers to the Howtheworldworks channel.

The US military is also apparently creating sock puppet accounts and proxy adresses so they can influence online social networking in pro-American directions.[3]

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] References

  1. Cyberbullying verdict turns rule-breakers into criminals, The Globe and Mail
  2. Randroids and Scientologists, fight the tyranny of the literary scholarsWikipedia's W.svg!
  3. Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media, The Guardian
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