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A sockpuppet, also known as a sock, is an account on a website, wiki, or forum run by someone who already has an account. Sockpuppetry may be illegal in the United States, if it is forbidden by the website.
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?)
- 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.
- LANCB — but returning under an assumed sock
All of the subscribers to the Howtheworldworks channel.