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The main weapon of the Information Warrior (IW) is surprise… and fear.

This handbook is written as a manual of procedures to assist in the Information War being waged by such websites as Creationwiki[1] and Conservapedia[2]. Such sites are regarded as legitimate targets in the information war, as they have set out to present a series of deliberately distorted and inaccurate world views to children and others who may not be able to see through their sophistry. The purpose of the procedures laid out here is to aid combatants in this war, by providing them with a set of guidelines in guerrilla information tactics. The aim of these tactics is to undermine the credibility of such sites, by engaging in activities such as: deliberately inserting falsehoods, distorting articles, creating dissent, wasting time, and generally causing as much mayhem and disruption, with the result that the site administrators become ever more strident, less inclusive, to the point where a paranoia sets in, and they will only allow anyone whose views are similar to theirs to post on their web spaces. The side effect of all this, is a narrowing of views, suspicion of outsiders and draconian restrictions on contributors, all of which serves to make the site less useful and attractive, and to maximize the time the administrators need to spend in combating information warriors and their effects, ensuring they have little time to write articles.

This handbook is produced in that spirit. Our enemies will not know how much of this document is accurate, how much fiction, and how much of this is deliberate deception. What is true, is that if you follow this, then you are likely to be able to engage in serious disruption to an enemy’s information wiki, even if they have read this document, understood it, and have taken steps to try to prevent you carrying out what is described here. In fact, one could say this document is itself an important tactic in the information war, serving to raise levels of unease in the enemy camp; that is because what is left unclear, and will remain deliberately so, is whether, and how many, people are currently following these procedures.

The Information War[edit]

To become a true warrior, you will need, in Kipling’s words, to deal with Triumph and Disaster, and "treat those two impostors both the same".

The War is fought with a series of battles. In order to win the war, it is necessary to lose some battles. If none of the misinformation put into the site was ever uncovered by anyone, then it is not doing its job. Sooner or later, any piece of misinformation should be found out by someone for what it is. The more external visitors to the site who see it prior to this happening, the better, but you must realize that eventually, a site administrator will discover it and remove it. However, do not think that you have lost. Every piece of information discovered, the longer it has been there, and the more subtle it is, serves to increase the level of paranoia in the administrators.

Therefore, in apparently losing the battle, you are actually winning the war.

Sock puppetry[edit]

Sock puppets are an important weapon in the war. It is a user identity, normally, but not always, under which an information warrior will carry out undercover activities. On most sites, sock puppets are easy to obtain, by simply logging into the website, and giving information, such as name, password, email and possibly, but not always, some personal information.

Types of Socks[edit]

We may usefully distinguish between five types of sock:

  1. grimysocks – active “dirty” socks used to deface articles or create spoofs.
  2. soiledsocks – active “dirty” socks used mainly for trolling, arguing with admin or innocent (i.e. deliberate) rule-breaking.
  3. pricklysocks - socks with names like "SocklySockSock" or "Conservative Isn't A Sensitive Man, He's A YEC With An Agenda To Push", whose names are merely designed to be annoying.
  4. sockwashers – active socks who are used to cover up the work of dirty socks.
  5. cleansocks – passive socks who, to all intent ordinary users, with a history of clean edits, who apparently are normal editors, and who have never done anything nefarious.
  6. newsocks – passive socks which have logged on, at least once, but have made no substantial edits, and are simply lying in wait.

An IW will clearly need at least one sock of either type (1) or (2) to carry out the dirty work. In addition, at least one sock of type (3) is vital, if any vandalism is going to work, and clearly the IW will need at least two of (5), at any one time: ( "always carry a clean pair of socks")

The purpose of creating multiple sock puppets and multiple users is to try to behave like a normal user. Research carried out into online use of social software such as Wikis, blogs, forums etc. has concluded that the typical user goes through the following phases:

  • Phase 1: Viewing the pages, in a disinterested manner. Here the user is merely looking at the site, to see what is there, and making the decision as to whether this is a community to which they wish to contribute.
  • Phase 2: Logging on as a user, but not contributing. Here the user is a “lurker”, being able to do things like read all the forums, create a description of themselves, but not contributing in any major manner.
  • Phase 3: Making minor contributions - here people will post short replies, join in discussion, test out the waters, to see how they are responded to and whether they fit in.
  • Phase 4: Making major contributions. here people will do things like start discussions, write major articles, and initiate things. During this phase they can become a major player.
  • Phase 5: Being influential - others read what they have written, and they influence the direction the site is taking, the decision making on the site, and everyone takes notice of their opinion.
  • Phase 6: Being in control. Here people decide to start their own blogs, or rise to the level of admin or sysopship; they are a major and highly significant influence on the site, and exercise control over other users.

The use of sock puppets below is designed to take us through Phases 1-3, and possibly into 4. It is unlikely, and extremely unwise, unless you are exceptionally devious or supremely clever, to be able to take a dirty sock puppet to phase 5 or 6. However, it is definitely possible to do this with a clean sock, while at the same time carrying out dirty sockpuppetry.

Sock puppetry Rules[edit]

The main purpose behind these rules is to allow socks to go about their business undetected for as long as possible. However, do not get too attached to socks. Following the rules below it should be easy to create an inexhaustible supply of socks without a lot of effort. Remember – you are not your sock puppet, and sock puppets are not your children, and they do not really have personalities. If you suspect one has been compromised, kill it.

  1. Always use a proxy serverThe first rule of sock puppetry, is never use your own IP address to access these sites. Should you end up posting something which is libelous, you do not want this to be easily traceable back to your PC at home. Proxy servers are two a penny, and a quick Google will reveal hundreds of them, and instructions on how to use. It is worth reading the MediaWiki pages on IP User Checking, so that you understand how IP addresses and user accounts can be traced.
  2. Make each sock is unique This is probably the most crucial, and the most difficult principle to adhere to in the Information War. In order to do this, you will need to be very well organized, and ensure that you are meticulous in your record keeping. The way to do this is as follows[1]
    • Use a new, previously unused IP address (proxy server) for each sock you create, i.e. one that you have not used before. It is usually not worth noting the proxy server name before you create the sock, as you may find that this IP address has already been blocked as a result of the activities of a previous information warrior. However, once the username has been accepted, you must at that point record both. This means that you need to be prepared in advance.
    • Always use that IP address to log in with that sock. There are several ways to do this, but saving the proxy server in the sock’s name on your bookmarking list usually works. Never use the IP address with any other sock.
    • Give each sock its own personality – this is essential, and requires forward planning. Sock names are important (see below), but so are passwords, email addresses and other details. There should not be any information in common with any other sock, which would allow a connection to be made between socks (also see Modus Operandi below). Plan in advance what you will use the sock for.
    • Check IP Location and TimeZone- checking what timezone your proxy is in and only making edits at times appropriate to that zone, will give your sock an added credibility. If you wish to be absolutely meticulous, provide it with an identity appropriate to that zone: e.g. "This user is proud to be Vietnamese." [2]
  3. Devising Sock Names – this is crucial:
    • Choose nondescript names. Choosing a name like Vandal or Nemesis will just get you noticed, and very likely blocked on sight. However, choosing an interesting, amusing or noteworthy name such as MilitantAtheist or ParisHilton or God is memorable, and will also cause admin to sit up and take notice. Look at the names on the site, and choose one to blend in. Be the grey man in the grey coat that no-one notices.
    • Choose unrelated names. No IW worthy of the name would ever think of using Bush, bushface, dubya as socks. However, choosing names such as EddieP, JohnD, FredB which display a pattern in the name, or ratso, mousedroppings, gerbil which are all on the same theme, will get easily spotted. Vary the names, the type, the patterns, so that a series might look like KT, Jonathon, Manxman, cobalt, furryfriend.
  4. Specifying Sock Details:
    • Ensure the passwords and personal information is unique. It is not currently known whether password checking is currently de rigueur, but proceed on the basis of caution. Assume that at some point, admin will be able to do deep data mining on things like passwords, emails etc. For passwords, create a unique password for each sock[3],
    • On no account give your real email contact. Most socks are probably going to die after at most 20 edits. Who is going to be emailing it? Use a fictitious hotmail, or similar account. Normally you can just make this up. If you find that you can’t log in without a real email account, you may have to go through the bother of setting up a new hotmail account. Do this, and don’t worry; if you don’t use it, it will get zapped within a month anyway. There are email services that you can set up without giving any factual details, and do not require a previous email account. However, if you use this email service all the time, someone will get wise.[4]
  5. Lay out your socks in advance As you have seen above, in order to be able to carry out a plan, you need to have a list of sock names and passwords, (and possibly) email addresses. These will need to be written prior to account creation.
    • Do not make up information on the spur of the moment If you do this, you will inevitably create subconscious patterns in names and passwords.
    • On no account use a name which is anything remotely like an active sock vandal. (known or unknown) If you did this, it would potentially uncover the sock vandal
  6. Sock Use
    • Keep a record of what type of socks you have, and what you have used them for . This is quite difficult to manage, but a large post-it for each sock can contain details like name, password (possibly IP) etc., and the names of the current edits (with possibly a space for a few notes). If you are using sock rotation (see below), this device allows you to just move the post its into a different place on your sock chart. Here you need to keep records on all your current socks.
    • Dirty Socks: As a general rule, you should aim to make no more than three “dirty” edits with any active sock. The reason for this, is that the more edits you make with any one sock, the easier it is to trace your activities and undo them. If every dirty edit was made with a completely different sock, there would be not trail to follow; however, we need to make life as difficult as possible. If we were to follow that policy uniformly, when the “dirty” edit had been uncovered, then the sock can be blocked. Therefore on occasions, you should attempt to push this as far as you can, with up to 10, 15 edits.[5]. However, with each edit, the likelihood of getting caught is the same. However, remember when that sock gets caught, all of its edits will be under scrutiny, so in one fell swoop, you may lose 10 edits. After you have made the dirty edits, make a few more clean edits, the kill the sock dead, and do not return to it.
    • Do not attempt to manage lots of dirty socks You will inevitably get confused, and start editing with the wrong sock I would normally suggest at most two dirty socks at any one time, but with two or three different sockwashers. At any one time, you should have a dirty sock and a sockwasher logged in. Rotate these so that they do not look too obvious.
    • You can never have too many clean socks socks I would suggest having a minimum of two all the time.
    • Sock use-by date. Do not keep stocks in cold storage for too long without making edits. It looks odd if you have a sock which has not made any edits for more than a couple of weeks.
  7. Sock Rotation
    • Getting clean socks out. Socks of type (5) clearly can move up to become type (4). Each sock probably needs to spend some time at type (4), in order to establish a pattern of “clean” edits. Once this pattern has been established – between five and 10 such edits will do[6], the sock is now ready for action. The Sock use-by date notion is important here.
    • Washing your Socks. You need at least one type (3) socks on line at any one time to cover up “dirty” edits. The purpose of this sock is to ensure that you do not leave the “dirty edit” exposed. The sockwasher should make about 75% good edits to one washing. A good rule, is that whenever you make a dirty edit, make a changes elsewhere in the article which contains a factual, spelling or grammar errors. Then go in about 10 or so minutes later (vary this) with a sockwasher (do not use the same grubbysock/sockwasher paring each time; this is far too obvious), and edit out the minor error. This covers up the edit with an edit by a clean & genuine user. Vary these minor edits between one and three times. The purpose of this strategy is twofold: (a) It hides the history of the dirty edit, and it makes it look as if a genuine user has read and approved of the material, making it less likely to be spotted by a sysop. (b) If the sysops get wise to this as an attack strategy they then have to confront everyone who edits over an erroneous edit, then they will dissuade genuine editors from contributing.
    • Promoting Sockwashers. This can sometimes be done, but it is not recommended; if this sock is discovered, it could lead to the washing edits. If you need to promote, promote it to a type 2 soiledsock, but not a type 1 grubbysock. If you do promote, get rid of the sock very quickly after the attack or troll.
  8. Sock MO (Modus Operandi) : each sock should have its own identity, and be apparently gainfully employed on a particular task, so that if asked by admin, you have a writing plan. This can be a project (e.g. to flesh out the Opera entries), or it can be a little more diverse, such as having a roving brief, (e.g. looking at all the recent edits, and spellchecking or accuracy of information). Whatever it is, the sock needs a cover story. Some guidelines:
    • Ensure that the MO of your puppets does not substantially overlap accidentally. This is obvious. If you have several puppets editing the same type of material, then if one is discovered, all edits to that will be suspect. You may wish to deliberately overlap their MO, but that is a different matter.
    • The MO of sock type (3) will necessarily be that of an editor with a roving brief, and might therefore, in principle overlap with anything.
    • The MO of “dirty edits” should be as different as possible between socks, and especially currently active socks. This can be quite difficult to achieve as warriors tend to edit in line with their personality. It is OK to revert to a previous sock’s MO, a week or so after you (or admin) has killed off the sock.

Meatpuppets[edit]

A meatpuppet is another person editing a website on your behalf. While these are the most difficult to acquire, they are very difficult to detect and verify, cannot be traced back to their puppetteer, and are very useful at swinging opinion on polls and suchlike. It is a particularly effective technique if the make their own false valid contributions, or at least enought to fill up the first page of their user contributions page (50+), with non-talk edits, to circumvent the 90/10 rule.

Working With Others[edit]

There are two types of people in the Information War - enemies and neutrals. There are no friends.

Knowing Your Enemy[edit]

In order to be a successful IW, you need to know who you are dealing with. We can all be taken unawares, but normally there are some straightforward rules:

  1. Checkout all the Sysops, and find out what they do on the site. look at their edits, and make notes on their prejudices, their likes, dislikes, who they have blocked and what the reasons were. Knowing the sysops is very important, as you need to know how eagle-eyed they are, what you can get away with, and who to complain to, and who to manipulate.
  2. Checkout which Sysops are on at what time of day, find out when you can be online, and which sysops are normally online then, and how many. Dirty edits are best done at three times, (a) when the traffic is light and there is only one or two sysops on-line, and (b) when the traffic is heavy, and edits are coming in thick and fast, and (c) when there are an external attacks from two or three vandals simultaneously. (It is possible to manufacture these single handedly!)

Knowing who is Not your enemy[edit]

Beware, no-one is what they seem. There is a great temptation to "tell all" to someone that you suspect is in the same game as you are, especially if you have just made a really good spoof entry; however, please be aware that "careless talk costs edits", and that if someone reveals their prize edits to you, they have probably told other people before you , and probably will tell other people after you. It is rather like a sexually transmitted disease. If you reveal exactly what you have been doing to another person, then how can you guarantee that the next person they tell won't be a sysop. Trust them and you are trusting everyone they converse with.

If you detect someone is doing the same thing as you, you can help them by washing their edits. You can discuss tactics, share information, but on no account tell anyone what you have edited. You should never, under any circumstances, collaborate on a dirty edit, unless this is a part of a planned strategy[7]. This should be regarded as a hard and fast rule, and is there fore a very good reason: if you collaborate, it will mark both of you as IWs, and when uncovered, you will in all likelihhod, lose all of the edits that both socks have made, very quickly. There is a great temptation when you find an edit that someone else has done, which is just not right, to add a little twist would make it that bit funnier. Resist it, and move on, otherwise you jeopardise both your work and their's. Avoid when possible linking from one spoofed article to another, as links will often be one of the first things that sysops follow in order to uncover further sock activity.

Types of Attack[edit]

There are many, and varied, types of attack. By far and away the most satisfying is the attack which has humor, as that increases the level of paranoia, as the enemy thinks we are laughing at them (which is true). However, do not underestimate the effect of the other types of attack which are outlined below. They are all, in there own way, devastating, and many of them are very hard to spot and do insidious damage.

Direct Attacks[edit]

  1. Creating usernames which are offensive, or make a point. These names such as "SchlaflyIsAMoron" are great fun, but are normally zapped on sight. It however, is a good way to send a pointed message or to distract a sysop.
  2. Direct vandalism to pages. This very rarely makes it for more than 5 minutes. It is however, an important weapon, as it keeps the sysops busy while other things can go on. Watch out for these attacks, and if you have got an article ready, or an edit to go, when an attack comes (or manufacture one), allows you to get the edit in under the wire. Directed attacks such as these can also serve to narrow the usefulness of the site; for examples the restrictions on user image uploading were as a direct result of such attacks.

Admin/Sysop baiting[edit]

This type of activity is well documented by Auld Nick. In order to engage in this, you will need to know your enemy. The idea is to use the prejudices of an admin to do the dirty work for you. If you can find or possibly manufacture (using a mild, but targeted, edit from one of your cleaner socks), an article which offends their sensibilities, you can either get them to change the article so that it better reflects their prejudices, or (and this is even better), with their permission write the article so that it goes even further.

This activity is fine in itself; however, if you can then use a different sock to report this edit to another sysop who has slightly different views, you might be lucky enough to get the sysops arguing with one another, so much they don’t notice another one of your socks slipping in the odd dirty edit.

Trolling[edit]

Trolling comes in three types: major, minor and trivial

Major Trolling[edit]

The main purpose of this type of trolling is to get an article locked. The more articles that are locked the better, as this demonstrates the kind of arguments that proponents put up, and a site having lots of locked articles is discreditable for two reasons - firstly it demonstrates that the site cannot manage its editing process effectively, and secondly it is almost guaranteed that locked articles will be in a poor state of editing, since they are locked in the middle of a dispute.

In this regard, it is great fun to invent a carefully designed, but "innocently sounding" article, and watch as it turns into a juggernaut until it gets locked by sysops. Look at the history of Kangaroo, Crackpot, or Geocentric Theory. I have no idea whether any of the people in the the Geocentric Theory Talk pages were trolling, but both of them reported Rschlafly for vandalism to the article. Way to go!

Minor Trolling[edit]

Minor trolling is where you can cause an article to go off the rails by inserting material in it which is bound to cause someone to argue with you, but not enough to get the article locked. For example claiming that Julius Caesar was homosexual, and backing it up with evidence. It is normally the case that you can come to some sort of compromise here. However, you should make sure that the form of words finally agreed is either misleading, unrepresentative or inaccurate.

Trivial Trolling[edit]

This is simply arguing with sysops about their edits to your pieces, and is not recommended; it just gets you a bad name and blocked. The only reason to do this is if you are trying to slip a dirty edit past them while they are involved with the argument. The sock is probably marked after this encounter, though, so you should not do this with an active dirty sock.

Misinformation[edit]

Misinformation is the deliberate insertions of falsehoods into articles. This is easiest done right from the start, when articles are created. Things like dates of birth, locations of events are all relatively easy to do, and even if this is uncovered, it just looks like you made a mistake. Do not underestimate the power of this simple device. What you are doing is undermining the site as a source of useful information. If 10-15% of the articles contain factual errors, it is discredited, and the whole function of the site is undermined.

Misinformation can be inserted later on when the article has been created. An edit which rearranges grammar, but in doing so, puts in a slightly different piece of information, or an extra, incorrect piece of information can often be arranged. If you are going to engage in this type of edit, ensure that you edit relatively near the top with a bona fide edit, which demonstrates what you have done, and then make changes further down. This maximizes the likelihood of the “dirty edit” not being spotted.

Parodies[edit]

Parody articles (or sections of articles) take longer, but are more satisfying. They come in four types: Spoof, Source Misinterpretation, Misdirection and Subtext Rendering.

Spoofs[edit]

These are articles (or parts thereof) which, while appearing to be genuine have no basis in reality whatsoever. There have been lots of good spoofs in the past, but they are becoming harder to do. A good spoof relies on the spoofed not realizing that they have been taken in, and this becomes increasingly difficult as the site builds up. If you are going to engage in this, you will need to do some research into the type of spoof which might be inserted. Find an esoteric area which is not currently being edited, e.g. indigenous tribes of Indonesia, and start to build up a series of checkable, genuine articles before inserting the spoof. The spoof should have some checkable data, but be as much fiction as possible. Spoofs very often need to be quite elaborate, but can often be backed up with fictitious blog entries, which are easy to manufacture.

See for example this article, which was contributed to a Conservapedia and Uncyclopedia on the same day (20th April 2007)[8] . The article, if you read it carefully is NOT libelous, as it makes no direct accusations. If you follow the link to the external website, you will find that it exists, but the information is quite brief; however, if you follow the link on that blog, you will find an expanded version of the article. Whether or not this counts as a spoof, I leave you to decide.

Misinterpretations[edit]

Article which are about real people, or real events, but where the information in the references provided has been “interpreted” with their own slant, and where the links, if checked, would appear to support the article, but if the reader bothered to look at the source, they would realize that the article presents a very “one-sided”, “warped” or even “erroneous” interpretation. This is extremely easy to do, and should constitute a good proportion of the dirty edits, on the ground that when one sock is exposed, it means that someone will either have to blank out entire articles, or be bothered to go through all the edits.

All my examples in this category are (fortunately) still live.

Misdirection[edit]

Misdirection is the opposite of nearly all of the above. This is where the information in the article supplied is accurate, but the information sounds as if it is untrue. For example, saying that Oscar Wilde‘s last words were: “That wallpaper is awful; one of us will have to go”. This provides the potential for trolling.

An interesting variant on this is Knotty Ash. All the information is accurate. There are actually two Knotty Ashes; the one in Liverpool, where comedian Ken Dodd lives, and the alternative version of this he creates for his stage shows. In that sense, both are demonstrable & real. The article muddles the two.

Subtext Rendering[edit]

Here, the subtext (or sometimes the surface text) has been rendered in such a way as to provide two different interpretations. Fore example “the miners all come together” a the end of an article describing how the miners are going in an out of each others’ passages, might, on surface reading, be taken as innocent. Similarly, articles which use local knowledge, and where, for example local terms are used which appear to say one thing, but in fact have a completely different meaning to those in the know. For example, going to Hebden Bridge is called “heading for the dykes”.

Telling the Truth[edit]

When the whole purpose of a Wiki is to spread a specific agenda, simply posting fact that contradict that agenda can be as subversive as a dozen hoaxes. It also makes the enemy look bad to anyone reality-based and requires significantly less creative effort to keep your story straight.

Other Edits[edit]

There are many other subtle and different edits that you might adopt, and as you become more adept, you will develop your own ideas and your own style. However, here are a few interesting ideas to try out:

Internal WikiLinks[edit]

These can come in two types:

  1. Mischievous misdirected links to already-existing pages. The purpose of this would be to make a point. For example on a page, creating a Wikilink which said [[Deceit| Iraq War]] would, when the user clicks on Iraq War, takes them to the Deceit page.
  2. Misdirected links to non-existent pages . This is the same type of thing, but the misdirection can serve to make a real point, for example: [[This Man is not fit to be president|George Bush]] [[appears in the edit, but will only be noticed when the link is clicked; it will come up as a new page. Profanities can be inserted into such edits like this: [[Biggest C<!-->nt in the Universe| Andrew Schlafly]] [[

External Links[edit]

Creating external links can also serve to make a point. These links can be to places where the evidence presented directly contradicts with the view being stated, for example, a claim that there was a universal flood 4000 years ago linking to a site which provided archaeological evidence that predates this. Links can be covered up by using[http://www.evolutionevidence.org see here for evidence that the earth was created 4000BC]

Mischievous external linking can also occur. For example, saying that a Transport Cafe is known as a tranny, and putting in a footnote that links to a website for transvestites can also be quite satisfying. These are difficult to manufacture, as one of the current restrictions on Conservapedia is that all such sites are scrutinized for content. There are ways around this however. You could for example, set up a blog or just use another site which has a photo on its first page e.g. a picture of George Bush & Tony Blair , and use the following:[http://george&tony.blogspot.com see here for a list of the main criminals involved in the Iraq Conspiracy]

Reverting Edits[edit]

If a dirty edit gets changed by a sysop, kill the sock immediately; do not troll, unless that was the first dirty edit, in which case there is nothing to lose, and everything to gain by arguing. Realize that after the encounter the sock is probably dead, so kill it.

If a dirty edit gets changed by another user, look at the user’s history, and see what they appear to know about. It could be worth arguing your case, but in general arguments bring edits to the attention of sysops, and if you have made a number of dirty edits with that sock, you have a lot more to lose than to gain. In this case, I would recommend leaving the edit, and logging the sock off. Return the following day when the other user is not on, and make a change to their edit. Do not simply revert; make it look as if you have gone in, seen the edit and had a rethink. Use a sockwasher to cover your tracks.

This can lead to an important “double bluff ploy”. If you have got a sock which has been caught trolling, and is under suspicion anyway, you may care to use it to make a dirty edit deliberately. Then get your sockwasher (or another clean sock) in to revert the edit, at the same time making a big fuss, for example reporting the dirty sock’s behavior to a sysop, allowing the clean sock (or sockwasher) to ingratiate itself. This can be very useful. The dirty sock – which you were going to discard anyway gets banned, but you get a potential ally. The sock was only soiled, not grimy, so you lose no dirty edits; if you can do this using a sockwasher, then you are trusted, and your future edits with this sock will not be scrutinized too deeply. This means that the sockwasher is highly valuable.

Enemy countermeasures[edit]

Sock predator

Countermeasures taken by the enemy to combat the effects of subtle vandalism may at times apparently lead to some limited success. However, this can only be relatively short-lived, as in principle, it suffers from a self-defeating strategy. As a site grows, the number of articles which need to be policed increases, and so therefore will the number of people who need to be police it. With a number of IW's working independently, the number needed to police the site would grow to an extent that those recruited could not be guaranteed to pursue the goals with the same zeal or motivation; indeed this could be construed to be a good thing, as the likelihood of recruiting an IW in deep cover as sysop would increase dramatically.

In addition, it is a relatively straightforward job to track those who have been careless in their edits, removing items which are overtly humorous, or have obvious sexual connotations, and in so doing, noticing editing pairs and MO similarites along the way. This is especially true when articles have been in existence for long periods of time, and were created as stubs which were obvious 'touts' for spoofing. It is a different matter to deal with dedicated IWs who have taken steps to ensure that their edits are no so obvious, and have learned from the past experience of their fallen socks.

Outside Resources[edit]

Notes & References[edit]

  1. Please note, even if you follow these procedures to the letter, there is no guarantee that someone else will not come along and attempt to create a sock under the same IP address. If that happens, the sock is dead. Forget it, and move on.
  2. Thanks to Arthur Dent for this valuable contribution; however, I just would hope that Cp Sysops would edit at times appropriate to their location! TK seems to be up all hours of the day and night; either that or he has a day job as long-haul flight attendant.
  3. Yes, I know this is a real pain in the ass, but just do it.
  4. The way to deal with this problem is as follows: Set up an original (no info required) account as account zero. Now set up a hotmail (or Google, or yahoo or…) account from there Call this mail1. At that point, set up another hotmail account (mail2), on the back of the first one, and reconfigure the mail1 account address at the second. Let the original account zero die. You now have a pair of accounts which point to each other, and the source is non-traceable. Set up any new accounts from the second one of this pair; do not use it for anything else.
  5. The distribution of “dirty” edits per sock should be a negative exponential distribution, with most socks only doing one or two such dirty edits, but with one or two socks doing lots of dirty edits. This maximizes random behavior, and mimics the effect that lots of vandals would have, acting independently, so to spread confusion
  6. NB this is not about providing a credible history for the sock, as much as providing a chain of edits which need to be checked when the sock is uncovered
  7. There can be circumstances, where you wish to do this, but it would be very unusual. For example, where both socks are fairly new, have not made any previous 'major' dirty edits, and neither of you go on to make substantial edits subsequently. This would mean a lot of work for a sysop checking your other edits to no avail.
  8. The Uncyclopedia entry was tagged the next day as "not funny enough", and was deleted within the week. The Conservapedia entry was edited by several authors, and finally severely reduced on June 2nd 2007