A sock puppet is a second account created by a user to give the appearance of additional support for the views or actions of the main account.
Identifying a sock puppet
Sock puppets can typically be identified by an administrator with "checkuser" privileges. Basically, this entails comparing the IP addresses of two suspected users to see if they correlate.
While not entirely conclusive, it may or may not identify sock puppets. Therefore, additional means of evidence gathering must be used. This includes:
- comparing the editing patterns of the users in question, which includes:
- what articles they edit
- when they edit
- how they communicate with other users
- comparing view points
Uses of a sock puppet
Sock puppets are used for two reasons:
- to circumvent policy,
- to give the appearance of additional "outsider" support for a certain idea or POV where outsider support is minimal or non-existant.
Sock puppets are typically used to:
- Circumvent blocks or bans.
- Come up in processes where voting is used as a tool to determine consensus, such as Think Tanks, Requests for adminship, Request for comment, and deletion discussions.
- To present support for an argument, or to make an opposing argument weaker through the use of "straw man" argumentation.
- For the purposes of trolling while maintaining an account that is viewed as "legitimate".
There is only one accepted use for a "sock puppet" account on Battlestar Wiki.
- Main article: Battlestar Wiki:Bots
Bots are considered a type of "sock puppet" run by a contributor on the wiki. Bots are types of programs that work on maintenance tasks on the wiki, such as listing articles that have been categorized for cleanup, merges, splits or have been identified as articles that are requested or are stubs that need the attention of contributors.
Bots are vetted through a verification and testing process prior to deployment on the wiki and can be blocked if they cause problems.