the wikipedia review

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Good sock hunting

with 11 comments

In today’s issue, Wikipedia Review determines whether there is such a thing as a “good sock puppet”. According to Wikipedia, its perfectly acceptable to have multiple accounts, so long as you don’t abuse it. But what counts as abuse? Apparently if you were banned for some obscure reason, and come back with a new account to edit productively, then that’s an abuse, while if you are an “editor in good standing” and/or an administrator, and have multiple accounts to either secretly push an agenda or to secretly create a new account, then that’s not abusive at all. It is, however, apparently a severe abuse for Wikipedia Review critics to say to the world what these sock puppet accounts are.

Cast Study 1: User:Until (1==2) suddenly has sysop powers. Who is he?

On 26 July 2007, Wikipedia Review user C H questioned who Until (1==2) might be. As discovered by Wikipedia Review user Infoboy, it was in fact User:H, who in turn was previously known as User:HighInBC. Apparently the rationale for this is that he felt that he was being stalked. So they create a mystery new account that suddenly has sysop powers, and in response to questions that that might be abuse, they say that it’s not because he is being stalked. You’d think that if he was being stalked then he’d either not use Wikipedia, or at least give up his sysop rights, wouldn’t you?

Case Study 2: SlimVirgin had used an old account, Sweet Blue Water, to abuse Wikipedia

On 22 August 2007, Wikipedia Review user Word Bomb discovered that in 2004 SlimVirgin had abused the sock puppet rules using an account called Sweet Blue Water to pretend that she had consensus in important articles such as the Lockerbie Bombing, and ultimately to pervert truth. The result of this is that an administrator called Cyde (who up to that point was hated by Wikipedia Review) decided to ban Sweet Blue Water and label the account as an abusive sock puppet of SlimVirgin. This in turn led to Word Bomb’s site AntiSocialMedia being labelled as an attack site in an official Request for Arbitration (in which Wikipedia Review was verified as not being an attack site), as well as suggestions that Cyde should be de-sysopped (which were ultimately quashed). They are an attack site because they accurately described that SlimVirgin was abusing a sock puppet.

Case Study 3: SlimVirgin creates a new sock puppet, Sunsplash, as a new identity, and while at it, to abuse LaRouche supporters

On 17 October 2007, Wikipedia Review user Herschellekrustofsky suggested that Sunsplash, a new user who had in their user profile that they were a “legitimate sock puppet” was secretly SlimVirgin, and pointed to their abuse of LaRouche articles, which few other editors have ever done (about the only other one being Chip Berlet). After some investigation, it was discovered with certainty that this was true. But JzG, an administrator on Wikipedia, insists that this discovery of her new sock puppet is itself stalking.

Case Study 4: WordBomb discovered one of JzG’s sock puppets, and considered exposing it.

On 8 October 2007, Wikipedia Review user Word Bomb discovered one of JzG’s sock puppets and considered exposing it. Ultimately he didn’t, but amidst all of this JzG was insisting that as someone who isn’t banned, he is allowed to have as many sock puppets as he likes, while banned users aren’t allowed to.

Case Study 5: Wikipedia have finally created a page which at least partially outlines the abuse caused by Amorrow.

On 19 October 2007, Wikipedia Review user LamontStormstar discovered that Wikipedia had recently created a “long term abuse” page on Amorrow, a user who Wikipedia Review had discovered was a cyber stalker and possibly real life stalker, who had created an entire web site dedicated to finding out the real life identities of female Wikipedia users. The problem previously, of course, was that Wikipedia refused to say what he had actually done. Indeed, they still don’t. He now has sock puppets, but Wikipedia say that it is “beyond their powers” to do anything about it since he just creates new ones. In turn, they have banned many people who weren’t him at all “just in case”, and also deleted all of their entries.


Wikipedia has this strange fascination with sock puppets, which has led to them having their own definitions of them. Why doesn’t Wikipedia simply require for everyone to use an e-mail address to identify who they are? Why don’t they go to lengths to try to prevent people from using multiple accounts? But Wikipedia insist that its okay, except when it is convenient for them to say that it is not. If you forget to log in (or are yet to create an account), then your IP address is listed, and if you have an ISP that uses dynamic IP addresses, then you may use multiple IP addresses (or alternatively if you log in from work etc), and Wikipedia insists that these are also “sock puppets” and are abusive - even if you were using the same computer and same ISP every single time. They can ban people for “abusive sock puppetry” when they did nothing to try to hide who they were, and didn’t try to harm Wikipedia, whilst in the same breath excusing some people who seriously abuse sock puppets. Merely for pointing out sock puppetry, some on Wikipedia label Wikipedia Review as an attack site. And in cases of serious abuse, which both sides agree are abusive, Wikipedia fails abysmally, yet still somehow manages to pretend that it is all Wikipedia Review’s fault.

I think that Wikitruth says it best. Wikipedia could go to more effort to stop sock puppetry, but they choose not to, because, by allowing sock puppetry it then allows admins (and others) to abuse people legitimately, and thus to hide their rather less legitimate abuses of power. As with vandalism, it is a handy method for them to hide what they are really doing.


Written by blissyu2

October 19th, 2007 at 7:46 pm

Posted in Editors, Sockpuppets

11 Responses to 'Good sock hunting'

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  1. Thanks for the memories …

    Jon Awbrey

    20 Oct 07 at 12:00 am

  2. Shouldn’t that be sock and not suck?

    The Fieryangel

    20 Oct 07 at 2:29 pm

  3. The ease of creating sock puppets creates a Culture of Muppetry in which otherwise serious discussions devolve into political guerrilla theater featuring colorful synthetic characters who seek advantage by deftly gaming the system.

    This transforms discussions on Wikipedia from an intellectual chess match to something more akin to the dramaturgical battleground of an MMPORG.


    21 Oct 07 at 8:45 am

  4. Indeed, it should be sock and not suck. lol.


    21 Oct 07 at 8:09 pm

  5. I think that if you had a clearer understanding that the rules are just for the little people, you wouldn’t get so worked up about this sort of thing.

    What you have is a self-identifying inner circle, which is convinced that it has the encyclopaedia’s best interests at heart (and mostly does, I think). There are no sekrit votes to allow you in. You just sort of become part of it in time. If you envisaged it as a sun with a host of planets, you have the right idea. You can guess for yourself who the sun is.

    The rules are to prevent outsiders from damaging the site, not standards to apply to all equally. Cries for justice on Wikipedia are always going to go unheard. The bottom line is, Adrian, *you* are not allowed a sockpuppet; Slim is. It’s not *fair* but only you presume there should be any “fairness” involved. The “other side” simply doesn’t.

    You are modelling your understanding of Wikipedia on the idea that it’s somewhat like the States. China would be a much better model.

    Dr Zen

    22 Oct 07 at 1:06 am

  6. Yes, Dr Zen, we all understand that the arsifickle life-form known as Wikipseudia Cabaleria spreads its Wikipodia through the World via a System Of Clonal Radiation And Preferential Immunity (SOCRAPI) where the only thing that matters to the Clowns, er, Clones thereof is whether one is Of The Body Or Otherwise (OTBOO). But thanks for confirming our diagnosis.

    Jon Awbrey

    22 Oct 07 at 4:40 am

  7. Note Moulton’s blog post on October 11th, 8 days before I wrote this:


    25 Oct 07 at 11:48 am

  8. Very unique point of view.. Loved reading your blog and I’ll be back for updates.

    Logan DeForest

    6 Mar 10 at 9:42 pm

  9. All materials copied from one more source

    Lyndsey Sexauer

    8 Nov 12 at 3:06 pm

  10. Very nice posting with solid info, cheers for spending the time to share it with people! I will check back often for up-dates you may post. Thanks again.

    Kathrin Trupiano

    29 Aug 13 at 1:58 pm

  11. I have not checked in here for a while as I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are great quality so I guess I¡¦ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend :)

    Bell Welter

    31 Dec 13 at 2:29 pm

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