User:Anchoress/Administrators using sockpuppets

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Administrators using sockpuppets to gain an advantage in a conflict with another editor is the worst action an administrator can take.

Alternate accounts are tolerated on Wikipedia, and understandably. If an editor does not use their multiple accounts to gain an advantage in a situation by making the voice of one seem like the voice of many, it's not an offence.

Sockpuppets, on the other hand, are strongly discouraged, and with good reason. Sockpuppets can sway an argument by appearing to form a body of homogenous opinion; they can be used to create conflict and evade censure; they are disruptive and an obstacle to harmonious, productive editing.

But when an administrator uses a sockpuppet, an alternate account, to gain an advantage, especially in a conflict with another editor, it is particularly egregious, because, of all the harm an administrator can do, pagemoves can be undone, bot edits can be undone, blocks can be undone, but the destruction of trust that regular editors have with the body of admins in whom our community places trust, power, respect and responsibility, cannot be undone.

Administrators must, above all, be trustworthy. They may occasionally be guilty of incivility, bad judgement, jumping to conclusions, protecting the wrong version, erroneous reversion, defending the wrong editor or edit, etc etc etc, but they must never feel that they may use their position as an administrator (whether or not they actually use the tools) to 'win' a confrontation between one of their 'alternate accounts' and another editor. It is a deeply destructive act, not only to the admin in question, but to the body of administrators whom we trust to be impartial and impeccably ethical.