User:Useight/RFA Subjects/Sockpuppetry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Talk moved from Hcheney on VfA (Archive 15)[edit]

(asterisk-depth reduced by 2 and capped at 4 - +sj+)

  1. "Experienced editors" have supported Alex Plank too, when he used sockpuppets in an attempt to cheat himself into adminship. Enough said. --Wik 20:43, Mar 22, 2004 (UTC)
    • Ah, it's Wik. If it makes you feel any better, Grazingship already has more than 100 edits to pages besides his user and talk pages. He pretty much wrote all of The Conservative Order by himself, and regarding Cheney, he's meaningfully edited here longer than I have. ugen64 23:38, Mar 22, 2004 (UTC)
      • So? Alex did thousands of edits with various sockpuppets. And a user who plays tricks like that shouldn't become sysop, so we should wait until we can rule this possibility out. --Wik 23:53, Mar 22, 2004 (UTC)
        • Wik, why do you force others to do work for you? All right, fine, as you could have determined had you visited the contributions of Hcheney and Grazingship, on the 22nd of March, Grazingship made edits at 22:14, 22:15, and 22:19; Hcheney made an edit at 22:18. Is this sufficient evidence for you? Jwrosenzweig 23:58, 22 Mar 2004 (UTC) P.S. Did some more checking -- they both made edits at 20:57 on March 22. Jwrosenzweig 23:59, 22 Mar 2004 (UTC)
          • That's precisely what I checked too, and the congruence of times is evidence for the sockpuppet thesis, not against. If two users were making edits at widely different times it could prove that they are indeed different people, because one person would be unlikely to edit at all those times. For example, if the combined edits of two users span a period of 24 hours without any interruption longer than 3 hours, you can conclude that it would be difficult for one person alone to do. That's why I suggest we wait another month, and then analyze the edits again for a more conclusive picture. --Wik 00:48, Mar 23, 2004 (UTC)
          • Okay, I'm going to give up convincing you, Wik, but I think this is ludicrous. Any two users who happen to live in the same or adjacent time zones might easily follow the same pattern of behavior. I cannot understand why you have chosen Hcheney and Grazingship out to be "guilty until proven innocent". After all, if I had proven that they never edited at the same time, wouldn't you have also called that suspicious? We could claim any two users "might possibly be sock puppets" and it would be difficult to defend against that claim given the logic you are using. I wish you were a little more trusting. Jwrosenzweig 00:53, 23 Mar 2004 (UTC)
          • I'm not calling anyone guilty. I'm just saying we can't make a judgement yet. If they never edited at the same time it wouldn't necessarily be suspicious, it depends on the specific pattern. And no, you can't claim any two users might be sock puppets. For almost all combinations of two different users you should be able to find an editing period that proves that they are distinct, as I explained above. --Wik 01:11, Mar 23, 2004 (UTC)
          • So many asterisks... anyway, through my statistical experience, it's very likely that two people will edit at similar times by chance. You also spelled judgment wrong. Finally, I don't understand your reasoning. Alexandros made a couple of questionable decisions, and he should have known better. However, Hcheney has shown himself to be cool and understanding, and whether or not Grazingship is a sockpuppet (which is pretty much impossible), that's not the issue here. The issue is whether Hcheney would make a good administrator. ugen64 01:53, Mar 23, 2004 (UTC)
          • Of course, they will sometimes edit at similar times. And sometimes at different times. But so far the times are all similar, so we should wait another month. Also, judgement is a correct variant of judgment. Finally, it is not all impossible that Grazingship is a sockpuppet, and if he is, then Hcheney cannot be trusted, and therefore would not make a good administrator. --Wik 02:32, Mar 23, 2004 (UTC)

Sockpuppets (Archive 27)[edit]

IMO User:Aule was a sockpuppet whose single edit alleging rascism from me forced me into abandoning my Request for admin. I have asked for a sockpuppet check, and am waiting on that. Having seen 2 editors leave during or immediately after their Admin request, and seeing the way some users appear to use it as an excuse to attack other users, I have serious doubts about the validity of the process, SqueakBox 00:16, July 30, 2005 (UTC)

The Bureaucrats, being responsible for closing the RfAs will surely be able to spot a sock a mile off, and simply discard their vote, even though the aim is consensus rather than an election. That alone probably not have harmed your RfA. In fact, a recent RfA (Saquatch's I think) attracted several socks, and they were still promoted: some users (semi-jokingly) concluded Sasquatch must have been doing a good job to attract so many socks! -Splash 00:27, 30 July 2005 (UTC)

Splash is correct, we try to be careful about socks. The broader issues you raise are important ones, however, in that editors whose RFAs are frustrating often leave the project, to the detriment of us all. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 03:03, 30 July 2005 (UTC)

I also withdrew my nomination in order not to get frustrated to the point of leaving. I wasn't looking for adminship, but felt it would have been improper to refuse. I feel other users used it as an excuse to launch attacks against me (not Rhodite) which were uncalled for and just spoilt my day. They wouldn't have launched the attacks otherwise, ie nothing to create an Rfc or complain at an admin page because I am not a bad user. An admin complaining about my edits to batpedia felt like pure trolling as this has nothing to do with wikipedia. I won't be trying again, SqueakBox 03:10, July 30, 2005 (UTC)

It wasn't trolling. In addition to issues brought up by other users that I felt were valid, including personal attacks and POV pushing, I felt that your edits to Batpedia were attempts to get your views about Haile Selassie and Javier Solana expressed in a less stringent environment. Also, your edits there reflected some kind of anti-Italian sentiment, I gathered. I think you should continue to edit at Wikipedia because this project cherishes editors of all kinds, regardless of their opinions, but at this time I do not feel you would be an even-handed administrator. Andre (talk) 03:28, July 30, 2005 (UTC)


My grandfather was Italian. I wasn't trying to promote anything at batpedia. Look at the context in which I made my edits. I still don't feel bringing it up was appropriate. Allegations of rascism are ridiculous, and make me question the motivations of anyone accusing me, without the slightest evidence I might add. I perceived your criticisms were very much designed to get me off Wikipedia, regardless of your actual motivation. I took a hell of a lot from Zapatancas and his SquealingPig ally, break your dead dog's arse, your wife is a transexual etc. In contrast my comments have been very mild. No admins are around supporting me with this troll. I am not inhuman, what can I do. Leave wikipedia as so many people seem to want, SqueakBox 03:59, July 30, 2005 (UTC)


Well Aule has withdrawn his rascism charges, though the damage is mostly done. I live in a society where being white marks me out as being different. I have been seriously attacked for that. I am in a mixed race marriage. i abhor rascism. hence my withdrawing of the Rfc before more offensive and ridiculous accusations were made against me. There seems to be something in the admin election process encouraging this, andf making people leave. I hope it changes, hence my comments here. Just because I was up for admin doesn't give people the right to attack me, and I have been attacked far too often here already, SqueakBox 04:08, July 30, 2005 (UTC)

I never said you were racist, but I did feel that your edits on Batpedia were made seriously. You do, in fact, espouse the ideals of Rastafarianism, don't you? This would include everything you added to Batpedia, and you did call Italian colonists "wicked" and the country of Italy "blighted" in your edits. I apologize if you were offended, though; I mean you no harm. I merely do not feel that you are by any means admin material, right now. Andre (talk) 04:16, July 30, 2005 (UTC)
A "bald head" cannot be Rasta. Have a look at SB's pix. "Scissors and comb" are forbidden. Guettarda 04:26, 30 July 2005 (UTC)

It would be good to know why I am not admin material in your eyes. Re Rastafari see User talk:Trey Stone#Rastas. I get very frustrated that the roll back is not more freely available. It makes me not want to bother reverting vandalism. With a slow connection and a long article it can be a nightmare. As I say if I had been looking for adminship it would be different. I wish I hadn't accepted the nomination. I think the whole 2 tier system is flawed but that is just an opinion. We are advised to act and think like admins. I have been doing this for a while, and will not change, SqueakBox 04:24, July 30, 2005 (UTC)

Vandalism of MarkSweep's nomination. (Archive 27)[edit]

Two users, probably sockpuppets of the same person, JiangsSockpuppetMarkSweep and MarkSweepIsCommunist, have been adding fake oppose votes to MarkSweep's nomination. JiangsSockpuppetMarkSweep also vandalized the user talk page of Instantnood, a supporter of MarkSweep (see Instantnood's talk page history). Could someone please block them? Ryan 07:05, July 31, 2005 (UTC)

Done. Bothe were obvious username blocks even without the vandalism. Dmcdevit·t 07:42, July 31, 2005 (UTC)

a request (Archive 28)[edit]

I would like to ask for the abilltiy to check IPs so that i can hep against the rising tide of sock and meat puppetry, if a few more of us who can be trusted have the power to do so, then oit would be easier onm the DevsGavin the Chosen 17:42, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

You should probably wait to ask untill after your ArbCom case is over. Father Howabout1 Talk to me! 17:50, August 13, 2005 (UTC)
At present that capability is limited to a single designated member of the Arbitration Committee who is permitted to use it only to make determinations about sockpuppertry related to arbitration cases. The place to ask would be either the Wikipedia:Mailing list or try asking at m:Requests_for_permissions, but I wouldn't recommend it since you're unlikely to be taken seriously due to your rather limited involvement with the project. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 17:58, 13 August 2005 (UTC)


id still think it wouldbe a good idea... and for the record btw, this is not a soick puppet, casue its heonly account im usung.Gavin the Chosen 18:00, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

Maybe you're not a sock, but you're still Gabrialsimon. Father Howabout1 Talk to me! 18:12, August 13, 2005 (UTC)

Very TrueGavin the Chosen 18:14, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

Gavin, this is a genuinely astonishing request, as you yourself have run afoul of standards for sock puppetry. You have created several sock puppet accounts, publicly and privately lied about the nature of those accounts, and attempted to besmirch the character of other users when they have challenged you. You have only owned up to your deeds when under extreme pressure from admins and, as far as I can tell, have never expressed remorse, made appropriate appologies, or acknowledged wrongdoing. If there is "a rising tide of sock and meat puppetry," it is obvious that you are, or at least have been in the past week, a part of it. And now you want the keys to the henhouse?

You seem to have developed the idea that the way for you to demonstrate your usefulness and value to the Wikipedia community is to be given special powers and privileges. This is just a bit of advice: you are putting the cart before the horse. If you want to become an admin or an arbitrator, you _first_ need to demonstrate your maturity, judgement and dedication to the project. You need to get through your arbitration process, work with the admins who are mentoring you, avoid actions that get you blocked, and put a few months of quality edits "on the board" before even thinking about these kinds of things.--Craigkbryant 21:19, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps bureaucrats should have this capability? — Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 05:59, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

support! we need more people with access to IPs, but we need clear policy who these are. Since at present we have the division admin-bureaucrat-developer, It would seem straightforward to give the bureaucrats this power. Admins interested in the capability could then apply for bureaucratship. Should we draw up a clean policy proposal along these lines, or will it be voted down anyway? dab () 07:11, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
bureaucrats were elected way back not all of them are even active Wikipedia:Bureaucrat#Other bureaucrats. They were not elected to have the power to cheack IPs. Thus there is no way to know if they have communty support to have this power. The majority of arbcom members are probably already overloaded athough I think the ability should be offered to them. Other than that direct aplications from respected admins/bureaucrats is porobaly the best bet. Anyone want to start a policy page?Geni 09:37, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
sure, this is a new suggestion. We would have to look if there is community support for this. Since the active bureaucrats are trusted veterans, do think people will be open to the suggestion. We can do a separate "Request for IP access" voting page, but that seems like an additional load of wikicracy administration, and technically, these "IP accessors" would have to be elevated to developer status, I suppose. Just giving bureaucrats this power seems the least, well, bureaucratic apporach to me. dab () 07:19, 15 August 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Geni on this. The only additional power that bureaucrats were entrusted with was the promotion of admins. In my opinion, bureaucrats aren't super-admins and shouldn't have additional administrative powers. If we want more people to have access to check-user, there really should a process for granting this. It's true that it would add to the wikicracy, but I'm not sure how many people would apply. Carbonite | Talk 14:20, 15 August 2005 (UTC)
In the same way we have little "request for bureaucracy" section at the bottom, we could have a little "request for ip access", it need not be too complicated at all. Martin - The non-blue non-moose 14:28, 15 August 2005 (UTC)
Instead of adding to the 'wikicracy', why not just give it to the arb com? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ilyanep (talkcontribs) 23:01, August 16, 2005

Boothy impostor (Archive 31)[edit]

Just informing everyone of an impostor, User:Boothy 443, who voted on a few RFAs (it looks like all of the votes have been deleted or struck through, and the user blocked). I've also deleted an IP vote on User:Who's RFA- by the timestamp, it appears that it was the same user. Ral315 01:20, 25 September 2005 (UTC)

Please do not remove the vote. Mark it as a sockpuppet below. =Nichalp «Talk»= 06:49, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

CDThieme sockpuppetry (Archive 42)[edit]

As well as running the impostor Jguk. (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · nuke contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) (note dot on the end), CDThieme has been multiply voting in AFDs and RFAs using: No Account, Tree&Leaf, Longboat, Uncarved Block, Quintusdecimus and Via Egnatia - and none of those were created recently, so CD probably has a pile of other accounts in the wings. I've also blocked CDThieme for 48 hours' reflection - David Gerard 08:32, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Have you asked jguk if the account is his? I believe that jguk. belongs to jguk. =Nichalp «Talk»= 04:41, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
You missed the full stop.--nixie 04:43, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Simple solution to sockpuppetry (Archive 51)[edit]

I have a simple solution to virtually eliminating the sockpuppet problem. You can not participate in an RFA if your account was created on the same day as the RFA. Plain and simple! Comment, please. Linuxbeak (drop me a line) 14:11, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

I'd amend this to include people who's first edit is their vote as well.--Urthogie 14:17, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
I would go one step further and say that you cannot participate in an RFA if your account was created within a week of the participation. Yes, I know that there may be someone who was previously not registered and has a legitimate beef with an editor and wants to create an account solely to comment, but I think someone should understand that if they choose not to create an account, this is just one of those things that they will not be able to do. -- DS1953 talk 14:20, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
(grr, edit conflict) I would generally like to see some mild suffrage requirements: you should not be able to vote, only comment, if your account is newer than a month and has less than 50 edits at the time the RfA starts. (Or some other arbitrary low numbers that make sure any reasonably good contributor can vote). Most other language Wikipedias seem to have such requirements for voting. Kusma (討論) 14:22, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. Anyone should be allowed to comment regardless of any requirements for voting.--Urthogie 14:26, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

If there is an agreement that a suffrage to RFA is necessary, an alternative to implementing a new suffrage would be to use one that already exists. We could make it mandatory/automatic to semi-protect all RFA pages. This has the dual effect of blocking all anons from voting as well as fairly new users (though the four days is less than the above proposals), but has the disadvantage that these users can't make comments. For the disadvantage, I guess the users who fail suffrage are still free to comment in the RFA's talk page, and if it's valid (ie, not trolling, vandalism, etc.), someone else can move the comment onto the RFA page. --Deathphoenix ʕ 14:42, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

There are rarely (if ever) useful comments from anonymous/very new users anyway, semi-protection is a good idea. Martin 14:58, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

I don't know if sockpuppetry is such a big issue, and any suffrage rules could be hard to enforce (and semiprotection would be going too far I think). Would be simpler in my view to just keep the current practice, where people start a thread under a suspicious vote saying that the user is new, this is his second edit only, etc, and then allow the closing bureaucrat to think about what to do.

If, in the future, sockpuppetry becomes widespread, then maybe a rule would be necessary. Oleg Alexandrov (talk) 15:00, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

I'm usually the first to suggest other solutions to a semi-protect (at least, with regards to folks wanting to protect Harry Potter-related articles), but in this case, semi-protection is actually a weaker suffrage than what is being proposed (or has been proposed in the past). With the current definition of "very new" being four days, this is an incredibly weak suffrage for RFA, but one that is easy to implement. On the other hand, this does go against the policies currently set out in WP:SEMI, so it might require a policy change, which is quit a problem to do. OTOH, it's true, sockpuppets and new users voting are usually not a problem: there's often at least one user "watching over" an RFA who can immediately point out these problematic voters. --Deathphoenix ʕ 15:12, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

The case of Jedi6 is relevant because there were some confirmed socks at work in that RfA. Specifically, User:Rick Browser, User:The Eye, and User:Jean-Luc Picard. Now it should be noted that these accounts were not new, and were only discounted because a checkuser was done. I think if we start having these kind of requirements, more users will simply create lingering sock-puppet accounts that they bring out of the woodwork every so often. In fact, I'm sure this is already the case. So, no this solution would not eliminate the sockpuppet problem. jacoplane 15:06, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

When sockpuppetry does happen, it puts great stress on the candidate and makes the RfA ugly and appearing to be "controversial" although it isn't. It is also no fun to accuse people of sockpuppetry. Hard rules are much fairer and easier in this case: votes by people not having suffrage could be moved into an extra section and not have the discussion about them fill all of the regular voting section. Kusma (討論) 15:16, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Most important is for users to be aware that if they have questions about a vote, they should feel comfortable raising them; there are far too many votes on far too many RfAs for the bureaucrats to research every voter in depth. As Deathphoenix points out, there are usually users "watching over" each RfA, and it is essential for them to bring out thier suspicions. In most cases, it doesn't matter, because the RfA passes with flying colors, or falls below the threshhold were removing one or two votes would matter, but in a tight case, it's important for us to know that there are votes that should be considered. If a user is unsure of themselves, they should contact a bureaucrat privately to discuss concerns; I know I'm more than willing to discuss concerns like this with individuals. Essjay TalkContact 15:30, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

This also suggests that regardless of whether people add comments about possible newuser or sock activity, that the bureacrats would be well served to check things more closely when the consensus isn't as clear cut. And I'm expecting they do, whether or not people help out. But helping out presumably makes things easier for them... ++Lar: t/c 16:02, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

I see no need for instruction creep concerning suffrage or sock puppetry. Users should feel free to comment in a civil manner on other users who are voting, and then the bureaucrats should review it. We have a long history of close detailed time-consuming scrutiny of close RfAs by bureaucrats, thats their job. The most recent is Linuxbeak's promotion of Tawker discussed here. One of the nice things about having a bunch of bureaucrats is that there is always one available with the time to do a comprehensive review of a close RfA. No fewer than five bureaucrats have done promotions since Francs and Cecropia retired. NoSeptember talk 17:38, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

I think my RfA is more likely an oddity than the norm. :-) Jedi6-(need help?) 17:58, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

I have to agree with the sentiments above that we don't need another "rule" regarding RfA. I trust our bureaucrats to be able to tell when a user is a sockpuppet with malicious intent; right now, we don't have a major problem. Remember that we should assume good faith to the highest degree possible - simply because someone is new should not mean that that person is automatically excluded from any discussions. Thanks! Flcelloguy (A note?) 20:42, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

  • Honestly, users shouldn't be given suffrage unless they have been around for a MONTH and have AT LEAST 500 edits. — Deckiller 20:45, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
    • har har har... --Deathphoenix ʕ 20:49, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
      • I'm serious :) — Deckiller 21:05, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
I protest, as that's too low. So here we are: To be able to vote, you must be here for 2 months, have 1000 edits, out of which 100 project edits, 250 user talk edits, have worked on some featured article, and have 95.5% edit summary usage! I mean, we need serisous dedicated people to vote, and not just everybody. And if somebody has three sockpuppets all satisfying these criteria, let them all vote, no? Oleg Alexandrov (talk) 23:29, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
These proposals are all far too liberal. Only members and former members of the Arbitration Committee should be allowed to vote. We must restore sanity to Wikipedia! Kelly Martin (talk) 23:39, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
The ArbCom should not usurp power that belongs to Jimbo alone. One-man votes are also make counting easier. Kusma (討論) 23:50, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Obviously not strict enough. The user must go on a quest and do at least 3 of the following: 1) rescue a helpless princess, 2) resuce a helpless prince 3) destroy an evil Darlord, 4) destroy an evil magical artifact, 5) kill a dragon 6) prove the Riemman Hypothesis. In fact, now that it comes down it, I dont think Jimbo has doen any of those, so I guess to be fair he shouldn't be allowed to vote. Presumably zero votes means no consensus, so all adminships will fail until Jimbo hurries up and complete's his quests. Anyone know any dragons needing slaying? JoshuaZ 00:03, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

To Deckill, sorry, I misinterpreted your question as something like "We shouldn`t have a suffrage, but we should only allow users to edit here if they have been around for a month..." Apologies, with that interpretation, I thought it was a joke. --Deathphoenix ʕ 03:10, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Oh, it's okay ^_^. As for the above, how about 2 weeks and 250 edits? :) — Deckiller 03:13, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
My vote is going to be biased, since I don't even meet those requirements, and I participate in the RfAs. But bias aside, I'm liking the time requirement, but I don't think the edit requirement should be that strict. Some users, especially in their first few weeks at Wikipedia, would rather sit and observe before they jump into things. Also, we don't want to give the impression to less frequent editors that they don't have a say in how Wikipedia works. Even an edit count of 20 would ensure that new users know what Wikipedia is about before voting, and it would also discourage sockpuppets; if they *tried* to make twenty edits, it would be very suspicious.(^'-')^ Covington 01:45, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Strike outs (Archive 53)[edit]

Please do not strike out a sock puppet's vote or comments (WRT: RasputinAXP's RFA). Instead 1) delist it from the numbering system by using #: and 2) add a small signed note below saying that the above user is a sockpuppet. The closing bureaucrat might want to evaluate the validity of the claim. =Nichalp «Talk»= 08:39, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Agree 100%. Removing and/or striking votes is a bureaucrat task, and should remain such. Essjay TalkContact 21:02, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
Note to bureaucrats: The above user has been a bureaucrat for less than a month (^_~). NoSeptember talk 15:22, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Refactoring RfA totals to remove sockpuppets after they have been closed? (Archive 57)[edit]

User:Dragon's Blood was found to be a Zephram Stark sockpuppet. This user also voted on a large number of RfAs as part of their long term encroachment to make the sock plausible. As a sock of a banned user, I would presume that the votes it made are not valid. Therefore, should the vote totals be adjusted on the admin stats pages? JoshuaZ 00:16, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Not really. The totals *do* accurately reflect the totals used for promotion, and that is what matters. Essjay (TalkConnect) 01:38, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Well the totals in all technicality don't mean anything since it isn't a true vote (it isn't truly consensus based either) since the number of support or oppose in actuality seems to act more to a guide for the bureaucrats to look at when seeing if there's a consensus or not to promote. Pegasus1138Talk | Contribs | Email ---- 03:27, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
This may be true, but the totals in any case do represent the state the RfA was in when it was closed. The tags say "This is preserved as an archive" for a reason: Specifically, so people know what the state of things was at the time the decision was made. If you rewrite the history, then it will only be natural for people to come along and say "Why did this happen?" The bottom line is this: Regardless of whether we find out someone was a sockpuppet two months later, at the time the bureaucrat decided what to do, the vote was considered legitimate. That is what should be recorded. Essjay (TalkConnect) 03:46, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Is there anyone that was so close that one opinion mattered one way or the other? Those would be the only ones I'd even consider supporting doing anything about... and although I haven't checked I am thinking there haven't been any such in a while. ++Lar: t/c 03:57, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Of course, there could be. However, I was recalling an RfA I know of recently where there were three sockpuppets. Three oppose votes stricken could affect a tally significantly. Taking two fairly reasonable numbers, 50/15, which is 76.92% support, could quite easily be a no consensus; it would be 50/12 with those three removed, which would be 80.64%, a clear promote. So yes, it could be that close. Essjay (TalkConnect) 04:36, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the analysis. So what do you think? I'm still thinking that even if it "could be that close" mathematically that the changes wouldn't make a difference (and maybe closer to the original question) and shouldn't make a difference. What's done is done, leave sleeping dogs lie, etc. Do others agree? ++Lar: t/c 15:53, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

If the RfA failed when it should have succeeded, a 2nd nom is all that's needed to fix the problem - they should succeed this time. If it succeeded when it should have failed, then it's a little cruel to take back someone's mop. If they do something wrong, they can go through ArbCom like anyone else, otherwise let's just consider them as lucky. --Tango 16:06, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Sockpuppetry at Cool3's RfA (Archive 58)[edit]

Just alerting RfA watchers regarding ongoing sockpuppetry at Cool3's RfA; copying the note I left there below:

This RfA has been voted on by three users with under a dozen edits -- Y-y-yoda (vote), David-wright (vote), Vandal buster 288 (vote) -- one of which has the same userpage styling as Cool3's previous RfA nominator (compare User:ErnestIsTheMan with User:Vandal buster 288).

~ PseudoSudo 00:05, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Note that we shouldn't jump to conclusions that the nominee is the one with sock puppets; another RfA also had an issue and was confirmed via CheckUser that the candidate had nothing to do with it. Thanks! Flcelloguy (A note?)
For the record, I note that the aforementioned userpage styling is common among new users and retract any connection I may have implied regarding Cool3's involvement in the matter. ~ PseudoSudo 19:36, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
By the way... this is linked to the Exicornt vandal and EddieSegoura, from what I understand of it. See also WP:ANI. NSLE (T+C) at 06:09 UTC (2006-05-26)
In this, Checkuser confirmed sockpuppets. See the report here. --Calton | Talk 06:38, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Alternate users (Archive 66)[edit]

How has having an alternate user account historically affected RfA's? The User:Jtkiefer - Pegasus affair is certainly an interesting episode. The reason I ask is I have an alternate user, User:Mikereichold. I established this account because my other one is in my real name. I felt vulnerable after dealing with vandals that lived in a nearby city. My name is unique enough that I would not be hard to find if a kook wanted to look.

I acknowledge the alternate users on each page and give the identity of this alternate user on the other one. I make the recommended affirmations of innocence and benignity on each. I mention it now out of curiosity and to have some discourse now before I even consider submitting an RfA. I would appreciate reading what others think on the subject. Cheers, :) Dlohcierekim 14:36, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

The rules are laid out in WP:SOCK as long as you follow them and don't try to vote stack, then there are no issues. What Jtkiefer - Pegasus affair are you referring to? - Taxman Talk 14:58, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Taxman, take a look at Wikipedia:Requests_for_adminship/Jtkiefer_3, which might warrant an early closure. I don't see there's much chance of this request reaching consensus unless some extraordinary evidence is forthcoming soon. Gwernol 15:36, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
This affair is frightening. The notion that we made this person an admin previously is disturbing. I personally supported the Pegasus incarnation in some of his previous RfAs, and gave him off-Wiki advice about how to be diplomatic in RfAs. This almost makes me think that RfA standards are not strict enough. JoshuaZ 16:42, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
This is just too strange. Is there any confirmation that the two accounts are really the same person? (Liberatore, 2006). 16:55, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
See Kelly Martin's recent comments in the RfA. JoshuaZ 16:59, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
The current situation is a rather extraordinary one. It's probably not a helpful example to use. Jkelly 16:53, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
    • Like Taxman says, WP:SOCK is pretty clear. Anyone using an alternate user is supposed to be open about it and not abuse it. The idea of dual adminship is pretty staggering except for the one limited exception I know of. This is reminiscent of the JoshuaZ et al question about admin’s with sock puppets. I don’t know that more stringent requirements are in order. The question of how to assess an RfA candidate is where it was when my alternate user started taking part in RfA’s How did they do it in the old days-- look at each edit? The last 500?? All in all, how do you assess for character? :) Dlohcierekim 17:20, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
      • It's too bad about Jtkiefer, certainly abused our trust. I even tried to convince Pegasus to come back when he said he was leaving. I don't know what happened here, but it happens with far greater frequency than we'd like to admit. I've seen in various places anonymous folks saying that they're building up admin accounts, but I guess this is one case where the admin-sockpuppeteer has been caught red-handed. --Deathphoenix ʕ 17:33, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

I have a related idea which I suspect will be shot down (I'm not even sure it is a good idea myself but I think it may be worth thinking about). Why not have any individual who accepts a request for adminship submit to a checkuser request. After the checkuser request, the person who performed the checkuser will talk to the candidate about any observed anomalies and will then make a report to the RfA about whether there appear to be any serious violations of WP:SOCK. JoshuaZ 18:46, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

At this moment I don't think a checkuser function will help out much. I've personally seen the process in action and it is a *huge* drain on the wikipedia servers. Plans are on to improve it's functioning. =Nichalp «Talk»= 19:13, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
I think it would be easier to just add a new question to RFAs: "Please list all accounts and IP numbers under which you have edited." If someone knowingly withheld information that would be relevant to the adminship request, it would be grounds for desyssopping, which could be handled through arbitration. --Tony Sidaway 19:01, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Sounds good. But we could have someone who has engaged in silliness and vandalism. Thought better of it - created a new accounnt and edited harmoniously for 8 months. Do we realy need them to declare that they were a 'penis vandal' for two days, three years ago? Perhaps better just asking 'have you even submitted an RfA under a different nick?'. --Doc 19:06, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
It's not like we could even run a checkuser that far. At most, we get information about the last four weeks of edits. It seems unnecesary, at least to me: we can't legislate every single thing that could happen, and this case falls under this. So, I can't use EvilCat to test a new monobook.css layout? Titoxd(?!?) 08:15, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Per WP:SOCK#Legitimate uses of multiple accounts (mostly the security aspects), I feel it is too extreme to force an adminship candidate to publicly identify alternative accounts. And demanding IP numbers should be way out of bounds from the view of personal privacy. Dragons flight 19:09, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Can't see this as that practical, it would just mean being careful to avoid the checkuser showing anything up. Checkuser isn't and never will be the be all and end all of sockpuppet detection. --pgk(talk) 20:15, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Checkuser? (Archive 66)[edit]

Given this claim by Karmafist, and the recent debacle over Jtkiefer, I'm beginning to think that every RFA candidate should be checkusered. Thoughts? Thatcher131 (talk) 00:26, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

I was thinking the same thing. The additional workload on RfCU wouldn't be great, and there appears to be a need. -Will Beback 00:28, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, I was thinking it should be privately done. Public requests could be divisive, and ten new requests a week at RFCU would double the load, more or less. There are 12 other checkusers, of course. If done privately and something worrying showed up, it could be discussed privately, hopefully clearing it up without ever having to publicly raise the issue. But I also wonder about the practicallities. If an experienced user was really careful, he might be able to keep multiple accounts so well segregated that he wouldn't leave the kind of trail checkuser can find. Just thinking out loud. Thatcher131 (talk) 00:37, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I imagine this will quickly get opposed into oblivion over WP:AGF or some such, but I think it's a good idea with a few provisos. The information should be more confidential than a typical checkuser, so people don't have to risk personal location/ISP information becoming public knowledge just by running for RfA. Also the workload on RFCU needs to be considered, I'd like to hear from people active over there before this proposal goes anywhere. But workload alone shouldn't shoot this down, maybe we could promote more people to checkuser status (and no I'm not volunteering, hehe) --W.marsh 00:40, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I clerk at RFCU and I can pretty much predict Mackensen and Essjay's response :-/ However there are about 14 people with checkuser access, including all the members of Arbcom, and they use it frequently to identify and block abusive socks, open proxies, etc. (Look at Fred Bauder's block log for example). They just don't usually respond to public requests. It is definitely possible to have some of the other checkusers run private checks, only disclosing results if a candidate is a reincarnation of someone who should not be an admin. In fact, it may already be done for all I know. And I am quite prepared to have this shot down on AGF grounds. I am concerned that with people bragging that their socks are going to become admins, its only a matter of time until someone (probably someone who is not bragging) gets through, and I honestly don't know what to do (if anything) about it. Thatcher131 (talk) 00:51, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
<Scratches head> Yeah I see the problem there. I've argued for applying a variant of the turing test before. Would that work? I don't think we'd get many bots as admins :-P , but we'd get some very interesting and useful socks. Kim Bruning 01:10, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Maybe a Voight-Kampff test instead? How long can the candidate answer loaded questions before breaking out with a giveaway response :-/ Thatcher131 (talk) 01:14, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Bahahahaha. You win. -- nae'blis 05:18, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Indeed, totally pwned all my base. Kim Bruning 12:35, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

The danger that somebody may use their admin powers to damage Wikipedia is very real. However, I believe all admin actions are reversible. Also, that potential rogue admin does not have to be a sock of some other rogue user, and then Checkuser won't help.

On the other hand, I am very uneasy with the requirement that each potential admin have to go through the checkuser. To sum it up, I would think mandatory checkuser it is not a good idea at the moment (it may be, if such an incident with a sockpuppet becoming an admin and causing damage actually happens.) Oleg Alexandrov (talk) 01:12, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

I can see both sides here, on one hand a CheckUser could potentially save a whole lot of trouble with rogue admins down the line, but on the other hand, a request for a CheckUser on a candidate of this sort, without any explicit socks or such would probably be denied as a fishing expedition at WP:RFCU, and I'm not sure if going through a checkuser and having one's IP exposed should be required for having a shot at becoming an admin.--digital_me(TalkContribs) 01:37, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't think the Privacy policy allows it to begin with, and perhaps useless. Just for hypothetical purposes, let's assume it is a returning banned user, who has not edited in more than two months with the banned account, but keeps editing previously with his/her new username. If we ran a checkuser, the results would be negative because the Recent changes table, where editors' IP addresses are stored, needs to be routinely purged about every four weeks or so. After it is purged, the IPs are lost forever without Apache log analysis, which is hard to do, and in this situation, pointless. Titoxd(?!?) 01:44, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I would be all for this, if Checkuser were magic computer dust that always worked. If it were, we could dodge any privacy policy issues by making allowing a checkuser on yourself a required part of accepting an RfA nomination. However. It isn't magic computer dust. And if people know they are going to be checkusered, it is not that hard for them to alter their behavior and connectivity strategies to avoid detection. That's exactly why the checkusers tend to shrug at self-requests for checkuser: if someone's requesting it, either they're innocent, or they've gone out of their way to avoid detection. So, the plan to Checkuser admin candidates is only a starter if it is done in secret. In which case, I'm pretty sure it's would be a blatant pricacy violation. Bit of a catch-22. (Plus, the first time a checkuser had to announce the results of one of these secret CUs, the jig would kind of be up.) —Bunchofgrapes (talk) 02:33, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Checkuser is probably worse than useless for this. It's not a privacy violation if the user consents to have it done (which consent would presumably become part of the deal when one accepts an RFA nom), but admin candidates tend to be technical enough to know how to conceal their socks (if they are up to no good) before the checkuser happens. Giving anyone in that position a "checkuser clean bill of health" could be quite misleading, so it's better to stay neutral. Users with checkuser authority might choose to check out candidates sua sponte if they think something odd is up (and intervene if the CU finds something), but this should not be a standardized practice. Phr (talk) 02:56, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

The amount of mischief a rogue admin can do before being de-sysoped and blocked is rather limited. Everything an admin can do can now be reverted, and if some sad lunatic is so revengeful that he's willing to work for many months and make thousands of quality edits just so he can cause a minute of havoc, we should almost be grateful for his rage which brought us the lasting contributions. The worst thing we can do is turn paranoid over this and start suspecting every rfa candidate of being a rogue wikipedian in disguise. That would hurt the project overall much more than some psycho some day maybe making it to admin-status and getting his 1 minute of infamy. Shanes 03:45, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

The problem is that if a user is stealthy enough to stay hidden for months as an editor, they are probably stealthy enough to stay hidden as an admin. I am not worried about the admins that "flameout" in a minute of fun. I am worried about an admin that slow burns for months and makes life uncomfortable for lots of users. --Tbeatty 06:39, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

I want such incidents of rogue admin to be rare, and out of the ordinary. All one can do is make sure the right people get the right tools by voting one conscious. --Masssiveego 06:26, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

"If we CheckUser the candidates, the vandals have already won."? -- nae'blis 05:18, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Checkuser them after they are accepted. That will cut down the workload. Also cuts down on the follwup. It could be done before Bureacrat makes them an admin and after the vote. Problem checkusers can be handled privately giving the candidate the ability to withdraw if it's too problematic. Bureacrats routinely make recommendations to candidates if they think they won't be successful. If they don't withdraw, clear the vote, make the problem known and let the community revote. --Tbeatty 06:39, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

That's sensible. -Will Beback 07:04, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't think we have a need to checkuser. I was ha ha only serious about the Turing Test. If some entity[1] passes requests for adminship, does it matter what that entity actually is? Kim Bruning 11:08, 16 August 2006 (UTC) [1] Human, sock, stephen colbert masquerading as an elephant, or even a sentient bot sometime in the distant future, who cares? On the internet, no one knows you're a dog. As long as you don't bite people, and do normal administrative tasks like everyone else, what the heck, please come and be an admin!

No, it doesn't, but it might matter that said entity hasn't already passed as something else. ;-) SlimVirgin (talk) 11:23, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, as long as both entities appear effectively separate, it might turn out that that distinction isn't relevant. Does that make sense, in the context of how the turing test works? Kim Bruning 11:46, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, indeed, but the Turing test wasn't handing out privileges. :-) The point is simply that it's not a good idea to have one user (human, dog, or sentient bot) with multiple adminships, and this would cut down the possibility, though of course not rule it out entirely. Someone determined enough could post with proxies in the time leading up to his nom, but he'd have to be quite determined, because it would add to the nuisance factor. At least with an automatic check user, we'd make it harder. Or we could have random checks, left to the discretion of the bureaucrat. My own preference would have been not to have this discussion in public, and for bureaucrats to take it upon themselves to check some or all noms discreetly, but it's too late for that now. ;-D SlimVirgin (talk) 11:52, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Totally agree with Kim. There is absolutely no need to checkuser prospective candidates, it violates the privacy policy and it would not actually fix anything. Where exactly is the problem that this "solution" is designed to fix? This is precisely one of the reasons that the introduction of Checkuser was opposed - it can be used as a fishing expidition, frivolously or otherwise. Checkuser should only be used in the most limited of circumstances to counter abuse of Wikipedia. Prospective admin candidates should be welcomed in good faith, not subjected to an intrusive investigation of their likeliehood to be vandals or undiscovered sockpuppets. The process as it now operates is fraught with stress for candidates, please let's not pile any more upon them.
For those in doubt, the policy staes:
It is the policy of Wikimedia that personally identifiable data collected in the server logs, or through records in the database via the CheckUser feature, may be released by the system administrators or users with CheckUser access, in the following situations:
  • 1. In response to a valid subpoena or other compulsory request from law enforcement
  • 2. With permission of the affected user
  • 3. To the chair of Wikimedia Foundation, his legal counsel, or his designee, when necessary for investigation of abuse complaints.
  • 4. Where the information pertains to page views generated by a spider or bot and its dissemination is necessary to illustrate or resolve technical issues.
  • 5. Where the user has been vandalising articles or persistently behaving in a disruptive way, data may be released to assist in the targeting of IP blocks, or to assist in the formulation of a complaint to relevant Internet Service Providers
  • 6. Where it is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of the Wikimedia Foundation, its users or the public.
  • Wikimedia policy does not permit public distribution of such information under any circumstances, except as described above.
This prohibits the random, unchecked use of the Checkuser function for good reason. I am totally opposed to this suggested use on RfA.
--Cactus.man 12:05, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
A discussion on Meta (not here on the English-language Wikipedia) a while back brought the suggestion that Bureaucrats should have CheckUser access. Originally, the idea was that all Bureaucrats, in all the Wikimedia projects, would have the tool in their respective projects. This was widely rejected given the sensitivity of the information associated with the tool. I suggested that the active Bureaucrats on this Wikipedia (the English-language Wikipedia) could have the tool (currently, Essjay and UninvitedCompany have it). The main reason for my suggestion was the relatively small number of CheckUsers handling public requests at WP:RCU, but as far as RfA is concerned, I had thought that whether or not to use the tool, and actually using it, would become part of Bureaucrat diligence when analyzing any given RfA: if there was reasonable reason to believe that the candidate or any participant was a [so far unidentified] sockpuppet, the Bureaucrat would be able to ascertain the situation (in theory: not forgetting that CheckUser, as it has been said, is not a magical tool, but rather it has limitations, both technical and from our Privacy Policy) and make a decision. I got no feedback from the Meta community though. Redux 16:43, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree w/ Thatcher. I was thinking of requesting another adminship on my infamous sockpuppet account User:Non-existant. -- Szvest 17:09, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

I would like to point out that sockpuppet administrator account(s) can, in fact, cause grave and irreversable damage. If someone did indeed manage to get several accounts through RfA successfully, there could easily be irreversable, though non-technical, implications that I would rather not discuss. The potential damage is real and huge. Whether or not that justifies CheckUser is a another question, though. Thanks! Flcelloguy (A note?) 21:23, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

A couple of points. First of all, Flcelloguy is correct that administrators can indeed cause irreversible damage to the project in various ways. Without spilling any WP:BEANS I can point to the already public situation involving a web site that was publishing the contents of deleted pages. While I don't remember the outcome of that particular fiasco, there was concern expressed on the mailing list that perhaps this was being done through the account of an administrator whose loyalties had been compromised (or misunderstood). Given the kinds of things we delete, that does pose a problem.

Now, regarding checkuser. There are some big problems. The first is that at present IP data isn't kept on the server indefinitely so the results may not be all that insightful -- after all, the mechanism was intended to deal with vandalism, 3RR violations, and the like, not to deal with sneaky long-term intellegence campaigns. The second is regarding interpretation of results and what constitutes a positive. If we find out that someone is editing from Brittanica, or the CIA or DHS, then what? The third is that we can't release results because of the privacy policy. We couldn't even release them with permission of the person being checked, unless they were heavily redacted so that any partial matches (which might be data about someone else who hasn't given us permission) aren't released. Without releasing the results it's hard to have a discussion about them, and in the case of otherwise trusted users I don't think it's fair to tell the rest of the project that we think they might actually also be <<whoever>> without allowing an opportunity for discussion. Unlike troublemakers, it's not fair to handle admin candidates in such a summary fasion.

<shameless plug>I think that this points up the need for overall more effective vetting of candidates, and I again invite everyone to stop by the WikiProject on adminship and share their ideas.</shameless plug>

The Uninvited Co., Inc. 22:14, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

If Bureaucrats handle it, those problems could be avoided. A check can be performed in the recent activity in order to determine if two (or more) given accounts are being controlled by the same person, or if a registered user (who is up for adminship) is editing inappropriately anonymously as well; although there's no guarantee that the results would be definitive for all cases, it would allow for the more serious cases to be dealt with (those that are very recent or even ongoing -- which are the ones more likely to be noticed anyway, as opposed to isolated actions that might have taken place months before the RfA). If a Bureaucrat performs the check and finds conclusive evidence of sockpuppetry, the action would be to close the RfA immediately due to confirmed sockpuppetry; no more information on the results need to be given out. The decision to close the RfA or leave it open, depending on the results found, would be made within Bureaucrat discretion. The situation itself can then be handled through the proper channels, such as RfC, ArbCom or even a discussion at the Administrators' noticeboard.
This would simplify the procedure, since it would not be necessary to check every single candidate or make public posts requesting checks, and certainly not divulge results for discussions in the RfA. Redux 01:16, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Alternate accounts (Archive 67)[edit]

Is it wrong to have an alternate account as an admin, I have an alternate account TheM62Manchester @ public terminals (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) --TheM62Manchester 09:32, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

It's just a sockpuppet, so as long as it's not used abusively, nope. Good security idea if you use public terminals regularly. --james(talk) 09:34, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
For now, it only gets used infrequently, but could it run for RFA? --TheM62Manchester 09:35, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I would think it would get shot down due to obvious security concerns that will arise, although it's not explicitly forbidden I don't think - unless you're already one, I suppose. – Chacor 09:40, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
See sockpuppet policy. [1] By my reading, admin sockpuppets not permitted per this policy. Also see discussion on talk about tightening restrictions on multiple accounts in any manner. FloNight talk 10:03, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
My interpretation of the policy is that whilst one individual may have >1 account either overtly or covertly only one of thos accounts should have admin powers at any one time.ALR 10:13, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree thats what it says :D as to TheM62Manchester's sock, it depends what you use it for? I guess from the name you use it when logging on and editing in public. right? If so I would say that is pretty good practice that way if someone is shouldersurfing or nicks your password (which could easily happen) then they dont get access to admin powers. If thats the reason you use that sock then I think you wont find many people to oppose it's use!! --Errant Tmorton166(Talk)(Review me) 10:17, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
no rule per se but thwe account would be unlikely to pass see Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Genisock2.Geni 10:59, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for your feedback. --TheM62Manchester 11:02, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't believe anyone should ever have two admin accounts. However, a second account for limited purposes may be acceptable, or even a good idea. I know of a particular user who has gone through RFA twice and failed; if he goes through again I will oppose because he edits from his high school library and has twice lost control of his account after forgetting to log out. (It doesn't help that his library's IP is a persistent source of schoolboy vandalism, too.) However, if he created a second account for editing from school that was not a sysop, and pledged to only use the sysop account from home, that would take care of that problem. Thatcher131 (talk) 11:17, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

There is an https login availabe which solves the logging in over public wireless/other insecure connection problem, but there is currently only one server allocated to it and it's overloaded sometimes. If the devs reallized this was a desired option perhaps they would allocate the time to setting up another server/load balancing, etc. It's what I use when I need to log in on a wireless connection. Then I try to minimize my use of it by loading pages in a non encrypted tab, and only using the encrypted connection to edit. If you're only worried about your password getting taken and not a man in the middle impersonation, then it's probably possible to configure the https to be used only for log in, but edit in the clear. Should probably only carry this discussion on further at WP:VP/T. - Taxman Talk 15:23, 23 August 2006 (UTC)