Talk:Sockpuppet (Internet)

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High traffic

On 19 October 2013, Sockpuppet (Internet) was linked from Motherboard, which was in turn linked to from Slashdot, a high-traffic website. (See visitor traffic)


Does anyone actually USE this term, ever since the slang term "suckpuppet" came around?

I accept it was common in the past but surely it's suffered the same fate as "niggard" in recent years, no? I can't imagine using either of these in pleasant company. (talk) 01:48, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

"Persona Management Software"[edit]

Apparently Fox/Limbaugh are claiming that sockpuppets are a goal of "the Obama administration." The claim seems to be based on leaked emails from HBGary that detail offers to do a variety of undercover techy things for potential clients. The leaked documents refer to a US government wish for Persona Management Software, apparently this pdf currently hosted by some blogger. If the document is genuine, and if news outlets report news rather than editorials on the story, it is relevant to this article. betsythedevine (talk) 20:09, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Enders Game in See also section[edit]

I really don't see how anyone could consider enders game a novel about sock puppets. It's a series that happens to contain the concept. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:25, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

So That's What Celebs Were/Are Doing[edit]

That's a perfect description of what certain celebs that I personally know actually do to bolster themselves and degrade those who potentially would say something revealing about them, or even often actually do. Before some of us went our separate ways, we played with the idea: referring to it like that Syble [sp?] chick with the multiple personalities. Had no idea that things would go so sour. Have you any input in the concern of celebrities; I mean to say: does Wikipedia give them wider leeway due to "legal immunities" they and their lawyers claim, or are they supposed to be treated the same here on these pages as are others? Do they have a right to delete things from their biography pages that "say too much" about them, or do you treat them as equals? (talk) 02:55, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

Johann Hari as notable?[edit]

I had never heard of Johann Hari before yesterday, but it seems to me that he's at least as notable as say, Ben Grower, the local council member in Bournemouth, England, as well as several others noted on the list. Hari's sockpuppeting and plagiarism cost him his job (at least temporarily) and led him to make a public apology—a stiffer penalty than most of the folks on the list suffered. To my mind, if an individual is notable enough to have a Wikipedia bio, he's notable enough to get mentioned here.--John Foxe (talk) 14:14, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

It's usually a mistake to follow day-to-day news events by adding mentions at every possible article. In a few months it will be possible to evaluate (from reliable sources commenting on sockpuppetry at the time) whether a mention here is suitable. If inadequate sourcing is available for others listed in the article, those names should be removed. It's not up to editors to evaluate whether a stiffer penalty justifies inclusion because this article is not a list of all known sockpuppets—examples should follow sources which discuss the phenomenon of sockpuppetry, not sources which write about a particular person and mention that the person has been a sockpuppet. Johnuniq (talk) 02:12, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
I've added another citation from a Guardian column. Do you think that's enough? Should there be a spin-off list?--John Foxe (talk) 18:42, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Clearly no one cares at the moment, so I am not going to get excited about it, but there is no source to warrant recording Hari as a notable public example (and possibly many of the others in the article are also dubious). Editors should not maintain "lists of bad people" (aka shitlists) on Wikipedia. Yes, when someone is convicted of murder (and sufficiently notable for an article), they go somewhere under Category:Murderers (and possibly on a list, if warranted). But when someone is mentioned as a sock, editors should not personally assess that the perpetrator warrants a permanent record in an encyclopedia. Yes, gossip is fun, and Hari's fall should be recorded in the blogosphere and at Johann Hari, but it is a misuse of the encylopedia to record Hari's name here when there are no sources which discuss the topic of this article, with Hari as an example. The reason that Hari's name is here is that an editor has evaluated the case and decided it should be recorded—that's not desirable. Johnuniq (talk) 01:24, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
I understand and appreciate your point. The difficulty is that an editor (or hopefully, a consensus of editors) will have to decide the basis on which anyone becomes a "notable public example." The alternative is eliminating the lists.--John Foxe (talk) 11:09, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Do many organizations, business or otherwise, employ sock puppets?[edit]

Or do any? I can see this as a very easy way to sway public opinion for or against something, and i would like to know how prevalent it is. Of course most never get exposed, and its not illegal in most cases... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:52, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Alternate term when used for anonymity?[edit]

I know many people who create fake personas on websites in order to post anonymously. They do this because they do not wish to place their actual personal details online and some sites do not allow anonymous participation. But they express actual opinions, write legitimate reviews, etc. So is sockpuppet the correct term for a fake account created to make real posts? Or does it only refer to fake accounts created to post deceptive content? Steevithak (talk) 03:26, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Notable public examples[edit]

How is the "Notable public examples" section organized? It's really not clear at all. It's not chronological, and while some of the more prominent incidents are at top, not all of them are. (talk) 13:52, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done: Alphabetised. --22:37, 7 March 2013 (UTC)Andrewaskew (talk
Thanks!--John Foxe (talk) 23:45, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
Thank you, and it's no problem. I enjoy the chance to do a bit of gnoming. Andrewaskew (talk) 22:46, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

Orlando Figes' factual inaccuracies?[edit]

An anonymous IP has several times sought to remove some or all of the content in the Orlando Figes section as "factually innacurate." There is nothing here that is not in the sources (the BBC and The Guardian). Wikipedia proceeds by what our sources say, if anyone has a reliable source which contradicts the existing information, can they please add it to the article. Thank you. --Andrewaskew (talk) 00:03, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Hi Andrew, I suggest you read the sources more carefully. There was no court case or court hearing. What was reported by the Guardian and BBC was that Polonsky and Service did threaten Figes with libel for the reviews. 1 May 2013. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:47, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I suggest you read the sources more carefully. I went back and re-read them again. The BBC does actually report a settlement with damages on 17 July 2010. The Guardian does not but it is 3 months earlier. Andrewaskew (talk) 22:52, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Problem here is not any factual inaccuracies, but simply the fact that quoted sources never call these episodes "sockpuppetry". Claiming this to be sockpuppetry is WP:OR. Writing anonymous reviews is not sockpuppetry. My very best wishes (talk) 00:54, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
Whether or not these sources use the term is irrelevant. This is a clear use of an online identity for deception, writing deceptive anonymous online reviews is sockpuppetry. The source the page uses makes this even more clear:

n. A fake persona used to discuss or comment on oneself or one's work, particularly in an online discussion group or the comments section of a blog.

— Wordspy
The use of language that has been defined elsewhere is not WP:SYNTHESIS. --Andrewaskew (talk) 04:36, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
Where is "a fake person"? He wrote a pseudonymous review. I am writing pseudonymous reviews on articles proposed for publication in scientific journals all the time (so called peer reviewing); the reviews can be highly negative; they can lead to someone else work being rejected. Does it make me sockpuppet? This is all your own interpretation. Remember, this is a WP:BLP issue, and we have special rules for this. My very best wishes (talk) 13:54, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
In other words, we are talking about "fake online identity" for the purpose of deception. Simply writing an anonymous review (online or not) does not mean fake identity, just like anonymous writing in wikipedia. If he signed the review online by a name of another writer (let's say "Robert Service"), that would be "fake identity". My very best wishes (talk) 14:05, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I have no problem writing under a pseudonym for Wikipedia; but it'd be a different matter if I praised my own books at using a pseudonym.--John Foxe (talk) 22:27, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
This is an interesting idea. Should every anonymous editor on wikipedia with a conflict of interest be regarded as sockpuppet? Not according to the policy. My very best wishes (talk) 18:40, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
Don't confuse personæ with persons, there is no fake person here, but there is a fake persona. We are talking here about constructed social roles used in a deceptive fashion. The peer review system is a very useful tool, but such a tool breaks down if we allowed people to review their own work in this fashion, or if reviewers start to dismiss articles for personal or political reasons.
To continue the anology to Wikipedia, there is nothing wrong with anonymity or pseudonymity. But there is a presumption of neutrality, we expect an editor to declare any possible conflict of interest.
It is not a question of purporting to be someone else, but pretending not to be oneself, where that identity is relevant. It is the use of anonymity for deceptive purposes.
One last point, the WP:BLP policy does encourage editors to be wary, but it is not meant to encourage the wholesale removal of properly sourced material. To assume one's own opinions are correct and repeatedly remove the disputed section when one is well aware that the matter is being discussed on the talk page is a bit indecorous. That said, I am sure everyone here is working towards the best interests of Wikipedia, we don't wish to create an edit war. I am sure we can sort this out. --Andrewaskew (talk) 01:25, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
I think it was clear enough. The sources do not call this sockpuppetry. The sources do not tell anything about "fake person" because fake person is the situation when me or you pretend to be someone else, rather than signing a pseudonimous name/account. When this historian singed his review, he did not sing "Robert Service" or something like that (which would be indeed a fake person). I am sorry, but "constructed social roles used in a deceptive fashion" is moot. I do not understand what it means. If you still disagree, let's ask a question on BLP noticeboard. My very best wishes (talk) 04:45, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Started an WP:RFC. --Andrewaskew (talk) 05:51, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Orlando Figes' sockpuppetry?[edit]

Per a request at WP:ANRFC, this discussion is closed with no consensus being reached. The claim that the material violates WP:BLP has been satisfactorily refuted in my opinion, but should be referred to exerts at WP:BLPN. In the absence of BLP issues, and because the content can be sourced to reliable sources, the decision as to whether or not this particular case is included in this article is a matter of editorial discretion. -Nathan Johnson (talk) 18:05, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I would argue yes, this fits the definition of sockpuppetry given by the page, and the section itself is well sourced. (Interested editors may wish to note similar edits on such pages as Orlando Figes, and Robert Service (historian), but those edits are not directly relevant here.) --Andrewaskew (talk) 05:51, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

  • I would argue, no. This is simply irrelevant material that does not belong to this page. None of sources claims this particular case be "sockpuppetry". Neither they claim it to be a case of "fake identity". He wrote anonymous reviews, which does not mean fake identity. Fake identity is the situation when someone pretends to be another person. He did not. Perhaps his review was inappropriate, but this is a completely different matter. This is a WP:BLP matter. Hence we must be extra careful. My very best wishes (talk) 12:16, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Here are two secondary sources (#1: The Nation #2: Boston Globe) that refer to this person as using "sock puppets," thus invalidating the claim that there aren't reliable sources that refer to this as sockpuppetry. Breadblade (talk) 06:00, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Definitely not per the above. By including him on this page we're making a claim about a living person (that what he did constitutes sockpuppetry) which isn't supported by a reliable source. – Arms & Hearts (talk) 21:50, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I believe Figes' behavior meets the definition of sockpuppetry.--John Foxe (talk) 22:38, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
It should not matter what you or I believe. Can you please quote any source calling this case "sockpuppetry" or "fake identity"? My very best wishes (talk) 01:13, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, we are familiar with your interpretation of the matter, you do not need to restate it. The difference here is a reading of policy, does a source need to explictly use a word (in this case "sockpuppet") for us to use that word? No-one is disputing (as far as I can tell) that these actions meet the dictionary definition. Can we use the word even if sources do not? Assume good faith and assume that other editors have read your comments, even if they disagree. Andrewaskew (talk) 03:20, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
No, that is not the question under discussion. According to your definition above, sockpuppet is "a fake persona used to discuss or comment on oneself or one's work". None of the sources claims the existence of "fake person". If he was a "fake person", he suppose to sign his review by someone else's name. He did not. P.S. I am thinking about other people in the list ...My very best wishes (talk) 03:29, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Please wait to see the outcome of this RFC before making other edits along the same line. And please, please learn the difference between wikt:person and wikt:persona, they are not the same thing. Andrewaskew (talk) 03:53, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
As Andrew has said, a "fake person" and a "fake persona" are not the same thing. See, for instance, this rabbi who got himself in trouble last month. He's a real person who created a fake persona.--John Foxe (talk) 03:59, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
In this example, Broyde, a professor of law had used an invented persona, Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser, that he claimed to be real person. This is obviously not the situation when someone writes an anonymous/pseudonymous review, as Figes did. And if you are talking about a personage (a character in a play or other work), this also has nothing to do with sockpuppets. My very best wishes (talk) 05:12, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
No, not personage, not person, persona. To wit:

Noun persona (plural personas or personae or personæ)

  1. A social role.
  2. A character played by an actor.
  3. (psychology) The mask or appearance one presents to the world.
  4. (computing) A type of skin used in Mozilla software.
What we are talking about is mostly 1 with a touch of 3. An identity, in this case an online identity used for deception. Andrewaskew (talk) 04:08, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
What you believe is of no consequence - Wikipedia publishes only what can be verified in reliable sources. If there are no reliable sources establishing clearly and unambiguously that the person has acted as a sockpuppet, the accusation has no place in this page. A person cannot be a "notable public example" of sockpuppetry if it is not established in reliable sources that the person has been proven to be, or has admitted, to acting as a sockpuppet. This is particularly true of living persons, for whom a claim of acting as a sockpuppet is most certainly negative material subject to significant editorial scrutiny. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 05:14, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Figes wrote reviews of his own work under his own name. This has been well-documented in the media and fits the definition of sockpuppetry. That said, I don't know why this article needs a big laundry list of minor examples of this phenomenon. I would propose that the "notable public examples" be restructured, removed or condensed down to about five or six examples (instead of 15). Breadblade (talk) 16:08, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, he wrote an initially anonymous review about his own work, and that was documented. But I wonder how many anonymous wikipedia contributors wrote something about themselves or their work (which could be a good contribution if they followed the NPOV and other policies). Do you think they all should be regarded sockpuppets? My very best wishes (talk) 19:38, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
That depends if you are talking about Sockpuppet (Internet) or Wikipedia:Sock puppetry. All of them would fit the definition as given on this page, but parts of what are called sockpuppets on this page are covered on Wikipedia by the conflict of interest policy. Andrewaskew (talk) 04:08, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Belongs in article As the requirement for it being used for "deceit" is present, as he denied it was he at first, even using a lawyer. As he has admitted using these personas, there is no BLP issue (and I really care a lot about BLP). Collect (talk) 09:26, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
@Collect. I do not think it belongs here. He signed a review by an alias. He did not sign by a name of another person. He used only one alias/account, not many. He latter said it was him. The only "deception" was using an anonymous account and initial denial of his identity. Speaking in wikipedia terminology, he would be a victim of WP:Outing, not a WP:SOCK. My very best wishes (talk) 15:17, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
I would agree if it were only one alias, but as he used at least two distinct ones according to at least one report, that crosses the line - though it is not a perfect example. And it is not an example of "Wikipedia outing" as that page is written to refer to his acknowledgements in public about his use of "alternate personas." Collect (talk) 15:27, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
First of all, "orlando-birkbeck" is not an anonymous account. Second, if this was not a perfect example, it hardly should be included in the article (there are other, more clear examples). So, with regard to the original question (does this "section belong on this page"?), I still believe it should not be here. My very best wishes (talk) 14:29, 3 June 2013 (UTC)
To concede the point, revert your concession, and then carry on the debate a week later feels wrong to me. But I'll bite. Why do you believe it should not be here? How does this example conflict with Wikipedian policy? --Andrewaskew (talk) 03:16, 4 June 2013 (UTC)
"I'll bite." What kind of argument is that? I conceded nothing. I only looked at some sources more carefully. If you really disagree, please follow WP:Dispute resolution. You posted RfC already. If this did not help, how about mediation? My very best wishes (talk) 06:17, 4 June 2013 (UTC)
"I'll bite" is not an argument, it is an English idiom meaning 'go ahead' or 'please explain.'
Surely we can work together reasonably without having to resort to the DRN or mediation? You have said in your edit summary that you believe there is a possible compromise version between yourself and the other editors on the page, what is your proposed compromise? Andrewaskew (talk) 07:26, 5 June 2013 (UTC)
I agree as this does not seem to any direct attack on Orlando as a sockpuppet, there should be a compromiseAudicity (talk) 21:31, 8 July 2013 (UTC).
We are not talking about any kind of "attack", but about this be an appropriate (an obvious) example of sockpuppetry, and it is not. There are better (more clear-cut) examples that are currently included. My very best wishes (talk) 19:13, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
Reverted again? All right, let's rephrase. I do not challenge any sources here. However, this page will not be significantly better (or worse) if we include information about Figes, quite obviously. So, you just included the negative information about a living person without good reason, aka the "undue weight". Doing this is against WP:BLP. I do not understand: why exactly do you want to include this negative info about a living person? My very best wishes (talk) 23:25, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
I think the Figes case is an excellent example of sockpuppetry. He apologized and paid cash at the end of the episode. Harder to get a more slam dunk case than that.--John Foxe (talk) 20:13, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
He apologized for writing an anonymous review about work by his colleague, not for "sockpuppetry". This is simply a case of editing under an anonymous account (like we do), not sockpuppetry (a situation when a person pretends to be someone else), as discussed elsewhere in detail on this talk page. I do not write any negative information about my colleagues, especially if a conflict of interest may exist. If I did, that would be a reason for apology, just as with Figes.My very best wishes (talk) 03:30, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Belongs in the article. Here's a newsblog expert source that calls it sockpuppetry. The other sources might have decided not to use the particular word "sockpuppet", but describing Figes as "the author of anonymous reviews that praised his own work" seems like an unsynthetic fit for the subject of the article. One of the sources that this article uses to define "sockpuppet" uses the example "authors and entrepreneurs who sneak changes onto their own entries on Wikipedia or the reviews of their books on". --McGeddon (talk) 09:13, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, one can reasonably argue that it can be included. However, here is the problem. This page does not clearly explain what sockpuppetry is (please see discussion about this below). Quite possibly, these is no consensus what sockpuppetry is in the sources. Speaking about this particular example, this is not an essential example which is a clear-cut and would be necessary to illustrate the concept, whatever it might be. On the other hand, it does provide a defamatory information about a living person. Therefore, I believe it is a BLP violation.My very best wishes (talk) 10:41, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree with McGeddon. I think the page is clear about the definition of sockpuppetry, there's a clear consensus about its nature in the sources, and nothing defamatory about Figes is included in the paragraph.--John Foxe (talk) 20:59, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
The count is currently 3:2 (including you, but excluding this RfC initiator). This is not a consensus. I responded on your talk page here. My very best wishes (talk) 21:21, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm afraid, Best wishes, that your comments are based on a misunderstanding of the nature of consensus. Wikipedia is not a democracy, and evaluating consensus is never a matter of counting votes. Rather it is a matter of articlate discussion and compromise. I will try again, you have said in your edit summary that you believe there is a possible compromise version of the Figes section, what is your proposed compromise? --Andrewaskew (talk) 00:42, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
Reply: Fine, let's explain this differently. Please see section "Single alias" below. There I completely agree with starting argument by Collect. Furthermore, you provided a number of different definitions of sockpuppetry from various sources (quotations). That's fine. These definitions are not completely consistent. According to one of the definitions posted by you, sockpuppetry is "A pseudonym used by someone to distance themselves from their actions". This is basically any pseudonymous account (something we all disagree with). However, the most common theme in several definitions of sockpuppet is a "A phony name made up by a user in order to masquerade as someone else on the Internet" or a "a false online identity" (several definitions). Which means opening an account as Mr. Mogilevich, or Figes editing under name of Robert Service (which he did not do), or someone opening a number of different accounts and pretending that they are different people. That's why I tried to rephrase definition in the beginning of page, and that is why I believe the case of Figes does not belong here. I repeat this diff: [1]. My very best wishes (talk) 04:24, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
Your argument sounds tendentious to me. You seem to find all the other examples in the article perfectly fine, and only Figes is a problem.--John Foxe (talk) 13:53, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
Actually, I did not even look at other cases because I have no idea who these people are. Not my call. I prefer editing something (or someone) I know about. My very best wishes (talk) 14:14, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
You'd make a better case for your position if it didn't seem so obvious that your interest was in Figes alone. Someone's bound to wonder if you're a friend or relative.--John Foxe (talk) 17:36, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
And that is your response to my argument? Please see WP:NPA. If you seriously believe that I am related to the subject (I do not think you do), please report me on WP:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard. Thanks, My very best wishes (talk) 18:20, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
That was my response to your statement that you didn't even look at the other examples of sockpuppetry in the article because you didn't know "who those people are."--John Foxe (talk) 19:07, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, but why on the Earth I would look at other examples if you and Andrewaskew do not allow me to fix problem even with one person? My very best wishes (talk) 20:56, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
What is your proposed fix? --Andrewaskew (talk) 00:26, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
I responded to you question [2]. Now, I suggest waiting for closing of this RfC by admin. Thanks, My very best wishes (talk) 04:48, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
That is not a compromise. --Andrewaskew (talk) 07:02, 19 July 2013 (UTC)


  • Notes to closing editor:
  1. Parts of this discussion are below at Consolidating "Notable public examples of alleged sockpuppetry" list & single alias account not used to deceive
  2. I hope you find that this discussion has kept a degree of civility, and is relatively easy to read.
  3. Thank you for your time.
--Andrewaskew (talk) 07:02, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

I agree that consensus should be defined by the argument. I believe this particular defamatory material about a living person does not deserve inclusion in this article per WP:DUE and explained why - see my comment (Reply) above and other discussion. However, if an uninvolved admin decides there is a clear consensus about it, this is no longer my responsibility. I posted a request about this to WP:AN several days ago on behalf of John Foxe [3]. My very best wishes (talk) 21:13, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
WP:DUE is the policy which warns against overemphasis of fringe theories. In what way do you feel that policy is violated here? --Andrewaskew (talk) 03:34, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Corrected. My very best wishes (talk) 22:00, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
P.S. According to WP:BLP, When material about living persons has been deleted on good-faith BLP objections, any editor wishing to add, restore, or undelete it must ensure it complies with Wikipedia's content policies. If it is to be restored without significant change, consensus must be obtained first. It tells: consensus must be obtained first. Hence I am going to delete this material unless an uninvolved admin decides that there is consensus. My very best wishes (talk) 16:17, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
Consensus does not depend on admins. (Where would they find the time to settle every single dispute?) But rather on discussion, and commonalities in editing. You have said that there is no possible common ground, so if you feel there is more to discuss, then please do so.
The policy on biographies of living persons does not give an editor wholecloth license to remove any section that they disagree with. This is not a good-faith removal as there is no clear BLP violation, other editors have said so too. If you disagree, please bring up your reasoning here on talk and we can reach a new consensus.
The primary problem with your alleged grounds for removing Figes is that they are based on a misreading of the definition. A pseudonym is not inherently deceitful, it is when a person uses that psedonymity to lie by omission that it becomes a sockpuppet.
Do you understand? --Andrewaskew (talk) 07:37, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Consensus does not depend on admins? Sure, but admins help to determine if there is a consensus on a regular basis, for example during deletion discussions, movements of categories, content RfCs, and so on. Here, we have a difference of opinions if there is a consensus. This is something very much common and happens all the time. Yes, an admin usually look at the arguments and decides. Right now, the request was posted on AN by a third party, so I hope it will be resolved, one way or another. You also tell that I am not acting in a good faith. Sorry to disagree, but I am acting in a good faith, and I fully explained my argument on the article talk page. To put it simple, I do not understand why do you give such prominence to this highly doubtful example of alleged sockpuppetry when there are many other much better examples, and this is a negative information about a living person (hence WP:BLP applies). Is it because you think that I am acting in a bad faith? I definitely have such impression because you agreed to remove some other doubtful examples, but not this example. As about your argument (lie by omission), opening any anonymous account is already "lying by omission" per se, but not sockpuppetry. My very best wishes (talk) 13:03, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
I support Andrewaskew and believe My very best wishes stands alone in his attempt to remove the paragraph about Orlando Figes from this article. Of course, my supposition is easily refutable by anyone else who'd like to argue his position here.--John Foxe (talk) 17:36, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for your support and especially for your Barnstar. It means alot to me. --Andrewaskew (talk) 03:24, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
We are not trying here to reach a consensus, or determine if we have reached consensus. But rather a consensus has already been reached and we (the other page editors) are trying to explain how it was reached. The issue is a little complex, and it is understandable that an inexperienced English speaker might find it tricky. So please feel free to ask questions. And please don't take offense.
Consensus is a complex question. While Wikipedia is not a democracy, it is rarely the single editor, the "lone voice in the wilderness," that represents the proper arbiter of a decision. We have all, from time to time, stood against a crowd of editorial disapproval. In my humble opinion, one of the key dividers between a good editor and a great editor is the ability to recognise when you are wrong. That in a given case, the proper thing to do is to step back from one's stance and follow consensus.
I never said that you yourself were not acting in good faith, what I said was that there are no good faith grounds for a BLP violation. The requirements for good faith become stricter as one becomes a more experienced editor. There is nothing in the disputed section that could be considered grounds (style, sources, or privacy) for a BLP violation. While for a new editor good faith is simply an attitude, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard. We must maintain a proper awareness of the complexities of Wikipedian policy, and listen. I could say, for intance, that 'I believe that the reason for your passionate focus on the removal of Mr Figes from this page is because you yourself are a friend of his, perhaps you met at a conference', but I shall not say any such thing. Such wild accusations do not make Wikipedia a harmonious place to edit. I am assuming good faith and assuming the assumption of good faith, as these things are the best strategy for the longterm health of Wikipedia, whether or not they work in a particular case.
As to the specifics of the definition. Pseudonymity and anonymity are NOT inherently deception, they are privacy. Privacy is not necessarily deceptive. We do not expect every honest person to shout their every personal secret from the rooftops. When privacy becomes a lie by omission is when the things that are being kept private are relevant to the matter at hand. When internet anonymity is used to conceal a conflict of interest it becomes sockpuppetry. Now, not every case of sockpuppetry involves lies by omission, some involve more traditional lies, as you have intimated some use a false identity. But it is the complexities of lies by omission that are definitional matter at hand. Is this relationship between privacy, lies by omission, conflict of interest, and deception clear?
Here to help. --Andrewaskew (talk) 01:37, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Unfortunately, I can not agree with "consensus" achieved by means of coordinated edit-warring, especially if this involves placing obviously negative information about three living people (this scandal involves three notable British historians, and it does not belong to this article). My very best wishes (talk) 02:51, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
This feels to me like a false accusation of factionalism and cabalism. Remember that civility and barnstars are a proper part of consensus editing and WikiLove.
If you are unwilling to discuss the matter, I will stop trying to explain the issue. --Andrewaskew (talk) 03:24, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
  • There is nothing wrong with receiving barnstar, unless it invites you to edit war in specific article, and that is what you actually do. I would not care much, but this involves placing negative information about three notable British historians, information that does not belong to the article. My very best wishes (talk) 12:38, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Since you've garnered no support for your position here, I suggest you try one of Wikipedia's dispute resolution venues. I'd certainly be happy to join you there.--John Foxe (talk) 14:28, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Removed "Gun control campaign"[edit]

Unless there is more than the unsupported allegations of a Republican congressman, accusing someone of engaging in sockpuppetry or orchestrating a sockpuppet campaign is completely out of order.

The title of the article presumes truth - it is not "notable people accused of sockpuppetry" - therefore all entries must be scrupulously sourced and proven to be true beyond a shadow of a doubt. Otherwise, those accusations violate the biographies of living persons policy when linked to a living person - as the congressman has done in accusing "Barack Obama's gun control campaign." That attaches a negative stigma which has no place unless adequately proven.

A "Notable public example" of sockpuppetry must be clearly and unambiguously established by reliable and neutral sources - mere accusations are not nearly enough. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 05:06, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Did you actually read these news stories? The news stories were based on original reporting that could be verified by anyone who looks at Twitter. It appeared in outlets from the Fox News, Daily Caller, Washington Post, The Hill Newspaper, Washington Times, etc. Much of that could be discovered by simply looking at Twitter yourself. If you are too lazy to do that, some of the articles such as that at the Daily Caller actually put up screen shots. Among the original reporting discovered that the twitter posts were done by fake accounts linked to the Obama campaign, that all the twitter posts were put out at the same time, that the same IP address was used, that most of the sockpuppet attacks were directed against swing vote Democratic congressmen. By the way, you must think that you are pretty cute NorthBySouthBaranof in moving the rest of the discussion about this point to the end and starting a new discussion here. You made the same false claims at the bottom. Why not just confess that you are such a strong Democrat you can't even admit that Weiner, Lisa Jackson, and others in the Obama administration didn't involve sockpuppets? Now with this push for gun control you can't even admit that it involved massive use of sockpuppets. So much for the most open administration in history. [User:Bobbys63|Bobbys63]] (talk) 12:34, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
See Consolidating "Notable public examples of alleged sockpuppetry" list (below). Andrewaskew (talk) 04:08, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Removed Patrick Byrne[edit]

The source cited for Patrick Byrne's listing here is insufficient - nowhere does it claim, much less prove, that Patrick Byrne acted as a sockpuppet. Anonymous, unsourced allegations of sockpuppetry are briefly mentioned, but the article reports Byrne denies the allegation, asserting that when he does engage in online discussion, he uses his own name or identities clearly linked to his own name. There are no sources either quoted or cited that dispute Byrne's claim, much less disprove it. Ergo, there is no evidence, much less proof, that he at any time acted as a deceptive sockpuppet. Ergo, he does not belong in a list of "Notable public examples" of sockpuppetry. Per WP:BLP, this entry should be removed until a consensus is developed that its inclusion is in keeping with content policies. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 05:28, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

See Consolidating "Notable public examples of alleged sockpuppetry" list (below). Andrewaskew (talk) 04:08, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Removed Lisa Jackson[edit]

Yet again, the sources involved for Lisa Jackson's listing are entirely insufficient. The article's definition of sockpuppetry is "alternate account used for purposes of deception" and there is no evidence, much less proof, presented that Jackson used her alternate account for the purposes of deception. Rather, significant evidence is introduced to the contrary - that it was a legitimate alternate account known to be attached to her identity. Wikipedia cannot declare her to be a "notable public example" of sockpuppetry unless it is proven to be true. Per WP:BLP, this entry should be removed until a consensus is developed that its inclusion is in keeping with content policies. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 05:35, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

See Consolidating "Notable public examples of alleged sockpuppetry" list (below). Andrewaskew (talk) 04:08, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Renaming it "alleged" ...[edit]

Anyone can make an "allegation" about anything - that does not make that allegation suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia. We do not have a List of alleged murderers anywhere, much less on the page entitled Murder. While sockpuppetry is not, in and of itself, a crime, it is certainly a substantially negative allegation and it can be linked to criminal activities, as seen with Conrad Black. I am not going to revert the change, but I believe for us to list anyone as "alleged," those allegations need to be reliably sourced, notable and well-supported by evidence - not just uncorroborated fringe theories advanced by political opponents.

Also, I will argue that this change makes the article substantially worse - it is a better article if it only includes clearly-proven examples of sockpuppetry. There are a large number of those, as the uncontroversial entries on this page demonstrates. Turning this page into a debate factory over who was and who wasn't sockpuppeting will substantially muddy the waters.

Furthermore, by even including those allegations on a page entitled "sockpuppet," we are implicitly endorsing them - why else would they be listed under "sockpuppet"? I would suggest that this list, if it's going to include "alleged" sockpuppets, must be split into a separate article. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 07:09, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Fair enough. I am happy to have this reversed if consensus is against me. Andrewaskew (talk) 04:08, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
  • "Alleged" and "accused" are appropriate terms to use when wrongdoing is asserted but undetermined, such as with people on trial for crimes. Then again people who make this list should have their sockpuppetry be well-documented, so maybe it might be inappropriate to add the extra word. I think that I'm in agreement with NorthBySouthBaranof on this one. Breadblade (talk) 06:14, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Consolidating "Notable public examples of alleged sockpuppetry" list[edit]

  • This list currently has fifteen items and takes up most of the article, and not all of the examples are all that exceptional. I would suggest consolidating this down to a list of the most interesting or notable examples and throwing out the rest. Sockpuppetry is a common enough practice that simply getting caught posting with a pseudonym is not by itself notable. I'm going to start by taking down bland entries such as "(some author) made posts arguing issues in his book under (sockpuppet name)." Breadblade (talk) 16:24, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
I'd wholeheartedly agree with that. Let's discuss on the talk page to reach a consensus of interesting or notable examples that are established by sources. I'm sure we can talk this through. Andrewaskew (talk) 04:08, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
My preliminary shortlist would be:
  1. Orlando Figes (for the legal implications)
  2. Michael Hiltzik (journalist, but could do with a trim)
  3. Stephen Leather (for the quotes)
  4. John Mackey (CEO, also said to have done nothing wrong)
  5. David Manning (for the marketing angle)
  6. John Rechy (for the Amazon stuff)
  7. Lee Siegel (journalist)
What does everyone else think? Andrewaskew (talk) 04:08, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't know enough about the Figes case and it still seems to be being hotly debated on this page, so I'll reserve judgment on that one for now... most of the others seem OK.
I would include Conrad Black, as one of the few people actually convicted of a sockpuppetry-related crime. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 04:24, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm OK with Leather because it is a good quote, but we should see what Breadblade thinks, as he removed it. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 04:28, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I think that would work well (give or take a few names), definitely better than what we had yesterday in my opinion. I might have removed one or two of those when I made the big cuts earlier, but I'd really be OK with any collection that's cut down to a shortlist of somewhere around 5~7 names. As for Leather, I think I took him off because his case seemed pretty mundane, but he described the sockpuppetry phenomenon pretty well. I wouldn't mind keeping him in the list with the quote or moving his words to somewhere like the main body of the article. Breadblade (talk) 05:40, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
I changed the subhead because I think that the article requires only some examples of the phenomenon, not an ever-growing list of culprits great and small.--John Foxe (talk) 22:02, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Not a bad idea. Could help keep the list to a manageable size going forward. Breadblade (talk) 22:16, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I think we can include all cases that are obvious (do not cause anyone's objections) and notable (described specifically as "sockpuppetry", rather than something else in a large number of RS). My very best wishes (talk) 11:25, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
So, are you OK with including Figes based on this article in The Nation, or not?--John Foxe (talk) 12:14, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
No, absolutely not, per my arguments in RfC thread above. This blog post in Nation was written in the beginning of the story, when a lot of details were not clear. It tells: "The practice of using a pseudonym to post denunciations of rivals or critics on the internet is called “using a sock puppet.”". No, this is completely different from the usual definition of sockpuppetry (see comment by Collect below). My very best wishes (talk) 12:38, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
According to this NYT columnist, every anonymous account is essentially is a sockpuppet. He tells: "This was a case of sock puppetry: appearing online under a fictive name to argue or finagle or bully." Sure thing, we are arguing right now. Based on this, we are both sockpuppets. Are we? My very best wishes (talk) 01:23, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
In-context, that quote refers to a person using a fictive name to argue, finagle or bully people on issues relating to themselves, as you'll see in every example listed in that article. If you have reliable secondary sources on hand asserting that what Figes did was not sockpuppetry, I would be inclined to believe you, but right now all I see are unverified claims about the definition of what sockpuppetry does or does not entail. Breadblade (talk) 02:39, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
No, the real (and potentially legal) issue was review he wrote about work by someone else. My very best wishes (talk) 12:41, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps this would be better discussed in the RFC section above. Andrewaskew (talk) 04:25, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
Issues of Figes aside, I think we are heading towards a consensus list. If we add Conrad Black, we have:
  1. Conrad Black (convicted of a sockpuppetry-related crime)
  2. Orlando Figes (for the legal implications)
  3. Michael Hiltzik (journalist, but could do with a trim)
  4. Stephen Leather (for the quotes)
  5. John Mackey (CEO, also said to have done nothing wrong)
  6. David Manning (for the marketing angle)
  7. John Rechy (for the Amazon stuff)
  8. Lee Siegel (journalist)
Eight is slightly higher than Breadblade's 5 - 7. Assuming the RFC supports Figes' inclusion, are there any names that people think should be trimmed? --Andrewaskew (talk) 04:25, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
  • You tell: Issues of Figes aside, I think we are heading towards a consensus list. Right. For example, I agree with with everyone in this list except Figes - for the reasons fully explained above. My very best wishes (talk) 20:35, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

single alias account not used to deceive[edit]

The concept of a "sock puppet" is that a person controls different personas with the intent of deceiving others -- just using a username is not really "sock puppeting" per normal internet usage. Collect (talk) 21:12, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you are trying to say here. If you are saying that the normal, everyday anonymity of the internet is not sockpuppetry. Then, absolutely, no-one asserted otherwise. But if you are saying that sockpuppetry requires that the sockpuppeteer have multiple accounts on the same website, then I think you should check the sources for this page again. Sockpuppetry requires that the anonymity of the internet be used for deception. That an anonymous poster not declare their identity or interests, where they would be relevant. Wikipedian sockpuppetry does require multiple accounts, but this is an uncommon usage. As I discussed above, parts of what are called sockpuppetry elsewhere, are covered on Wikipedia as conflicts of interest. --Andrewaskew (talk) 23:05, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
It is the use of multiple personas with an intent to deceive which reaches the normal Internet usage of the term. If one has only one username, then it is not, by normal convention, a "sock puppet". I know of no site where a username is now required to show conflicts of interest, religious affiliation, political party and employer <g>. I would not even dare to assume your username is your "real name" and I assure you this is not my real name. In short - "deceit" != "sock puppetry" by itself as it does not require using fake names. Cheers. Collect (talk) 23:50, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
Citation for this? I don't see anything from outside sources about restricting the usage of that term to the case of multiple accounts. Breadblade (talk) 02:42, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
Whence are you sourcing "normal Internet usage?" Thanks. Andrewaskew (talk) 00:20, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
Start with me being online now for over thirty years ... and the idea of a "sock-puppet" back in those days was that you would use your normal persona (which was a username) in normal discussions), and use a "sock" on your hand and pretend it was a different person. If you said something on your normal account (that is - you kept to one account) it was not socking. The moment you used a second name in an effort to deceive people as to "who was talking" that become "socking." If a person edits using only one username, whether or not it is his actual name, then he is not abusing multiple personas, even if he has a "conflict of interest." If a person uses multiple names, but shows no intent to deceive, that also is not "socking." It is the catenation which was why the image of a "sock" on your hand was used. And if you only use one username - then clearly you are not using a "sock" on your hand. Collect (talk) 00:30, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
I wish that words always made sense. But both your logical argument, and your personal experiences, are violations of WP:NOR. They are fine for arguments you want to make here in talk, but they are irrelevant for the actual editing of the page.
Even if we allow that early usage was only for additional accounts, sources now say that there are other situations to which this word applies. This suggests an etymological development by analogy. That is, it was used for situations which struck the speaker as being similar to the initial meaning. There are now several interelated meanings of sockpuppet, some of which do not require multiple accounts. --Andrewaskew (talk) 00:50, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
By any other standard, your current account is a "sock". As that is clearly an absurd result, we should use the meaning as it was derived. The term was in common use online before 1985. And yes we could define it to mean almost any online behaviour where the person is not clearly identified. The key part is that the account can not be the regular account for the person, and must be used to deceive. What you are saying is if the person has no real account then the deceitful one is a sock. But that still presupposes the ability to have a "real account". Cheers. Collect (talk) 01:54, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't think we need define sockpuppetry at all, we simply use the definition of our sources. Sockpuppetry these days is less about multiplicity of accounts and more about multiplicity of identities. Where someone's real identity is relevant, the deceitful use an online identity is sockpuppetry.
For instance, I just happen to be an internationally famous celebrity who edits Wikipedia in my spare time. If I decided to go on to my page and write something like "[real name] is the most awesome person who ever lived, [their] work has met with universal acclaim," then that is sockpuppetry. (Once again, outside of Wikipedia.) I am using the anonymity of the internet to conceal my real identity, when that real identity would be relevant to the topic at hand. --Andrewaskew (talk) 04:09, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
There is no consistent definition of sockpuppet in sources quoted above. Actually, they give different definitions. Probably, one should post here a definition of sockpuppetry we going to use in this article, and let's first agree about this definition. My very best wishes (talk) 04:38, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
Is there a problem with the definition provided by the first sentence of the article: "A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception"? (Merriam-Webster has "a false online identity used for deceptive purposes.")--John Foxe (talk) 19:34, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
If a person has one and only one online account - is that a "sock puppet" if the person does not identify who they really are? Collect (talk) 21:37, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
I think it an unlikely scenario but agree that one could use his one-and-only online identity to say, plug his own book or attack his personal enemies, and that that use might constitute sockpuppetry.--John Foxe (talk) 22:25, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
Historical Internet usage does not agree <g>. Mainly because historically usernames have not been required to be linked to "real identities." Or as the adage goes - "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." Collect (talk) 22:44, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
Being a dog is acceptable; but being a dog pretending to be a cat for purposes of deception is not, especially if we're talking about big dogs and fat cats.--John Foxe (talk) 23:05, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
Pretending to be a "cat" has, however, always been accepted as normal on the Internet -- it is when you have the second account using it to deceive others that you have a "sock" - the first "deceit" was normal behaviour over a wide range of areas on the Internet. Collect (talk) 23:14, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
If Famous Person gets caught writing rave reviews of own his book or denigrating the books of his rivals, I doubt anyone will care whether he has one, or twenty-one, accounts. Anyway, it's an unlikely scenario, so unlikely I can't think of a real life example.--John Foxe (talk) 15:22, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
What you are talking about is known as a conflict of interest. This is certainly a bad thing, but simply not sockpuppetry. Moreover, even the conflict of interest only applies in a situation when someone has an obligation to do neutral reviewing, for example on governmental review panels, editorial boards in journals and even in Wikipedia (NPOV, the pillar). However, a reviewer in has no obligation to be objective whatsoever. He only writes his personal opinion, just as reviewers in Netflix, YouTube and other similar places, and no one should be surprised when people have very high esteem of themselves. BTW, there are several references above to opinion pieces by several columnists from newspapers. Do they have an obligation to be objective? No, they do not. Therefore, using such sources as "the last word" on sockpuppetry is highly questionable. My very best wishes (talk) 17:28, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
The difference between sockpuppetry and conflict of interest is that in the former there's a disguised identity, a pretense of objectivity where there is none. Because we're well aware that people esteem themselves and their own ideas, the sockpuppeteer creates a false identity to lead us astray.--John Foxe (talk) 18:25, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Opening an anonymous account is protection of privacy, not sockpuppetry. As about not being objective, sure, everyone has a POV, which does not make one sockpuppet. Being "NPOV" (in wikipedia sense) is not necessarily good. Typical scientific reviews in journals are intentionally POV because authors focus on the most recent and important findings/publications and omit everything else. This is because authors want their work be most helpful for reader. My very best wishes (talk) 21:18, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree with what you've said above; but internet pseudonyms are more veils than disguises. They are easily brushed aside. More importantly, sockpuppeteers don't aim at privacy but at deception. Few would question my putting up pseudonymous posts at this article on Wikipedia; lots of folks would object if I pseudonymously reviewed my own book at Foxe (talk) 22:01, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Why? I certainly would not mind if you reviewed your own work, no matter anonymously or not. Every time when a scientific researcher writes a paper, he refers to their previous work, which does not cause any problems. I do it under my own name in real life, and I did it here anonymously. There is absolutely no difference. My very best wishes (talk) 12:26, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Fellow editors, I think we are tending to go round in circles. IMHO this is because we are conflating several issues:
  1. The original definition of sockpuppetry.
  2. The definition of sockpuppetry used in Wikipedia policies.
  3. What the definition of sockpuppetry ought to be in some metaphysical sense.
  4. Whether sockpuppetry is morally wrong.
  5. What the current definition of sockpuppetry is, as given by sources.
It is only this last point that we need concern ourselves with here, the rest are largely irrelevant.
So, some sources:

n. A fake persona used to discuss or comment on oneself or one's work, particularly in an online discussion group or the comments section of a blog.

— Wordspy

A phony name made up by a user in order to masquerade as someone else on the Internet. Sock puppets can make controversial comments or vote for or against a cause without revealing their identity. They may respond to their own Usenet or blog posts praising the articles they wrote themselves or disagree with comments criticizing them on other sites.

— PC Mag

1.a hand puppet made with a sock, 2.a false online identity used for deceptive purposes, First Known Use of SOCK PUPPET: 1959

noun, •a simple hand puppet made from a sock. •a person whose actions are controlled by another: a brainless sock puppet who only knows what to say because his handlers feed him his lines, •a false online identity, typically created by a person or group in order to promote their own opinions or views: both sides in the debate use sock puppets to make it seem as if scores of people are arguing a point

Noun (plural sock puppets): 1. A simple puppet made from a sock placed over the hand of the puppeteer. 2. A person being completely controlled by another. 3.(Internet, neologism) A pseudonym used by someone to distance themselves from their actions, especially to talk about themselves in the guise of a neutral observer

None of these specify that the sockpuppeteer need to have multiple accounts. There is the question as to what a "false online identity" is, contrasted to a 'true online identity,' given anonymity and psudeonymity are the default assumptions online. But the point raised here over and over is the deceptive use of an online identity. --Andrewaskew (talk) 02:06, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
I think "false online identity" means the situation when a person pretends to be someone else, as opposed to simply opening and using an anonymous account. For example, when someone signs their internet post by another person name, that would be the case. Opening multiple accounts and presenting them as different people (WP:SOCK) or editing as Mr. Mogilevich would fall under the definition. However, editing their own biography from a legitimate anonymous account would not. My very best wishes (talk) 16:19, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree. But your description includes the behavior of Orlando Figes, who engaged in "praising his own work and rubbishing that of his rivals" with multiple accounts in an attempt to deceive and then apologized for his "foolish errors."--John Foxe (talk) 21:22, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
I disagree. That seems an awfully specific reading for such a vague concept. Even a concept as legalistically defined as identity theft includes synthetic identity theft, in which an identity is completely or partially fabricated. If we look at online identities in general, we see that the concept of masking blurs the line between a true and false identity. If a person claims to be a different age, or different gender, or refuses to answer such questions, is that a false identity? The wikiHow on the matter is not about pretending to be someone else, but pretending not to be oneself.
A 'true online identity' would be one which never lied or concealed. It would use the person's real name. Any facts about the person which were relevant to the topic would be given. Very few online identities would meet this standard.
To me, there is no simple reading of false identity online. The only things we can say definitely is that any identity which conceals some of the public facts about a person is in some sense "false," it is a construct which does not perfectly reflect the person's real world identity. In a world where anonymity is the norm, the concept of a 'false identity' approaches tautologousness. It is not, I think, a useful concept.
But we can still talk meanigfully of deception. The Wiktionary definition does not waste time with questions of identity, and instead talks about someone using "a pseudonym [...] to distance themselves from their actions."(1) Now virtually everyone online uses a pseudonym, but the sockpuppeteer takes advantage of that to distance themselves from their actions, to present themselves in the anonymous guise of a neutral observer. It is not the pseudonymity, but the uses to which it is put that becomes sockpuppetry.
Sockpuppetry is using the anonymity and pseudonymity of the internet to deceive. It is the online concealment of another relevant identity, whether online or real world. --Andrewaskew (talk) 03:35, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Sure, every edit from an anonymous account is deception. You deceive other people by hiding your real life identity. That's the purpose. For example, someone does not want his stupid wikipedia discussions be seen all over the internet because that could harm his employment. Hence he deceives the employer. A lot of people would never edit here under their real names, and rightly so. Are they all "sockpuppets"? My very best wishes (talk) 04:13, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Ah, no. I can't decide if you're using a strawman technique, being facetious, or completely missing my point. I'll assume good faith and try again to explain later. Andrewaskew (talk) 04:30, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Providing intentionally false information about yourself (as in wikiHow link you gave above) would also fall under definition of a person pretending to be someone else and therefore represents "false online identity"/sockpuppetry. However, you can not consider all internet deception as sockpuppetry. This is only one of many types of deception. My very best wishes (talk) 13:15, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Whence did you get the idea "every edit from an anonymous account is deception?" It's not something I've seen asserted, and it's definitely not what I am trying to say above.
What I am saying is that a "false online identity" is not a very useful concept, the majority of online identities are concealed, we cannot meaningfully describe them as true or false.
Something we can say, when a person uses that assumption of anonymity to decieve, they are using a sockpuppet. It does not matter here whether they have multiple online identities, whether they give false facts about themselves or simply present as anonymous, whether they make a long series of blogs or it is simply a one-off comment. It is "a pseudonym used by someone to distance themselves from their actions."(1) We can say that all sockpuppets use pseudonyms, but the vast majority of pseudonym users are not sockpuppets.
To give an example of internet deception that is not sockpuppetry, take most internet hoaxes. They are created online, they are trying to decieve, but they do not use sockpuppets. There is no use of pseudonymity to distance the hoaxer from their real world actions. Who the hoaxer is "really," is not relevant to the hoax.
Do you see what I am saying? --Andrewaskew (talk) 06:08, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Let's consider the view that sockpuppetry is "a pseudonym used by someone to distance themselves from their actions." as you say. However, all pseudonyms are used to distance people from their actions. Is not it the case? Why else would anyone wanted to use a pseudonym? This is not to be identified, obviously. Hiding under a pseudonym is always a deception, but not necessarily immoral. Consider Sinyavsky and Daniel who used pseudonyms. Consider anonymous users in this environment. My very best wishes (talk) 16:02, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Seems like a strawman to me. Andrewaskew's following sentence notes that "all sockpuppets use pseudonyms, but the vast majority of pseudonym users are not sockpuppets."--John Foxe (talk) 17:43, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that is what I think too (vast majority of pseudonym users are not sockpuppets). However, according to definition he proposes (the sockpuppetry is the situation is when someone uses a pseudonym "to distance themselves from their actions"), all anonymous accounts would qualify as sockpuppets. This is bad definition. My very best wishes (talk) 22:45, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
I think the first paragraph of the article provides a pretty good definition.--John Foxe (talk) 17:49, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Three main points:
  1. If you don't understand the issue at hand, feel free to ask questions. We understand that this is a complex matter that hinges on some rather complex English definitions. If someone's point is hard for you, just ask them to clarify. This goes for all of Wikipedia, any good editor will be willing to explain themselves.
  2. I see now that the idea that "every edit from an anonymous account is deception" is your own concept. Here, I have to respectfully disagree. This idea that anonymity (or to give the more general term, privacy) is equivalent to deception is weird, I doubt you'll find many English speakers who agree with you. There is relationship, I grant you, but it is not one of equivalence. A good proportion (not all, but I would say most) of the deception in sockpuppetry cases hinges on lies by omission, but these are not the same as privacy.
  3. The definition that you seem to have the most problem with, "a pseudonym used by someone to distance themselves from their actions," is not mine, it's from Wikitionary, as above.(1) If you really think there is some fundamental contradiction (I disagree, by the way) then I suggest you bring up your point there. Be careful however, Wiktionary editors deal with issues of definition all the time, make sure you know your sources and English definitions.
If there is anything further you still don't undertand, please ask. --Andrewaskew (talk) 04:00, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Everything was already said (please see above). There is no OR on my part. According to one of the definitions posted by you above, this is "A pseudonym used by someone to distance themselves from their actions". This is basically any pseudonymous account (something we all disagree with). However, the most common theme in several definitions of sockpuppet is a "A phony name made up by a user in order to masquerade as someone else on the Internet" or a "a false online identity" (several definitions). If this is something you can not understand, I am sorry.My very best wishes (talk) 04:58, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
To ignore all counterarguments and simply restate your point is not really a discussion. Did you have something to say in regard to the points that other editors have raised? --Andrewaskew (talk) 03:16, 4 June 2013 (UTC)
This is not about ignoring the arguments, but about following WP:RS [4]. My very best wishes (talk) 06:22, 4 June 2013 (UTC)
Can you develop that point? In what way do you feel that WP:RS is being violated? Andrewaskew (talk) 07:26, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

John Locke and meatpuppery[edit]

The section on "Meatpuppet" says that in one particular arena (Wikipedia) "Such a recruited member [meatpuppet] is considered analogous to a sockpuppet ..." But analogous does not mean identical - "sockpuppet" and "meatpuppet" clearly have different meanings.

I have no objection to including this section in the article. But including a meatpuppet example - and the John Locke case clearly involves meatpuppets and NOT sockpuppets - as one of six exemplars is just wrong. I propose that this subsection be removed from this article, since its inclusion muddles the difference between the two terms. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 17:12, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Here are some differences between meatpuppets and sockpuppets:
  • Sockpuppets are often long-term; meatpuppets are typically recruited for specific events (e.g., a Wikipedia AFD discussion)
  • Sockpuppets are detected by comparing writing style, IP addresses, or similar evidence; meatpuppets are detected (on Wikipedia) because they have few or no prior edits
  • Sockpuppets often engage in deep and repeated conversations; meatpuppets (who are unfamiliar with what is being discussed) tend to make superficial comments
  • Hiring meatpuppets (the John Locke case) requires money, and raises the risk that one of the participants will reveal the scheme; sockpuppetry is free and does not carry the risk related to having accomplices.
  • Sockpuppets conceal who they really are; meatpuppets are willing to reveal who they are (and, in fact, this gives them credibility), protecting just the information that might expose their connection to the person who recruited them.
In short, these are very different things. That in some Wikipedia voting-like situations, the two are used similarly does not make the two terms even close to being the same, and readers of the article should not be confused. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 18:17, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

The Daily Mail is not a credible source[edit]

Anyone else agree that reference 18 should be removed?— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 05:00, 7 July 2013‎

Given that a better non-tabloid source exists for the same statement; sure, I see no need to use the Mail here, per WP:PUS. I've dropped it. --McGeddon (talk) 21:57, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

Lisa Jackson[edit]

The definition of a "sockpuppet" given in the article is assuming a false identity by a member of an internet community to refer to himself while pretending to be another as well as the use of online identities to praise, defend, or support a person or organization.

Certainly Lisa Jackson's behavior was, at best, disingenuous, but I don't think it meets the definition of sockpuppetry. She was not using a false identity to provide public support for herself or her organization but to prevent public knowledge of her views, activities, etc.--John Foxe (talk) 20:24, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

This definition of "sock puppet" perfectly fits Jackson. Just read the Oxford dictionary definition cited in the article. She using this sock puppet identity to support the Obama administration policies. Moreover the use of the sock puppet hurt others because EPA departmental awards that would have been given to others at the EPA were awarded to the Sock puppet. Josh Hicks, "EPA awarded ethics certificate to Lisa Jackson alias ‘Richard Windsor’," Washington Post, June 7, 2013 (talk) 13:31, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
Moreover, the assertion that she was doing so to "prevent public knowledge" is an unproven accusation. We cannot list anyone as a "sockpuppet" whose actions are subject to interpretation and significant dispute. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 23:31, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
There is no dispute that Jackson used this false persona. The sock puppet use prevented Jackson's emails from being shown in Freedom of Information Act requests. (e.g., Stephen Dinan, "Newly released emails show EPA director’s extensive use of fictional alter ego," Washington Times, June 2, 2013).(talk) 13:37, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
There is also no dispute that the awards that Jackson's sockpuppet received deprived others from obtaining those EPA awards, thus hurting their careers. Thus that fulfills another aspect of the Oxford dictionary definition of "sock puppet." (talk) 19:24, 1 Aug 2013 (UTC)
There are no reliable sources cited describing Lisa Jackson's actions as being a "sockpuppet." A quick Google search found no reliable sources which described Jackson's actions as being sockpuppetry. Significant debate and dispute exists about the nature and intent of her actions and there exists neither an overwhelming consensus of reliable sources nor a self-admission of sockpuppetry. Ergo, per WP:BLP, we cannot describe Lisa Jackson as being a "sockpuppet." It is simply right out. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 04:41, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
If you are going to use that standard, almost none of the people listed in this entire discussion should be included. News articles simply don't use the term "sock puppet." In Jackson's case, many of the articles use terms such as "pseudonym."(talk) 13:37, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
Which means she does not belong to this page. My very best wishes (talk) 19:24, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
Again, the point is that it doesn't look like any of the news stories use the term "sock puppet." If you use that standard, none of the people could be listed here and you might as well scrap this whole page. You can't use such an inconsistent standard. The Oxford dictionary definition of "sock puppet" cited in the article fits Jackson perfectly. She using this sock puppet identity to support the Obama administration policies. Moreover the use of the sock puppet hurt others because EPA departmental awards that would have been given to others at the EPA were awarded to the Sock puppet. Josh Hicks, "EPA awarded ethics certificate to Lisa Jackson alias ‘Richard Windsor’," Washington Post, June 7, 2013 (talk) 19:24, 1 Aug 2013 (UTC)
No, those people who are listed here have either openly admitted to sockpuppetry in reliable sources or are described in an overwhelming consensus of reliable sources as having engaged in sockpuppetry. Until and unless evidence of either of those two factors existing in the case of Lisa Jackson, it stays out. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 03:44, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
After the lawsuit forced the release of the information, the EPA confirmed the use of the "Richard Windsor" name by Lisa Jackson. Indeed, the EPA even released an explanation how the "Richard Windsor" name was arrived at. This fact is confirmed in multiple news sources from the Washington Post to Fox News.[User:Bobbys63|Bobbys63]] (talk) 11:09, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
I went through every source linked in the attempted edit. Not one of them uses the word "sockpuppet" to describe Jackson's behavior. The articles described a controversy and dispute, with some *accusations* by Jackson's political opponents that her behavior and accounts were deceptive, while Jackson and other governmental officials rejected those *accusations* and assert that the behavior is neither deceptive nor unusual. The fact of the matter is that this represents a *dispute* and a *debate* between two opposing political factions, and there is no clear, unambiguous and well-developed consensus that Jackson's actions can be equated to or fairly described as sockpuppetry. Absent any such clear consensus or an admission of such, this article cannot include her as a "sockpuppet" based solely on accusations made by political opponents. It is simply unacceptable. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 05:36, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
It is a fact that because Lisa Jackson used this name "Richard Windsor" her discussions about regulatory issues were hidden from FIOA requests. She obstructed that information being revealed and forced a lawsuit to be filed. She resigned from office immediately after an Inspector General office investigation into her behavior was announced (in this case she claims it was for other reasons that didn't prove to be true -- claiming that Obama would soon announce the Keystone pipeline was approved). Others were harmed by her use of the false identity as "Richard Windsor" received awards that would have otherwise gone to others. She clearly meets the definition: "the creation of a sockpuppet is that the sockpuppet poses as an independent third-party unaffiliated with the puppeteer." All these points are from reputable news sources, not blogs as some have posted here. [User:Bobbys63|Bobbys63]] (talk) 11:09, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
These weren't just accusations. Jackson resigned when the EPA inspector general announced an investigation. Since the beginning of the year thousands of emails with Jackson using the pseudonym have been revealed. Stephen Dinan, "Newly released emails show EPA director’s extensive use of fictional alter ego," Washington Times, June 2, 2013; Josh Hicks, "EPA awarded ethics certificate to Lisa Jackson alias ‘Richard Windsor’," Washington Post, June 7, 2013; Judson Berger, "Attorney claims EPA chief resigned over alias email accounts," Fox News, December 27, 2012.(talk) 13:37, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
@IP. This is not even an anonymous account, but a secondary email address. This does not qualify as sockpuppetry at all. My very best wishes (talk) 19:24, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
Lisa Jackson refused for a long time to acknowledge that she was using the name "Richard Windsor." It took a lawsuit to force the EPA to admit that Jackson was using this false name. This false identity prevented discussions she was having from being made public precisely because no one knew to check under this false name. How is this not an account to hide Jackson's identity? As noted above, not only did Jackson benefit from hiding this information, but others were harmed because agency awards that would have gone to others were given to "Richard Windsor." [User:Bobbys63|Bobbys63]] (talk) 11:09, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
A Google search for "Lisa Jackson" "sockpuppet" returns fewer than 2,000 hits and none of them appear to be reliable sources. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 05:37, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
Actually, one might argue that some of these sources qualify as opinions of "newsblog experts" (similar to a few other examples on this page). But I agree that Lisa Jackson does not belong to this page simply because this is not a case of sockpuppetry per definition of the term ("A phony name made up by a user in order to masquerade as someone else on the Internet" rather than simply using an anonymous account). For the same reason I object using Figes as an exmple in this article. My very best wishes (talk)
You've not used the definition in the lead but made up your own definition ("A phony name made up by a user in order to masquerade as someone else on the Internet"); then you've rejected Figes on the basis of your own definition. I've agreed to accept a community decision about the inclusion of Figes, but apparently that's not sufficient. Now, if you want to demonstrate a spirit of good will, you should replace the paragraph on Figes immediately.--John Foxe (talk) 19:34, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

President Obama's administration use of false twitter accounts to push gun control[edit]

The fact that the Obama administration and Organizing for America sent massive numbers of false twitter messages out, most aimed at on the fence Democrats, to get members of congress to support Obama's push for gun control seems like a clear cut example of Sockpuppetry on a massive scale. This clearly meets the definition of Sockpuppets listed in this article: "the creation of a sockpuppet is that the sockpuppet poses as an independent third-party unaffiliated with the puppeteer." In addition, the tweets spoke about the wonderful job that the Obama administration was doing with its gun control proposals, thus fulling the other even narrower definition: "false identity assumed by a member of an internet community who spoke to, or about, himself while pretending to be another person." Many of these twitter accounts were identified as fake accounts used to beef up the number of Obama's Twitter followers. All the false messages were sent from the same IP address at the same point in time. The source of the tweets was an individual who worked in the Obama administration. These details are available in reputable news sources from The Hill newspaper to Fox News. [User:Bobbys63|Bobbys63]] (talk) 11:09, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

What you are attempting to insert are unproven accusations and assertions made by political opponents. This article includes only a select number of proven sockpuppetry abuses. Unless you can demonstrate that this has been proven, beyond any doubt, to be sockpuppetry and that it was, as you allege, orchestrated by the Obama administration, then the insertion you made has no place in this article. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 20:13, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
What is unproven? Was that the twitter posts were done by fake accounts linked to the Obama campaign unproven? Was the fact that all the twitter posts were put out at the same time unproven? Was the fact that the same IP address was used unproven? Was the fact that most of the congressmen who had these sockpuppet twitter attacks directed against them were swing vote Democrats unproven? [User:Bobbys63|Bobbys63]] (talk) 12:18, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes, it's unproven that they are linked to the Obama campaign. Yes, it's unproven that the same IP address was used. Given that the IP address from which a tweet is published is private and hidden by the Twitter software, I'm highly skeptical that anyone would be able to determine that fact without illegally hacking into Twitter's servers. Please link the reliable source which has published proof of either of those accusations. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 01:53, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I further note that that these allegations, though published in multiple sources, are all ultimately attributed to one person, Republican Rep. Steve Stockman. Unless there is more verification or proof than the word of one person — a notable political opponent of Barack Obama — then, clearly, we cannot treat these accusations as anything remotely resembling proven.NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 20:16, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Did you actually read all the news stories? The claim that this was all attributed to Stockman is completely false. Much of the reporting was original, such as discovering that the twitter posts were done by fake accounts linked to the Obama campaign, that all the twitter posts were put out at the same time, that the same IP address was used, and many other points. The fact that most of the congressmen who had these sockpuppet twitter attacks directed against them were Democrats is again something that was discovered by reporters and others. [User:Bobbys63|Bobbys63]] (talk) 12:18, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
I see that no one has responded to this post. (talk) 1:24, 12 Aug 2013 (UTC)
Also, the person who is *alleged* to have "orchestrated" the situation is someone who formerly worked in the Obama administration, but did not at the time of the alleged incident. This means that the claim you make — that the administration, and ultimately the president, was responsible for the situation — is extraordinarily tenuous indeed. Simply put, it doesn't belong in this article. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 21:05, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
The person was formerly deputy communications director in the Obama White House, but he is now with the Obama organization Organizing for American -- a group that up until the end of last year was Obama for America and was Obama's campaign organization. By the way, how did the gun control advocate get access to all those fake twitter accounts that had been set up by the Obama campaign? Where did they get the passwords? Organizing for America had that information because it was originally the Obama campaign. I have been reading how you have protected Democrats with Lisa Jackson, Weiner, these gun control posts, and others and it surely appears as if this is a Wikipedia is a Democrat support group. [User:Bobbys63|Bobbys63]] (talk) 12:18, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't think whatever is going on with these Twitter accounts meets the definition of sockpuppetry. If we could prove some prominent person was directing those tweets, it would be a different story. It's just inference at this point.--John Foxe (talk) 20:54, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
How is this not "sock puppetry" by the definition shown at the beginning of this page? For example, note the point "misleading uses of online identities, such as those created to praise, defend or support a person or organization." Many of these tweets were by accounts that had no followers and the only one that they were following was the Obama campaign. They were thus misleading identities and were done to praise Obama's position on the topic and to mainly convince Democratic congressmen to support Obama's position. (talk) 1:24, 12 Aug 2013 (UTC)
You just said "all those fake twitter accounts that had been set up by the Obama campaign" as if that was some sort of proven fact. Please supply the reliable source which states, as a proven fact, that officials who were working for the Obama campaign set them up. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 01:44, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Seriously? USA Today has an article here that is entitled "Obama has millions of fake Twitter followers" where they indicate that 70 percent of his followers are "fake followers" ( and the article lays the responsibility clearly on the Obama campaign. The USA Today piece is citing work done by the New York Times. The news articles that were cited for this post determined that the fake twitter followers that posted these gun control tweets to the congressmen were fake followers in exactly the same way that the New York Times did. Please explain why this is wrong and where there is any indication in a reliable source that there is another explanation for what is going on. If not, then let's post this discussion. (talk) 1:24, 12 Aug 2013 (UTC)
Editing with both a user account and an IP gives the impression of sockpuppetry, so it would be best to stick to one. The Nytimes article indicates that the tool in question is unproven. It simply looks for accounts that follow a lot but have few followers. It may turn out to be a good tool, but the Nytimes article does not make the strong claim you assert. What you need are sources that support the claims you make and also any sources that may rebut them in order to meet WP:NPOV.I am One of Many (talk) 06:07, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
What are you talking about? Are you claiming that Bobbys63 and myself are the same people? I don't know if you can check Bobbys63 IP address, but if you can, please do so. Are you, NorthBySouthBaranof, and John Foxe the same person. As to accuracy, even Twitter used this method in their federal court case against those services that sell twitter followers. Twitter would seem to be an expert on this. (talk) 3:22, 12 Aug 2013 (UTC)
I watch this article (with some dismay), and the advice given above regarding the unsuitability of the proposed material is correct. Wikipedia is not available to publish blog-o-sphere thoughts on political campaigns. What bloggers suspected, and what some mindless fake follower tool found are not encyclopedic information. The good news for the person wanting this nonsense inserted is that there will also not be any similar nonsense accusing Obama's opponents of any similar abuses. Johnuniq (talk) 07:05, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
So are Anthony Weiner, Gun Control advocates, Lisa Jackson and others protected from ever being identified as ever using sock puppet identities? The question isn't politics. If Republicans do this, especially if they do it for more than just small scale personal self promotion, they should also be identified. The question is whether they created sock puppet identities so as to device others whether it be people trying to get FIOA requests or using false twitter identities to pretend that more people were pushing for gun control than was actually the case. (talk) 3:22, 12 Aug 2013 (UTC)
In my opinion, sockpuppets are creations of specific, identifiable (and especially, well-known) people. I'm sure any number of campaign organizations have manipulated electronic identities for various less-than-wholesome purposes, but that doesn't mean that these identities are necessarily sockpuppets.--John Foxe (talk) 13:52, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Please respect results of RfC and BLP rules[edit]

So, an RfC above was officially closed by uninvolved admin as "no consensus" [5]. There is no consensus to include this information specifically into this article. This is obviously negative information about living person. Now let me quote WP:BLP: When material about living persons has been deleted on good-faith BLP objections, any editor wishing to add, restore, or undelete it must ensure it complies with Wikipedia's content policies. If it is to be restored without significant change, consensus must be obtained first.. Why exactly there was no consensus is not really relevant. My very best wishes (talk) 18:11, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

Objections to the inclusion of Orlando Figes[edit]

Please give provide your good faith objections to the inclusion of Orlando Figes here without referring to any material above. The objections should be presented unambiguously in one place so that our difference of opinion will be easier for for a third party to referee. --John Foxe (talk) 20:27, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
Link to RfC above has been already provided [6] and it already includes all arguments, along with other sections. They include comments by many contributors, which were taken into account by the closing admin. Please respect WP:Consensus and WP:BLP. My very best wishes (talk) 22:36, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
Please provide your good faith objections here so that our difference of opinion will be easier for a third party to referee.--John Foxe (talk) 23:17, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
Everything was already provided before and during RfC above. Why repeat this again? My very best wishes (talk) 01:51, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
When opposed, anyone proposing material for inclusion needs to provide a good reason for the inclusion because articles do not mention everything possible. This article is not a list of everyone who has ever used an alias to avoid revealing their identity, and it is not a list of everyone who has spammed self-praise or attacks on rivals. The article should include only very significant examples of sockpuppetry, and the significance needs to be established by reliable secondary sources. Johnuniq (talk) 02:39, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes, and it was precisely the point that the case of Figes is simply not a good example of sockpuppetry for this article, because it does not fall under the most common definitions of sockpupptery (pretending to be someone else). Figes first simply edited from an anonymous account like we all do (this is not sockpuppetry according to many definitions), and then switched to another account that explicitly provided his place of work (Birkbeck College). If anything, that was an example of a conflict of interest (making negative reviews about work by his colleagues), not internet sockpuppetry that is very close to our definition of WP:SOCK.My very best wishes (talk) 03:44, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
I disagree but lack the interest to pursue the matter. However, I'll include the deleted material below in case someone else is interested in taking it up.
[[Orlando Figes]], an award-winning historian who has written extensively on Russia and the Soviet Union wrote reviews on the [[]] website under the names "orlando-birkbeck" and "historian" praising his own books and condemning those of fellow historians Rachel Polonsky and [[Robert Service (historian)|Robert Service]]. The two sued Figes and won monetary damages.<ref>Richard Lea and Matthew Taylor [ "Historian Orlando Figes admits posting Amazon reviews that trashed rivals"], ''The Guardian'', April 23, 2010</ref><ref name="BBC">[ "Orlando Figes to pay fake Amazon review damages,"] BBC, July 16, 2010.</ref>
--John Foxe (talk) 15:05, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes, he first edited in Amazon under an anonymous account and then under his own name ("orlando-birkbeck"). This is simply not sockpuppetry according to most common definitions of the term (please see this discussion above).My very best wishes (talk) 15:57, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
Nevertheless, the following articles in The Nation and the New York Times specifically refer to Figes as a sockpuppeteer.
Figes's real problem was that he was a pretty clumsy deceiver, certainly not up to acceptable modern standards. Then blaming his wife and having to pay monetary damages pushes his lapse in judgment to a higher level.--John Foxe (talk) 18:17, 5 November 2013 (UTC)
As a practical matter, (a) I do not see any substantial objections to my arguments in previous thread ("no consensus" means no inclusion of contentious material about living person per WP:BLP rules), (b) no need to repeat all arguments again (links provided), (c) you said that you "lack the interest to pursue the matter" - this is fine, please keep your word. My very best wishes (talk) 04:42, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
There seems to be additional opposition to your view, and I support that opposition. The links are blather; you need to state your objections to Figes's inclusion briefly in your own words.
On several occasions I've suggested that we take this difference of opinion to a dispute resolution forum. I continue to recommend that course.--John Foxe (talk) 14:41, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

Having regrouped the examples section by context rather than surname, it looks like Figes is the only case we have of a review-sockpuppeteer being successfully sued for damages for such behaviour. This seems like an example worth mentioning, and a useful counterpoint to Leather's dismissive "everyone does it". --McGeddon (talk) 15:37, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

First of all, I agree with your changes - this is definitely an improvement. Second, speaking about Figes, these quoted sources consider any unethical use of an anonymous account (for example, a conflict of interest) to be a "sockpuppetry". Not so in other sources (please see this discussion above). More important, we already had exactly the same discussion, it was reviewed by admin and closed as "no consensus" meaning no inclusion of disputed material per WP:BLP - see quote above. My very best wishes (talk) 01:59, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

Wikimedia's Fight Against Sockpuppet Army - NPOV issues[edit]

While the obvious COI risk of Wikipedia editors writing about this cannot be avoided, it can and must be carefully handled.

It is best to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest by erring on the side of caution and reducing this section to a bare minimum. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 02:57, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

I agree and trimmed the material drastically. The rest of the story can be easily followed via the link. Perhaps the sentence could go elsewhere in the article though.--John Foxe (talk) 22:17, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

Lori Drew material[edit]

The material on the Lori Drew case was a mess. Not only was it incorrect, it contradicted the source material AND the main Wikipedia article on the case.

I made the following corrections.

First, the guilty verdict was thrown out by the trial court judge. This action was not the result of an appeal by Lori Drew. This action was done by the trial court judge, not by the Court of Appeals.

Second, it was the prosecutor who appealed, not Lori Drew. The prosecution appealed the decision of the trial court -- the decision that threw out the guilty verdict.

Last, the prosecution's appeal was not upheld -- the appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeals (indeed, it was dismissed at the request of the government side). Famspear (talk) 22:31, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to one external link on Sockpuppet (Internet). Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true to let others know.

Question? Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 23:46, 10 January 2016 (UTC)