Multiple account abuse (Wikipedia)
A sock puppet in Wikipedia is an alternative account used deceptively. Wikipedia does not check the identity of a user when they open an account, and thus it is possible for the same user to edit the encyclopedia from two different accounts without the knowledge of other users. Wikipedia does not forbid multiple accounts as such, although it discourages the use of multiple accounts to create the illusion of greater support for an issue, and expressly forbids the use of to avoid scrutiny, to mislead others by making disruptive edits with one account and normal ones with another, or otherwise stir up controversy. "Misuse of an alternative account may result in being blocked from editing". It also discourages voters from voting more than once via multiple accounts, (but qualifies this with the comment that "typically it is the weight of arguments that wins the day").
The result is a system that is difficult to manage, and there is considerable evidence of abuse of multiple accounts in Wikipedia elections, both by ordinary users and by Wikipedia 'administrators'.
Evidence of abuse
Gregory Kohs has an ample trove of sockpuppet incursions into Wikipedia, but only a few instances found multiple socks trying to influence policy- or article-based outcomes. Generally, these socks were blocked within days of their use. Would these examples help the purpose of this article? (Erase this, if not.) -- MyWikiBiz 04:53, 15 October 2008 (PDT)
- Possible confusion: I am using the term 'multiple account' as an ordinary language version of what Wiki-people call 'sockpuppet'. Thus, if you have ample evidence of sockpuppet incursions that have a negative effect on the project, please let me know.
- Sorry, I can't think of any that had a negative effect on the project, at least in terms of proving or demonstrating important points. -- MyWikiBiz 12:38, 16 October 2008 (PDT)
- What I learned (from John Vandenberg) is that the use of sockpuppet accounts to evade an unjust block enables others to stigmatize the sockpuppeter has having "dirty hands". The moral of the story, I suppose, is to always use freshly laundered socks. —Moulton 14:30, 16 October 2008 (PDT)