Sock puppet accounts: threat or menace? June 9, 2005 10:35 PM   Subscribe

Sock puppet accounts: threat or menace? [mi]
posted by mediareport to Etiquette/Policy at 10:35 PM (83 comments total)

Seriously. When I first started participating in group online discussions (on Usenet), almost everyone considered "sock puppet"-style accounts a dishonest way of participating. Here at Mefi, I've been surprised at the shrugging that goes on about what, to me, is a fundamentally dishonest approach to Mefi membership. Help me understand the positive value of sock puppet accounts, please. What are the honest reasons for creating a 2nd/3rd/4th account under a different name?
posted by mediareport at 10:38 PM on June 9, 2005


$5.00
posted by yhbc at 10:43 PM on June 9, 2005


Maybe sometimes it's good to have a second account to use for trolling, spreading lies, making opportunistic bad jokes and such when your regular account wouldn't do such things? 自己満足?
posted by mexican at 10:44 PM on June 9, 2005


I have one simply because I wanted to post things and make comments that were more pseudo-anonymous. My profile leads to personally identifiable information so I created one after I learned one of my co-workers had an active membership. That way I could post during work hours and not worry they would know it's me. However, someone else here figured out who I was within a week so I guess I didn't do such a great job.
posted by karmaville at 10:53 PM on June 9, 2005


Responding to anonymous AskMe posts that you would be embarrassed to otherwise?
posted by socky at 10:54 PM on June 9, 2005


Maybe I'm being niave, but how often does this happen? I've suspected it a few times in political threads, but does that really matter if the puppet has to answer for itself to the same degree the puppeteer does? I guess I'm assuming most Mefites would see the futility in it.
posted by maryh at 10:57 PM on June 9, 2005


If he followed through, Wendell has been running multiple personalities for the last 5 years.
posted by tellurian at 11:59 PM on June 9, 2005


w not W
posted by tellurian at 12:00 AM on June 10, 2005


I personally see all the paypal details fly past in email and notice very few people buying second accounts. So far people seem to be using them primarily for joke accounts, with psuedo-anonymous ask mefi posts being a close second. After that, I think people that left/quit/were banned get second accounts.

But really, I think we're talking a couple dozen accounts, tops. It's not like everyone's doing it, so I'd say while identity is important in a community, I don't think this is widespread enough to be a real problem.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:23 AM on June 10, 2005


You're up late tonight.
posted by DeepFriedTwinkies at 12:52 AM on June 10, 2005


mathowie, come back to bed.
posted by mek at 1:01 AM on June 10, 2005


Sorry, what's the problem? I've been having loads of fun with my sock puppet: "quonsar" for ages now.
posted by felix betachat at 1:03 AM on June 10, 2005


Your sock puppet?
posted by loquacious at 1:14 AM on June 10, 2005


In many of the other communities I've been in, I haven't seen the same willingness for people to reveal so much of their real lives. With that in mind, it's perhaps understandable that some people don't want everything they post here to be associated with their non-MeFi existence.
posted by grouse at 1:24 AM on June 10, 2005


*Ponders a quonser, mathowle, yhbe or ParlsParamus sock puppet*

*Opts for Lamb Chopp or Sooty*
posted by i_cola at 1:33 AM on June 10, 2005


actual question, though: I've considered shelling out 35 bucks and just getting a mefi account for each day of the week, so I can AskMefi whenever I damn well feel like it. If I pay the money, why not, especially if I was being transparent about it?
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 1:45 AM on June 10, 2005


because it'd be antisocial?
posted by handee at 2:17 AM on June 10, 2005


because then you would be equivalent to seven members? atleast for AskMefi? And the questions would scroll off the page faster?
posted by dhruva at 2:17 AM on June 10, 2005


Previous discussion of...
posted by luser at 2:27 AM on June 10, 2005


...sock puppet accounts here.
posted by luser at 2:27 AM on June 10, 2005


ha, luser tried to post under two names but forgot to log out!!! what a luser.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:30 AM on June 10, 2005


stupidsexyluser.
posted by taz at 2:33 AM on June 10, 2005


I'm confused, but strangely aroused.
posted by squirrel at 4:15 AM on June 10, 2005


i'm strange and arousing confusion.
posted by quonsar at 5:13 AM on June 10, 2005


>Sock puppet accounts: threat or menace?



Neither...I said NEITHER!
posted by gsb at 5:28 AM on June 10, 2005


No sir, I don't like it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:12 AM on June 10, 2005


squirrel writes "I'm confused, but strangely aroused."

quonsar writes "i'm strange and arousing confusion."

This is pretty much all that need be said, no?
posted by OmieWise at 6:20 AM on June 10, 2005


okay, guys, you got me.

I am mathowie.
posted by keswick at 6:20 AM on June 10, 2005


All right, I'll admit it. I have numerous sock puppets, and you'll know them because they always heartily agree with me and tell me I'm the sexiest thang alive to boot.
posted by orange swan at 6:22 AM on June 10, 2005


orange swan,
As usual, you couldn't be more right. It's almost a crime that someone as sexy as you are is also so smart. Thanks for being you and making this world a better place. We all owe you homage (and possibly money).
posted by OmieWise at 6:28 AM on June 10, 2005


mathowie writes "...I'd say while identity is important in a community..."

And yet so many users here are practically anonymous by not completing their user profiles.
posted by terrapin at 6:29 AM on June 10, 2005


Sock puppet accounts: threat or menace?

Or inevitable? I don't really know jack about how all this works--but could #1 even stop it if he wanted to, without putting in a ton of time cross checking IP addresses and Paypal accounts?
posted by LarryC at 7:04 AM on June 10, 2005


MENACE!!!
posted by Quartermass at 7:13 AM on June 10, 2005


Metafilter: threat or menace?

(Also, why do so many people get so agitated about incomplete profiles? I'm puzzled in your direction, terrapin.)
posted by Plutor at 7:31 AM on June 10, 2005


why do so many people get so agitated about incomplete profiles?

Many disputes that could be settled with a quick email/IM slop over into threads or MetaTalk when people can't contact the person they have a beef with or want to ask a question of. I don't care how anonymous/sock-puppety people want to be as long as there's a way to get ahold of them.
posted by jessamyn at 7:43 AM on June 10, 2005


I say menace. Aside from jokes (which are mostly very lame--i.e, the baby), puppets seem to be used mainly for trollery and "me too" support for the puppeteer. What is the point of this, exactly?

Also, Matt -- you have always been sensitive to the problem of creating too much of an insular community with cryptic inside jokes and other barriers to entry for newbies. Sock puppets are exactly such a cliquish barrier when some insiders know the puppets' real identities, but others don't. I.e., look at the silly newbie fighting it out with a sock.

I was really surprised by Jessamyn's comment in a prior thread that a thousand writers drunk at the keyboard should check his "other account." Same with other knowing comments by people who claim to know who Kwanstar is. That sort of stuff is exclusionary. I'm not denying that it might be fun, like all insular groups are fun, and I'm not saying that it is somehow morally wrong (it's not), I'm just saying that it makes you feel outside the loop/group. I understand if it just isn't enough of a big deal to worry about, but I do think it has a bad community effect.
posted by Mid at 7:55 AM on June 10, 2005


Also, Matt -- you have always been sensitive to the problem of creating too much of an insular community with cryptic inside jokes and other barriers to entry for newbies. Sock puppets are exactly such a cliquish barrier when some insiders know the puppets' real identities, but others don't. I.e., look at the silly newbie fighting it out with a sock.

I agree. Personaly, I don't have a problem with it if the SP is resonable, but I think the threshold of bannination should be much lower for a sockpupet.
posted by delmoi at 8:09 AM on June 10, 2005


Sock Puppets-- Yes
Meat Puppets-- No
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:10 AM on June 10, 2005


We all know who Kwantsar is, which is to say, none of us know who Kwantsar is.
posted by gramschmidt at 8:11 AM on June 10, 2005


I'm trying to care one way or another, but... I just can't.
posted by cmonkey at 8:12 AM on June 10, 2005


Sock puppets were percieved to be a real problem over at K5 but only, I think, because they could increase a persons karma/mojo/rating/whatever rusty called it. Here they'll only be a concern for the bonus questions they get (not that I'm worried) and the trolling which hasn't been a serious problem yet, even when accounts were free.
posted by Mitheral at 8:15 AM on June 10, 2005


I resent being called a menace. I earn my keep.
posted by Rothko at 8:18 AM on June 10, 2005


As do I. I never hurt anyone.
posted by Poltroon at 8:21 AM on June 10, 2005


Hell, if someone has a dispute with me and sends me an email, I will probably publish it here anyway. ;-P
posted by mischief at 8:37 AM on June 10, 2005


I propose a market-based solution to the sock puppet problem. Instead of making a second MeFi account the same old $5, accounts should increase exponentially. $5 for the original account, $25 for the first sock puppet, $125 for the second sock puppet, etc. Just think, if you can get George Soros to join up and ban him eight times, you can fund MeFi in perpetuity.
posted by anapestic at 8:40 AM on June 10, 2005


quonsar is everybody's sock puppet.

In other news, I don't think this is a big issue unless it becomes a widespread problem, and mathowie says it hasn't. If it doesn't worry him, it doesn't worry me.

By the way, orange swan is the sexiest thang alive.
posted by languagehat at 9:10 AM on June 10, 2005


I EAT TAPES.
posted by Voice of God at 9:24 AM on June 10, 2005


Whoops.
posted by Voice of God at 9:24 AM on June 10, 2005


Mathowie's indifference on this topic is destroying this website.
posted by Official Mefi Head Complainer at 9:37 AM on June 10, 2005 [1 favorite]


I don't see the need for a sock puppet myself since I'm quite prepared to stand by everything I say no matter who sees it: Government, neighbour, boss, partner, mummy and daddy, tkchrist or my slave harem of naked, oiled catamites. I'm sorry, I don't know why I juxtaposed tkchrist with my slave harem of naked, oiled catamites there but you get my point.

On the other hand, whatever. Some people like playing games from behind a mask: that's cool. Different strokes.
posted by Decani at 9:45 AM on June 10, 2005



posted by mkultra at 9:46 AM on June 10, 2005


Attention sockpuppets: Just be careful. Someone asked a question in AxMe with one account then answered a question someone asked him with his other account. He confessed to having a sockpuppet.
posted by mlis at 9:54 AM on June 10, 2005


I still have my sock monkey from when I was five. His name is Jocko.
posted by y2karl at 9:56 AM on June 10, 2005


:::::Hugs Orange Swan:::::
posted by Quadroonian at 10:00 AM on June 10, 2005


We are all Kosh.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:35 AM on June 10, 2005


I guess the fact that Matt and Jess know who the asshats with multiple accounts are is good enough for me. At least someone can see through the games people are playing.
posted by crunchland at 10:39 AM on June 10, 2005


OMG, how long has it been since the last Babylon 5 reference? Bravo, DevAd, bravo.

The Miguel puppet is just plain creepy.

And this whole thread is just taking our attention from the quasi-historic Son of 9622.
posted by wendell at 10:44 AM on June 10, 2005


My vote is for meh-ness.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:14 AM on June 10, 2005


orange swan is right, as usual, and her strawberry lip gloss is glistening in an inviting manner.
posted by taz at 11:22 AM on June 10, 2005 [1 favorite]


I used to be impotent until I met orange swan. Just sayin'
posted by Sparx at 1:57 PM on June 10, 2005


we're great.
posted by drpartypoopercrankypantsesquire at 2:44 PM on June 10, 2005


I used to be idempotent until I met orange swan. Just sayin'
posted by grouse at 2:47 PM on June 10, 2005


It would be hard to enforce a prohibition on sockpoppets, and Matt is busy wrasslin the Jrun. I like some of the poppets created for specific threads. Don't tell the others, orange swan, but you've always been my favorite.
posted by Mom at 2:56 PM on June 10, 2005


orange swan is teh HAWT!
posted by Balisong at 3:14 PM on June 10, 2005


orange swan makes my toes tingle with hawtness
posted by schyler523 at 3:19 PM on June 10, 2005


> orange swan is teh HAWT!

and all of us absolutely agree with everything she says. Except quonsar, who is The Sockpuppet That Owns Itself.
posted by jfuller at 3:22 PM on June 10, 2005


Thanks for clarifying the extent of the puppetry, Matt. Folks like You Should See the Other Guy have been hinting for a while now that the problem is more widespread than anyone suspects. I'm glad to hear that's not the case.

And thanks for pointing me to the January thread, luser. Glad I completely missed the little experiment from YSSTOG and his two pals; like taz, I think they could have found a much more helpful and effective use of their time (like maybe getting a group of respected oldies to consistently call out bullshit attacks on newbies for a month). Some great discussion of socks, though, especially from rushmc, stavrosthewonderchicken, chicobangs, fenriq and y2karl.
posted by mediareport at 7:15 PM on June 10, 2005


I've considered a second a/c for one reason only, which is that my profile makes it easy to track me, and a sock puppet would make it possible to post "anonymously" to Axeme and supply additional information to respondents without a cooperative proxy.

Multiple accounts to evade Askme frequency restrictions strikes me as extremely antisocial.

But judging from mathowie's post, I don't see that there's currently a problem that needs fixing.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:50 AM on June 11, 2005


Sock puppet accounts: myth or hoax?
posted by warbaby at 1:57 AM on June 11, 2005


I don't see it as antisocial, I see it as:
You have an account where you have stacked up a sufficient snark quotient so that when you want to answer something without being double snarky with a glob of sarcasm trying to be read into your post, you use the sock.
It'll be someone that doesn't come up much, but is helpfull where informative, and knows the subject.
But then there are the Jekyl and Hyde socks, too.
I'll bet Dios is really AlexReynolds' sock puppet. Really they're probably both Matt's puppets.
Orange Swan will someday be mine because she is so desirable and all the cool stuff she says with her mouth words.
posted by Balisong at 2:27 AM on June 11, 2005


___ is ____'s sock is the new it vibrates.
posted by Mid at 6:52 AM on June 11, 2005


Because the account name is fun. HI ALL! Guess who I am! (mathowie, no fair you guessing)
posted by slashdot at 9:50 AM on June 11, 2005


you're the dork
posted by mr.marx at 9:55 AM on June 11, 2005


davy is my sock puppet. he's a bit gooey at the moment.
posted by quonsar at 11:12 AM on June 11, 2005


I forgot the password to my MetaFilter Mannequin.
posted by Captaintripps at 11:58 AM on June 11, 2005


Because the account name is fun. HI ALL! Guess who I am! (mathowie, no fair you guessing)

*awakens psychic powers (and looks at userpage), says, "um....shepd!"*
posted by amberglow at 2:23 PM on June 11, 2005


Who's God Almighty? And how do I get you to stop?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 2:27 PM on June 11, 2005


Sock puppet accounts: threat or menace?

I'd have to go with "threnace".
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 2:37 PM on June 11, 2005


Damn, someone clicked the profile. Amberglow gets the star.
posted by shepd at 5:04 PM on June 11, 2005


Sock puppet accounts: threat or menace?

I'd have to go with "meat".
posted by AlexReynolds at 5:36 PM on June 11, 2005


Therefore, sockpuppets are murder.

And now for a PETA derail!
posted by darukaru at 8:32 AM on June 12, 2005


[img]http://high5.net/comic/LG/00001118.gif[/img]
posted by Balisong at 11:51 AM on June 12, 2005


You shut your mouth, darukaru. How dare you say I go about things the wrong way?
posted by squirrel at 10:28 PM on June 12, 2005


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