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Sock puppet brandon

This Sith Lord is a sockpuppet from the dark side and thus banned from Scratchpad.

Sockpuppetry occurs when a user creates and uses two or more accounts abusively. In most regular wikis, people can make one or more accounts as alternate accounts or bots, which is acceptable, but most of the time these are abused for block/ban evasion, vandalism, and making false consensus at polls.

At Scratchpad, alternative accounts are allowed for users running authorized bots, AWBs, test accounts, etc. However, all legitimate alternate accounts must be so indicated at the very top of each and every account’s user page, using templates {{user alternative account}} and {{user alternative account name}}.

Legitimate uses

Policy shortcuts:

Alternative accounts have legitimate uses. For example, long-term contributors using their real names may wish to use a pseudonymous account for contributions with which they do not want their real name to be associated, or long-term users might create a new account to experience how the community functions for new users. These accounts are not sockpuppets. If you do use an alternative account, however, it is your responsibility to ensure that you do not violate this policy. Valid reasons include:

  • Security: Since public computers can have password-stealing trojans or keyloggers installed, users may register an alternative account to prevent the hijacking of their main accounts. Such accounts should be publicly connected to the main account or use an easily identified name. For example, User:Mickey might use User:Mickey (alt) or User:Mouse, and redirect that account’s user and talk pages to their main account.
  • Privacy: A person editing an article which is highly controversial within his/her family, social or professional circle, and whose Scratchpad identity is known within that circle, or traceable to their real-world identity, may wish to use an alternative account to avoid real-world consequences from their editing or other Scratchpad actions in that area.
  • Maintenance: An editor might use an alternative account to carry out maintenance tasks, or to segregate functions such as work with specific kinds of media files, so as to maintain a user talk page dedicated to the purpose. The second account should be clearly linked to the main account.
  • Testing and training: Users who use a lot of scripts and other tools may wish to keep a second, “vanilla” account, for testing how things appear to others; or for demonstrating Scratchpad’s default appearance when training new users. The second account should be clearly linked to the main account, except where doing so would interfere with testing or training.
  • Bots: A common special case of maintenance involves bots, or programs that edit automatically or semi-automatically.[1] Editors who use bots are required to create separate accounts, and ask a Bureaucrat that they be marked as bot accounts so that the automated edits can be filtered out of RecentChanges.
Policy shortcuts:
  • Doppelgänger accounts: A doppelgänger account is a second account created with a username similar to one’s main account to prevent impersonation. Such accounts should not be used for editing. Doppelgänger accounts may either be marked as such, or simply redirected to the main account’s userpage.
  • Compromised accounts: If you have lost the password to an existing Scratchpad account, or you know or suspect that someone else has obtained or guessed the password, you may well want to create a new account with a clean password. In such a case, you should post a note on the user page of each account indicating that they are alternative accounts for the same person, and you may well wish to ask an admin to block the old compromised account.
Ambox important Important: Before doing this, you should first try to reset your password via Special:ChangePassword.
  • Clean start under a new name: If you decide to make a fresh start, you can discontinue the old account(s) and create a new one that becomes the only account you use. (See Wikipedia:Clean start, which applies here at Scratchpad.) Clean-start accounts should not return to old topic areas or disputes, editing patterns, or behavior previously identified as problematic, and should be careful not to do anything that looks like an attempt to evade scrutiny. A clean start is permitted only if there are no active bans, blocks, or sanctions in place against the old account. Discontinuing the old account means it will not be used again: It should note on its user page that it is inactive — for example, with the {{retired}} tag — to prevent the switch being seen as an attempt to sock puppet.
Warning WARNING: It is strongly recommended that you inform the Administrators (in strictest confidence if you wish) of the existence of previous accounts before standing for adminship or functionary positions. Failure to do so is likely to be considered deceptive.

Ambox important Important: It is required that multiple accounts be identified as such on their user pages. Template:User alternative account and Template:User alternative account name are to be used for this purpose.

Inappropriate uses of alternative accounts

Policy shortcut:

Editors must not use alternative accounts to mislead, deceive, disrupt, or undermine consensus. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Creating an illusion of support: Alternative accounts must not be used to give the impression of more support for a position than actually exists.
Policy shortcut:
  • Strawman socks: Creating a separate account to argue one side of an issue in a deliberately irrational or offensive fashion, to sway opinion to another side.
  • Editing project space: Undisclosed alternative accounts are not to be used in discussions internal to the project.[2]
  • Circumventing policies or sanctions: Policies apply per person, not per account. Policies such as the three-revert rule are for each person's edits. Using a second account to violate policy will cause any penalties to be applied to your main account, and in the case of sanctions, bans, or blocks, evasion typically causes the timer to restart. See also WP:EVASION.
  • Contributing to the same page or discussion with multiple accounts: Editors may not use more than one account to contribute to the same page or discussion in a way that suggests they are multiple people. Contributing to the same page with clearly linked, legitimate, alternative accounts (e.g. editing the same page with your main and public computer account or editing a page using your main account that your bot account edited) is not forbidden.
Policy shortcut:
  • Avoiding scrutiny: Using alternative accounts that are not fully and openly disclosed to split your editing history means that other editors may not be able to detect patterns in your contributions. While this is permitted in certain circumstances (see legitimate uses), it is a violation of this policy to create alternative accounts to confuse or deceive editors who may have a legitimate interest in reviewing your contributions.
  • Editing logged out to mislead: Editing under multiple IP addresses may be treated the same as editing under multiple accounts where it is done deceptively or otherwise violates the principles of this policy. Where editors log out by mistake, they may wish to contact an editor with oversight access to ensure there is no misunderstanding.
  • Misusing a clean start by switching accounts or concealing a clean start in a way that avoids scrutiny is considered a breach of this policy; see Wikipedia:Clean start.
Policy shortcuts:
  • "Good hand" and "bad hand" accounts: Using one account for constructive contributions and the other one for disruptive editing or vandalism.
Policy shortcut:
  • Role accounts: Because an account represents your edits as an individual, "role accounts", or accounts shared by multiple people, are as a rule forbidden and blocked. Many first time editors may sign up an account with a username that implies it is a role account or is being shared. Such accounts are permitted only if the account information is forever limited to one individual; however, policy recommends that usernames avoid being misleading or disruptive. As such, if you edit for an organization, please see username policy for guidance on choosing a name or a replacement name that can avoid these problems. Role account exceptions can be made for non-editing accounts approved to provide email access, accounts approved by the Wikimedia Foundation (list below), and approved bots with multiple managers. See Username policy – Sharing accounts.
  • Deceptively seeking positions of community trust. You may not run for positions of trust without disclosing that you have previously edited under another account. Adminship reflects the community's trust in an individual, not an account, so when applying for adminship, it is expected that you will disclose past accounts openly, or to email the arbitration committee if the accounts must be kept private. Administrators who fail to disclose past accounts risk being desysopped, particularly if knowledge of them would have influenced the outcome of the RfA.
Policy shortcut:
  • Administrators with multiple accounts: Editors may not have more than one administrator account, except for bots with administrator privileges. As well, Foundation staff may operate more than one admin account, though they must make known who they are. If an administrator leaves, comes back under a new name and is nominated for adminship, he or she must give up the admin access of their old account.
  • Posing as a neutral commentator: Using an alternative account in a discussion about another account operated by the same person.

Handling suspected sock puppets

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Sockpuppet investigations

Wikipedia:Signs of sock puppetry lists some of the signs that an account may be a sock puppet. If you believe someone is using sock puppets or meat puppets, you should create a report at Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations. In reporting suspected sock puppetry, you must obey the rules of WP:OUTING with regard to disclosure of personal or identifying information. Only blocked accounts should be tagged as Category:Suspected Wikipedia sockpuppets and only upon sufficient evidence that would stand up to scrutiny.


Policy shortcut:

Editors with access to the CheckUser tool may consult the server log to see which IP addresses are linked to which accounts. CheckUser cannot confirm with certainty that two accounts are not connected; it can only show whether there is a technical link at the time of the check. In accordance with the Wikimedia Foundation's Privacy and Checkuser policies, checks are only conducted with good cause, and subject to the exceptions in those policies, results are given so as to avoid or minimize any compromise of personal identifying information. Particularly, "fishing"—the use of CheckUser for a given user account without good cause specific to that user account—is prohibited.


If a person is found to be using a sock puppet, the sock puppet account(s) should be blocked indefinitely. The main account may be blocked at the discretion of any uninvolved administrator. IP addresses used for sock puppetry may be blocked, but are subject to certain restrictions for indefinite blocks.



  1. Example maintenance programs:
  2. See Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Privatemusings#Sockpuppetry.
Wikipedia This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Wikipedia:Sock puppetry.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history.
As with Scratchpad, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Licence.