- Date Found: 07/1993
- Used By: Sysops, Forum admins, posters
A sockpuppet is typically an internet account owned and operated by an OP or other forums users kept for the purpose of fooling others into believing that the sock is a real, separate person agreeing with the OP or disagreeing with critics. The term originated in the dank bowels of USENET and eventually spread throughout the internet.
Sockpuppets are extremely common wherever people congregate to discuss or argue about subjects, especially on wikis, and Wikipedia has numerous policies in place to deal with them. Other forums and chat channels are often less formal and less strict regarding the phenomenon, though it is still usually discouraged.
A sock farm is an instance in which someone creates a sock puppet account, and then another, and another, and another, and another... These accounts all make minor edits to articles (aka "farming") and as many useless ones as they can to build up their edit count. They start having conversations with one another, then they fall in love, get married, break up, and fight.
Eventually this farm is "harvested" and it can get administrators elected, articles deleted, kept, merged, and through sheer numbers make anything happen on Wikipedia that they want.
Like a fine wine or whiskey, sockpuppets are best left to ripen and mature for considerable periods of time, until the checkuser history expires, so they can't root out the 5 other sockpuppets created from the same IP address because Wikipedia has deleted its logs by then.
While socks are often needed on forums where users must register to post, anonymous websites such as 4chan and its spin-offs and imitators have no methods to tell which posters are which. Sockpuppeting is likely rampant here as well, and poorly disguised socks are called out by users and often referred to as samefag, indicating that the same person is posting numerous times in agreement with him- or herself or bumping an otherwise ignored thread. As with other instances of sockpuppeting, this is frowned upon by most users.
Other terms for socks include:
- Parachute accounts
- Sock journals (typically used on LiveJournal
- Meatpuppets (used to describe IRL friends of a puppeteer who are recruited to back them up)
- You're agreeing an awful lot with SparklePony619, are you sure you're not the same person?