I thought Sock-puppetry was dead

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Monday March 17, 2008.

Alas, no. It’s alive and kicking in Reno right now. And it has happened a couple of times where I was involved. Sock-puppetry, for the uninitiated, is the practice of using a fake name to make it appear like you are not the person doing the talking. It’s different from just using a fake name in that a Sock-puppet is typically used to pretend like you have more supporters than you do, or to deliberately disguise who is making the argument you’ve likely already lost. Here is a snippet from the Wikis:

In current usage, the perception of the term has been extended beyond second identities of people who already post in a forum to include other uses of misleading online identities. For example, a NY Times article claims that “sock-puppeting” is defined as “the act of creating a fake online identity to praise, defend or create the illusion of support for one’s self, allies or company.”

Key word: illusion.

The first was a good one, where my boy Ross Armstrong went with it to try and bully a debate. That was good, and transparent. Not the good transparent.

This time it’s being perpetrated by someone else—someone who should know better. The name will come out in due time, but let me just say that two comments were left on this post within six minutes of each other. They came from the same IP address (and, coincidentally, also the same IP address as an email I received ten minutes later). A bullying email. I don’t like bullies. But they are fun to talk about.

As someone who understands how to make or break a reputation, I should offer advice. Sock-puppets are a very good way to destroy your reputation.

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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