What is a "sock puppet" and why is it bad?

UncleBeer uses this term all the time and I can’t figure out what he means by the context. A little help?

A “sock puppet” is something that you learn about by using the search engine!

Also, it is when a single user posts under two different handles, often in support of or against her/his own argument. Imagine two sock-puppets on each hand, talking to each other.

If you say “saw-right? saw-right!” too often, you could be a sock-puppet.

I thought a sock-puppet was Mick Foley’s, Mr. Socko.

Poster A says something stupid in GD or GQ. Poster B disagrees with him, and provides evidence as to why Poster A’s comment was stupid.

Poster A, being a fragile little whelp, needs to feel like he “won”. So, Poster A signs up five new screen names, and immediately sends them into the debate to drum up approval for Poster A.

You will probably notice a Sock when someone is getting their assed handed to them in a debate, and then a newbie (often, one who registered that same day) appears just to throw in their approval of Poster A’s comments.

And of course, registering yourself on the SDMB under multiple names will get you banned.

I know that is the “received” version of what a sock puppet is (the one on Cecil’s column side of this site).

However, that version of socks-as-support-group is fairly rare here. I think you would be hard pressed to find an example of someone at the SDMB helping himself out in such a manner. Such transparency is not compatible with the sophistication of our membership.

There are several other versions around in abundance, however.

The last legit one is Cecil posting as Ed when he has to make announcements. (Or is it Ed posting as Cecil when he responds to the teeming millions? Either way…). This is the Master’s way of “changing hats”.

There used to be other legit ones, like Dead Equine, which would enter a thread to comment that it had started to repeat itself. Also a Secret Santa or two.

Those haven’t been allowed in over a year. The cause of their demise was a Holy War with a fundamentalist board, where our members tried to overwhelm their topics and we theirs. After mutual bannings had failed to produce results for either side, since new names (the sock puppets) were freely available, a truce was arrived at. The proscription on second names remains, however.

A few, like the innocuous SILENT-BOB, were tolerated for a while, and then hounded into silence.

Then there is the Come-Back-From-The-Grave socks, that often had theme names, such as the metallic series and the British series. These were banned people who came back multiple times, usually trying not to conceal their connection to the prior name.

The primary use now seems to be when a member has some board heresy that s/he just has to get posted. A new name is created for the purpose, a post or three are made, the new name is blocked from posting, banned, or perhaps even deleted, and all parties revert to their prior positions on the chessboard.

And of course you have actual evidence of this, other than just pulling it out of your nether regions, right? 'Cause while I hear this occasionally from the professional complainer contingent, I have yet to see anything that makes me think it’s true.

The way you can tell is that WaterJ2 will immediately come onto the thread and proclaim that noone who arrived just today could know so much. He’s right.

To the best of my knowledge, Silent-Bob was not a sock puppet. He was accused of being one by a few malcontents, but as far as I know is still a member in good standing if he ever decides to return.

Although there was one of the identical-name-with-a-leading space copies with the same name that got banned, but that was one of Oat Willie’s spawn.

Again, I will echo MysterEcks’s request for any evidence that any member here uses different names to post “heresy”.

I’ll do the same, then and ask for a clear example of wishbone & SPOOFE’s version of things.

That’s the one that I find hard to believe occurs often.

Also, I don’t know what exactly you find so threatening in my assessment. Surely it must occur, and it’s just a question of ratios, which can only be speculated upon, never determined for certain by either of us.

SILENT-BOB was never a malcontent, but innocuous as I said. He was the sock of a woman who shall remain nameless, but who admitted on another board that she felt guilty because it was usually assumed to be silent_rob, who was not connected to it.

Since you already said “I know that is the “received” version of what a sock puppet is (the one on Cecil’s column side of this site)[,]” you appear to be trying to obscure the issue.

In other words, you have no idea whether it occurs and no proof it ever does. In other other words, you did indeed pull it from your nether regions.

But thanks for playing.

Sorry, but you seem to be worse at logic than even waterj, who uses that “I’m not convinced” line in so many posts that it should be his signature, to save storage space for the board. It is not the duty of people who post to convince those who might follow, rather it is you who follow who must convince those who came before.

I came with information. You came with doubt. I know you could never have taken forensics, so I will explain to you the cardinal rule: Debates cannot be won by expressing doubt, only by actually participating.

The question before us, the OP, is what is a sock puppet, and why is it bad?

The first description given above, that all socks have a single motive, is only a partial explanation, as can be seen by the other examples I supplied. As to why they are bad, if the first description were complete, then they certainly would not be considered bad at all, but merely a lame, transparent way of arguing.

But they have more motives than that single one. Some of the motives are noble, such as keeping Cecil out the administrative announcement business. Some are lighthearted, such as the Santas and bob. Some are more of a bitchy nature, such as Dead Equine. Some are mischievous, such as the Alphabet group. Some are defiant, such as Mark Serlin’s incarnations. Some are cries for attention, like the Concrete series. Some reflect religious fervor. And some socks are created pre-need, as defense mechanisms, for all categories above. What? you don’t believe that *a single soul who was banned realized, while they were getting that second name, that they might as well get a third at the same time, one to use for non-controversial posts? Well that is certainly your prerogative. Oh, yes, and there’s also additional types which we have seen people suspect, such as the pouter who stalks off the board in a huff because of some chat room remarks, and then is suspected of posting under an alias to defend herself.

Excuse the run-on bolding above. I seem to have lost a closing [ /b ]

Maybe you can explain how I met Silent Bob in person then. I assure you Silent Bob is male. At least he used the men’s bathroom anyway. I suggest the “woman who shall remain nameless” is misleading you.

Now what would be interesting is if ChiefScott met Silent Bob. Kind of like matter and antimatter. Or at least smilies and anti-smilies.

Uh, you registered over a year ago. What, do you think I’m blind? Or did you think you just joined?

Oh, and for the reading comprehension deprived among us, I never said Silent Bob was a malcontent, merely that he was accused of being a sockpuppet by malcontents, e.g. Easy Tokyo.

Also, I never said “I’m not convinced”.

waterj2 said:

But now you just did, which will prove his point. He is indeed a master debator, or something similar-sounding.

Ah, Poirot, I fear the Christie character’s little gray cells didn’t come with the name. See, bunky, we aren’t havinga debate–you made a baseless claim, I demanded proof, and you didn’t have any outside of your little imagination. I can’t debate what’s in your little imagination, any more than I can debate what you think your Invisible Friend told you to have for dinner tonight–it just ain’t possible. I just wanted to make sure it was clear–in case the totally clueless start wandering into this thread–that you have zero, zippo, and ziltch to back your assertion up. And outside of your own yapping, that’s still the case.

So have a nice day.

Oh, and by the way, you are correct about one thing–I never did take forensics. I went to law school instead.

Here’s the deal. THespos had a question. He was interested in information. It looked to me like he was getting about 10% of the available information, and I thought he was entitled to more of it. If he wanted examples, I would happily supply them. I would assume he was after informton. Fighting ignorance. As for you, however, since you have started off with scatalogical references and insults, I don’t care if you then remain in the dark on the details. You talk of malcontents, but you are one of the surliest people on this board. You come in to start fights and throw insults and are basically a sour individual. I really don’t know why you come if you hate everyone so much. I must assume it’s because you fare no better in real life, but IRL people won’t stick around to hear you whine. If I met you at a party, I wouldn’t spend time talking to you just because you demanded it, and I’ve already spent more time on you than I like. You and waterj may feel free to argue among yourselves now, but I’m off to spend time with more pleasant company.

Why, thank you. It’s always nice to receive a compliment now and then.