Sock puppetry is the act of using multiple accounts in a manner contrary to accepted practices of the community. Generally users are requested to only use one account, though there are circumstances that may have users to have additional accounts. Where a user has multiple accounts it is an expectation that they publicly disclose those accounts, usually on each of the relevant user pages providing links to each other.
The major complaints about sock puppetry are where undisclosed accounts are used:
- to circumvent the principle of "One person, one vote" in community discussions (talk pages, votes, etc.)
- to circumvent community account blocks.
Communities may have a variety of specific rules to address the circumstances of multiple accounts — acceptable or unacceptable use. Though there is a general acceptance through the Wikimedia community that the principle of "one person, one vote" is a circumstance that should be a base for community participation.
Generally the issue of sockpuppetry is a local issue to be managed by each community, there are occasions, however, when the matter will be dealt with universally within the Wikimedia communities. This is usually in the more severe cases and depending on the circumstances and the severity it can involve the use of community global block and/or global lock.
Inappropriate uses of alternative accounts
- Vandalism, or other anti-social activities, with multiple accounts.
- Creating an illusion of support: Alternative accounts must not be used to give the impression of more support for a position than actually exists.