How to: Create a SockPuppet!

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Perhaps this is easy, maybe not so much. If done right a sockpuppet can survive for 500 or even a thousand edits without being detected. Some masters of the craft have managed to go years without detection.

So you want to sock and not get caught? Well, it’s not exactly easy, but there are definitely some things that can make it easier. The following are some tips for socking well.

The key thing to decide is how many accounts you want to have at once. Evading a block with a single sockpuppet account is vastly easier than operating several accounts at once.

It goes without saying that you should avoid creating an account matching a known LTA pattern. Usernames containing any variation of “wheels”, “wiki” or “cruiser” could be a problem.

New users are clueless

This is a very important fact to remember when setting up a new account. When you start off, don’t immediately start editing templates, chatting on the administrators noticeboard, and helping other users. Instead do things like promoting something, making minor mistakes, and pretending you don’t know any policies. the caveat is not to be too stupid that you get blocked or added to the COI watchlist.

Important things not to do in the first week:

  1. Post on any Wikipedia: namespace noticeboard.
  2. Post on the talk page of any other user.
  3. Create your own userpage.
  4. Use the “thank” function.
  5. Install twinkle or hotcat.
  6. Edit a page previously edited by a sock.
  7. Voting in any RFC or RFA.

It is normally a very good idea not to say you edited anonymously before creating an account. This is a stupidly common excuse and is more likely to draw suspicion than not.

Checkuser is borderline useless

But only if you have covered yourself correctly. The checkuser extension gives the operator access to:

  • Your accounts IP address history.
  • Your XFF header information history.
  • Your user agent headers.

Every time you login or edit Wikipedia, this data is collected. It is normally held for 3 months, but most checkuser operatives hold copies of previous checks indefinitely and will compare them to new checks.

The cookies will kill you

Wikipedia secretly (unless you read the privacy policy where it is explained) embeds cookies into your browser, when you logout your browser keeps an identifier linked to your username. When you log back in with a different username, this is logged by the system and is obviously potentially readable by the relevant functionaires.

These cookies are used to autoblock IP addresses. For example you are editing as User:WheelsAreAwesome and some administrator blocks you for no reason, you logout and change IP, only the cookie will automatically have your new IP address blocked.

Don’t give them a reason to look

If there is no reason for checkusers to check an account, they won’t. It is that simple.

3 comments

  1. There is only one thing the Wikipedians really use to convict a sock puppet – behaviour. If you can change how you come across, how you phrase things, how you interact with people, how you interact with Wikipedia, even now you spell of use grammar, then you will never be caught. For the fun of it, use two devices on the same network, and see if you can convince them the reason your IP is the same is because you have the same ISP. They are so dependent on behavioural cues, you can probably get away with it. Everywhere you look these days, you see CheckUsers admitting they rely mostly on behaviour.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Serious sock-puppetteers may wish to invest in a few cheap notebooks or tablets, download a variety of browsers, and get themselves an unlocked MiFi.

    Liked by 1 person

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