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Successful Sockpuppetry: A Practical Guide
Successful Sockpuppetry: A Practical Guide
The Apple Dopplin' Gang
Published by The Apple Dopplin' Gang
Default Introduction

I was moved to write this article after observing a great deal of sloppy use of alternate accounts. I donít mean to point fingers at anyone, but it seems like a basic principle is commonly overlooked. Namely, that if youíre going to go to the trouble to create an extra mouthpiece, it makes sense to pay some attention to its care and feeding. Otherwise, the effort of the additional logging in and out of a site is altogether wasted, or worse, becomes a means of embarrassing oneself. I also thought this was a particularly good place for this guide, since neither overt nor covert sockpuppetry is prohibited here.

Scope and Goals

First, Iíll outline what this article will not attempt to accomplish. I personally have no interest in violating a message boardís terms of service. Therefore, I will not spend much time on artificial aids to sockpuppetry, such as IP randomizers, proxies, and the like. However, in case you do wish to avail yourself of such tools, Iíll mention a couple of common-sense principles on when to use which tool, but not so much as a guide to subverting a websiteís goals, but rather just in the spirit of, ďFor Heavenís sake, do be bright about it.Ē Personally, I prefer to be up front with a siteís administrators. I tell them who I am, what Iím doing, and why. I ask them whether they object, and request that they not give the game away. If they donít like it, I go elsewhere. This practice virtually eliminates the risk of being exposed to the membership at large.

There are various reasons to use sock-puppets, which Iíll attempt to detail here.
  • Getting around a banning. As I mentioned, Iím not particularly interested in helping you with this, but here are a few pointers for those who insist. First, decide what youíre going to accomplish with the new account. If you just want to get one last dig in, and youíre ďhard-bannedĒ (i.e., you are not allowed to register an account from your IP address), then an IP randomizer is the way to go. I personally favor Hide IP Platinum, although I use it for reasons other than circumventing a banning (such as visiting untrustworthy sites that might be fronts for crackers). If youíre in the US, this program has the benefit of using US servers, while pointing to IPs all over the globe. However, if you want a longer-term alter ego, a random IP looks awfully suspicious. A proxy that points toward a single or finite subset of IPs is more advisable in this case. If you think you can keep your new account for the long haul, it would be best to avoid the specific thread or discussion that resulted in your banning in the first place. If you donít have the self-control for that, at least have the presence of mind not to leap back in and immediately pick up the exact same point of argument you left off with. In any event, if you donít at least use a separate e-mail to register your new mouthpiece (some sites make this impossible anyway, but not all), youíre too stupid to succeed at the most elementary techniques of sockpuppetry, so you might as well stop reading this and go enjoy the Arcade. I would suggest Maeda Path, or perhaps Karts. :wink:
  • Backing yourself up in an argument. Another goal Iím not particularly fond of, this is generally employed by insecure users who feel unfairly ganged up on. Sure, you can create your own invisible army of the undead this way, but if you create all of the soldiers at roughly the same time, it will be so transparent that youíll just end up tipping your hand, and demonstrating your inability to handle a debate. So, if you think you need such an army, conscript them at staggered intervals, keep them in reserve, and do your best to give each a consistent voice, as I will discuss later. If the siteís Terms of Service prohibit multiple accounts, you probably should disregard my previous advice and use an IP randomizer for this. Even if the site (like this one) doesnít prohibit multiple accounts, any suspicious administrator or moderator can look up your IP with extreme ease, and might ďoutĒ you just for being an annoying drip.
  • Playing ďGuess Who?Ē This is self-explanatory. The main reason I donít go in for this, usually, is that the game tends to be short-lived, and when itís done, the alternate account is usually consigned to the trash heap.
  • Performing for the audience. This, finally, is the goal of sockpuppetry that I support and encourage. Itís what informs the Sock Puppeteerís Code.


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