Everything Food & Drink:Sock puppetry

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The default position on Everything Food & Drink is that editors who register an account should edit using one account only. The purpose of this policy is to forbid deceptive or misleading use of multiple accounts and to explain where editors may legitimately use a second (alternative) account. A second account used in violation of this policy is known as a sock puppet.

Alternative accounts should not be used to avoid scrutiny; mislead or deceive other editors; edit project discussions (e.g. policy debates and ANI proceedings); make disruptive edits with one account and normal edits with another; distort consensus; stir up controversy; or circumvent sanctions or policy. These same principles apply to editors who decide to cease editing under one account and restart under another.

  • Do not sock.
  • Do not bias discussions by asking for supporters from other places (meatpuppetry).
  • Do not act as a meat puppet for somebody else.

The misuse of a second account is considered a serious breach of community trust, and is likely to lead to a block or a altogether ban of Everything Food & Drink, the public linking of any other accounts or IPs you have used on Everything Food & Drink and its sister projects, and (potentially) "public record" discussion by other editors of your activities and other information relevant to your editing. Such records could affect what employers, friends, peers, and journalists may see when they look up your Everything Food & Drink username.

Editors who use more than one account are advised to provide links between them on the user pages (see below). They can also redirect the user and user talk pages of that account to their main account. Do not use undisclosed alternative accounts without very good reason. If you must, do so only with care. Note that if you are found to be behaving abusively and action is taken, privacy policy's data release criteria releases other Everything Food & Drink staff from their obligation to protect your anonymity when addressing abuse. It is likely that all of your accounts will be blocked and publicly linked.

Inappropriate uses of alternative accounts

Editors must not use alternative accounts to mislead, deceive, disrupt, or undermine consensus. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Creating an illusion of support: Alternative accounts must not be used to give the impression of more support for a position than actually exists.
  • Editing project space: Undisclosed alternative accounts should not edit policies, guidelines, or their talk pages; comment in Arbitration proceedings; or vote in requests for administrator, deletion debates, or Everything Food & Drink elections.
  • Circumventing policies or sanctions: Policies apply per person, not per account. Using a second account to violate policy will cause any penalties to be applied to your main account, and in the case of sanctions, bans, or blocks, evasion causes the timer to restart.
  • Contributing to the same page with multiple accounts: Editors may not use more than one account to contribute to the same page or discussion in a way to suggest that they are multiple people. Contributions to the same page with clearly linked legitimate alternative accounts is not forbidden (e.g. editing the same page with your main and public computer account or editing a page using your main account that your bot account edited).

  • Avoiding scrutiny: Using alternative accounts that are not fully and openly disclosed to split your editing history means that other editors cannot detect patterns in your contributions. While this is permitted in certain circumstances (see legitimate uses), it is a violation of this policy to create alternative accounts to confuse or deceive editors who may have a legitimate interest in reviewing your contributions.
  • "Good hand" and "bad hand" accounts: Keeping one account "clean" while using another to engage in disruption. (This means using one for constructive contributions and the other one for disruptive editing.)
  • Role accounts: Because an account represents your edits as an individual, "role accounts" accounts shared by multiple people are as a rule forbidden and blocked. If you edit for an organization please see Username policy. The sole exceptions are non-editing accounts providing email access to major internal mailing lists and accounts approved by the Staff, and approved bots with multiple managers. See Username policy.
  • Deceptively seeking positions of community trust. You may not run for positions of community trust without disclosing the fact that you have previously edited under another account. When applying for requests for administrator, it is expected that you will disclose past accounts openly, or to the Staff if the accounts must be kept private.
  • Administrators with multiple accounts: Editors may not have more than one administrator account (excluding bots with administrator privileges). If an administrator leaves, comes back under a new name and is nominated for adminship, he or she must give up the admin access of their old account. Staff may operate more than one admin account, though they must make known who they are. RFA candidates should normally disclose all past significant accounts. Adminship reflects the community's trust in an individual, not just in an account. Administrators who fail to disclose their past accounts risk being desysopped, particularly if knowledge of the past accounts would have influenced the outcome of past discussions about their adminship.
  • Posing as a neutral commentator: Using an alternative account in a discussion about another account operated by the same person.
  • Voting more than once in polls.
  • Misusing new pages patrol: Creating an article with one account, then marking it as patrolled with another.
  • Strawman socks: Creating a separate account to argue one side of an issue in a deliberately irrational or offensive fashion, to sway opinion to another side.
  • Misusing a clean start: Repeatedly switching accounts is seen as a way of avoiding scrutiny and is considered a breach of this policy.

Note that editing under multiple IP addresses, without registering, can be treated the same as editing under multiple accounts where it is done deceptively or otherwise violates the above principles. Registered users who edit without logging in are treated the same as if the IP was an alternative account. (Where editors log out by mistake, they may wish to contact an administrator or an editor with oversight access in order to ensure that there is not a misunderstanding.)

Legitimate uses

Alternative accounts have legitimate uses. For example, long-term contributors using their real names may wish to use a pseudonymous account for contributions they do not want their real name to be associated with, or longterm users might create a new account to experience how the community functions for new users. If you use an alternative account, it is your responsibility to ensure that you do not violate this policy.

  • Security: Since public computers can have password-stealing trojans or keyloggers installed, users may register an alternative account to prevent the hijacking of their main accounts. Such accounts should be publicly connected to the main account or use an easily identified name. For example, User:Example might use User:Example (alt) and redirect that account's user and talk pages to their main account.
  • Privacy: A person editing an article which is highly controversial within his/her family, social or professional circle, and whose Everything Food & Drink identity is known within that circle, or traceable to their real-world identity, may wish to use an alternative account to avoid real-world consequences from their editing or other Everything Food & Drink actions in that area.
  • Maintenance: An editor might use an alternative account to carry out maintenance tasks. The second account should be clearly linked to the main account.
  • Bots: A common special case of maintenance involves bots, or programs that edit automatically or semi-automatically. Editors who use bots are encouraged to create separate accounts, and ask that they be marked as bot accounts via Everything Food & Drink:Bots, so that the automated edits can be filtered out of recent changes.
  • Doppelgänger accounts: A doppelgänger account is a second account created with a username similar to one's main account to prevent impersonation. Such accounts should not be used for editing. Doppelgänger accounts may be marked as a Doppelgänger account (or simply redirected to the main account's userpage).
  • Compromised accounts: If you have lost the password to an existing Everything Food & Drink account, or you know or fear that someone else has obtained or guessed the password, you may well want to create a new account with a clean password. In such a case, you should post a note on the user page of each account indicating that they are alternative accounts for the same person, and you may well wish to ask an admin to block the old compromised account. You may want to consider using a committed identity in advance to help deal with this rare situation should it arise later.
  • Clean start under a new name: If you decide to make a fresh start and do not wish to be connected to a previous account, you can simply discontinue the old account(s) and create a new one that becomes the only account you use. Discontinuing the old account means it will not be used again; it should note on its user page that it is inactive—for example, with the a retired statement tag—to prevent the switch being seen as an attempt to sock puppet. A clean start is permitted only if there are no active bans, blocks or sanctions in place against your old account.
You are not obliged to reveal previous accounts; however, it is strongly recommended that you inform the Administrator or Checkuser (in strictest confidence if you wish) of the existence of a previous account or accounts prior to seeking out adminship or similar functionary positions. Failure to do so may be considered deceptive, and as such be poorly received by the Everything Food & Drink community.