Monday, June 8, 2009

Sockpuppetry: the most worn out weapon in the arsenal of the brutal wikiwarrior

Accusing other Wikipedia users of sockpuppetry has become such a cliche that its effectiveness as a weapon should be greatly diminished by now. But some brutal wikiwarriors are still using it. Just as McCarthy saw communists at every turn, brutal warriors see sockpuppets everywhere. The irony is obviously that they have many sockpuppets themselves. To evade being caught with sockpuppets, some brutal warriors maintain computers in houses all over the country or even all over the world, and remotely control them. Do you have any idea how easy it is to set up a computer program to operate a Web browser from far away? Thus the Wikipedia server logs the IP address of the computer being remotely controlled, and not the IP address where the brutal warrior is actually making the edits from. Furthermore, the warrior can arrange it so that he makes edits from his own account at the same time as some of his sockpuppets. The only difficulty then is getting the house and setting up the computer for remote control.

But of course they must realize that going to all that trouble is somewhat pointless because any brutal warrior with administrator privileges can falsify Wikipedia's server logs. When "Recent changes" shows a "database lag" due to maintenance, you can bet that log falsification is going on in order to support sockpuppetry claims. Depending on how often you edit Wikipedia, it might be enough to falsify your IP address. But if you edit a lot more often than that, they might have to falsify your edit times so that you don't overlap with whoever they're trying to peg you as a sockpuppet of. Because I barely edited Wikipedia and didn't have a username, this is not something I can talk about from personal experience. But it's happened to so many people: they log in to Wikipedia and find themselves blocked because someone decided to hang a sockpuppet jacket on them. And why was that jacket hung on them? Because they dared to disagree with a brutal warrior.

Being labelled a sockpuppet when you're not must be unpleasant. It's not something I've experienced firsthand, but if you read those serious-sounding "sockpuppet investigations," you'll see the sort of discourtesy people so labelled experience. A brutal warrior hangs a sockpuppet jacket on you and suddenly you become subhuman in the eyes of everyone in the "community." They snicker and refer to you as "it." After being treated like that, would you ever want to edit Wikipedia again? I know I wouldn't, I left for a lot less, and so do some of the other "missing Wikipedians."

Eventually there won't be any real persons editing Wikipedia except the brutal warriors. Every other account will be a sockpuppet of one or more warriors. Not all warriors will agree with each other, and their sockpuppets will do battle like so many robotized foot soldiers. If you thought wikibattles are intense now, you haven't seen nothing yet!

No comments:

Post a Comment