Friday, November 9, 2007

Check your socks

Sockpuppetry is generally considered a not nice thing on Wikipedia. The encyclopedia defines a sockpuppet as "an additional username used by a Wikipedian who already has one or more accounts." Why everybody can't just edit under their real names is a deepest, darkest mystery to me. Larry Sanger had a good idea when he slapped a real-name policy on Citizendium.

Accusations of sockpuppetry fly every day at WP. The game has grown sillier and more boring than solitaire. The latest example of the nonsense was Greg Maxwell's allegation against a user named Majorly. The accusation just happened to occur in the middle of Majorly's request for adminship. He was trying to get the tools back after voluntarily giving them up a few weeks ago.

Maxwell was last seen consorting with other poobahs to once again allow anonymous accounts to create articles. His sticking of his nose into Majorly's RfA set off alarums and excursions. Majorly eventually withdrew the request even though he seemed sure of approval, and a major stink erupted about Maxwell's busybodiness.

There's this hush-hush thing called "checkuser", designed to ferret out evil and wicked and not-kosher sockpuppetry. Actually, what checkuser is designed to do is keep the peons in line. Favored editors on the encyclopedia can sockpuppet all they want. Anyway, the checkuser results on Majorly seemed to indicate that this sockpuppet allegation was pure crap. But I can't know for sure because my peon self isn't allowed to see the oh-so-secret evidence.

Majorly apparently got screwed, but at least I don't have to worry about this particular inquisition. I've never operated a second username and I'm not about to start. If they want to railroad me out of Wikipedia, they'll have to find some other excuse.

UPDATE: Greg Maxwell is having a tough time all round. His out-of-the-blue decision to once again allow anonymous accounts to create new articles is getting drubbed here. It looks like there will be no consensus to allow anons to write new articles, so Maxwell's proposal won't go into effect. I agree with Maxwell on the issue, but his decision-making process was high-handed and almost certain to backfire.

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