Wikipedia:Signs of sockpuppetry
Use of multiple accounts on Wikipedia is sometimes permitted and sometimes prohibited, depending on the circumstances and the reasons for the additional accounts. Anyone who uses multiple accounts in good faith is not violating any policies and shall face no action; no attempts shall be made to determine if such accounts are linked. But the use of additional accounts for some disruptive or otherwise deceptive purpose is a violation of Wikipedia's sockpuppetry policy.
This is an essay.
It contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. This page is not an encyclopedia article, nor is it one of Wikipedia's policies or guidelines, as it has not been thoroughly vetted by the community. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.
|This page in a nutshell: There are many possible signs of sockpuppetry or other multiple account usage. But none of them are absolute proof sockpuppetry is occurring.|
One method that is used is a checkuser inquiry. This may determine if multiple accounts are editing from the same IP address. But it is possible that two or more individuals may be sharing the same computer or connection, either as family members or roommates living in the same household, co-workers editing from one or more computers in the same office, visitation of a relative or friend (sometimes on a regular basis), students using a school computer, strangers using the same hotspot (such as a cafe or public library), or one who is piggybacking off a neighbor's connection.
With or without a checkuser inquiry, there are other possible signs that two or more accounts could be operated by the same person. Still, determining if a person is using multiple accounts deceptively is not always possible, as the existing signs are not always perfectly clear, and it is impossible to look through the wires to determine if the same individual is operating all the accounts in question. In some cases, an actual admission of sockpuppetry can be the only definitive proof. Given that good faith must be assumed, unless it is obvious beyond a reasonable doubt that sockpuppetry is occurring, or the checkuser data shows a connection, no action shall be taken against the accounts in question for sockpuppetry, though other policy violations that occur shall be handled accordingly.