|This page documents a MediaWiki.org policy, usually crafted over time by community consensus.|
In general, editors to any Wikimedia Foundation wiki, including this one, should each use only one account. Doing so helps maintain accountability and consistency. While there are some legitimate uses of alternate accounts, the use of such accounts or IP addresses to cause disruption or deceive a wiki's community is called sock puppetry and prohibited on most Wikimedia Foundation wikis, including MediaWiki.org.
Sock puppetry includes, but is not limited to:
- Editing while logged out to avoid detection. Note however that some editors on this wiki routinely forget to login.
- Creating more than one account, logging out, or using different IP addresses to evade a block.
- Using one account for good edits and another for disruption (known as "good-hand" and "bad-hand" accounts)
- Using another editor's account. Only one person per account.
CheckUser, an extension installed on this wiki (Extension:CheckUser) can be used to investigate IP address data, almost always for sock puppetry detection.
Accounts used for sock puppetry, which are called sock puppets, may be blocked indefinitely on sight, as soon as it is clearly obvious that the account in question is a sock puppet. IP addresses may also be blocked, but usually for only as long as the IP address is likely to be assigned to that particular user (unless the IP address is an open proxy).
On this particular wiki, the most common case of sockpuppetry is that engaged in by spambots. If you have to deal with spam sock puppetry on your own wiki, see Manual:Combating spam.
Acceptable uses of multiple accounts
The following is a non-exhaustive list of possible legitimate uses of alternate accounts, which are not considered sock puppetry. All such accounts should be declared by their operators.
- An approved bot or other account used to make legitimate (semi-)automatic edits at a fast rate, such as with tools like AutoWikiBrowser.
- Secondary accounts to edit from insecure locations like internet cafés
- Wikimedia Foundation staff may operate official staff accounts and non-official accounts for normal editing.