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Sock Puppet Alert?

This is probably the sort of thing that I should discuss privately, with my colleagues, but it's just too darned interesting to keep to myself.

Every now and then, I'll note that a commenter -- almost always a critic -- seems a bit "familiar." So I do a little peeking around, and see if they've been using different names to do a little creative number inflation.

Recently, both "Dane" and "warchild" tipped my radar. It turns out that their IPs have been used for a few different names. The tones of the comments were also very similar, so I suspect both had been changing names -- but neither, apparently, had been banned before. So I didn't take any official action.

But I happened to have both windows open at the same time, and something odd jumped out at me. Here's a breakdown of the names used, and the timespans involved.


jmc: April 2009-July 2009
rightsaidfred/right said fred: February 2010-June 2010
rightiswrong: July 2010
warisgreat/WIG: August 2010
wingnut: August 2010
warchild: September 2010


jmc: May 2009-June 2009
Russ: July 2010-August 2010
Frankly B: August 2010
Dane: August 2010-present

The details make it even more intriguing. "warchild" was "jmc" for April 2009. "Dane" took over the name for May and June. Two days after "Dane" gave it up, "warchild" took it back and used it through July.

And I honestly can't tell the difference in style.

This sort of thing is technically against Wizbang's Terms Of Service, and certainly grounds for banning both their IPs. But I tend to be easier on this sort of thing; I prefer to simply expose the miscreants and try to embarrass them into knocking it off.

On the other hand, impersonating another person or flagrant true sock-puppetry -- using different identities to seem like one has more support than one has, or constantly changing identities to make one seem like many -- tends to get Olaf The Troll God's Hammer a good workout.

This case, though... it puzzles me. This appears to be a case of two commenters who every now and then change their names, but not their styles or personalities. Not that unusual.

But there's that whole "jmc" thing. It's almost like they passed the name back and forth -- there was no overlap in their usage.

My Net-Fu is weak. I can't figure this out. But until I (or, more likely, someone else here at Wizbang) gets a handle on things, I'm telling "Dane" and "warchild" to stop assing around and stick to a single name. What's funny as hell over at Ace's spot isn't quite so amusing here.


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Comments (30)

You really don't expect hon... (Below threshold)

You really don't expect honesty from these people, do you? Hell, they'd astroturf the site on a daily basis if they could get away with it.

Heh. Thanks Jay, you've ju... (Below threshold)
I Was Never Here:

Heh. Thanks Jay, you've just given me a pretext. Don't know what I'm gonna do with it just yet ... but it's gonna be crunchy-good.

Who said that? Who? Who was... (Below threshold)

Who said that? Who? Who was that masked person?

Bueller? Bueller?


They are all sharing a comp... (Below threshold)

They are all sharing a computer in grandmas basement. They must be in school right now.

Out of curiosity, Jay, are ... (Below threshold)

Out of curiosity, Jay, are the IPs located in the same city? Say, Seattle?

Looks like we drink coffee ... (Below threshold)

Looks like we drink coffee at the same Starbuck's from time to time - or something equally simple.

Don't break your head over this - we are two different people.

Oh, and I'm only using this... (Below threshold)

Oh, and I'm only using this name. Not posting under other names. Can't vouch for the other person.

Dane, don't get all disinge... (Below threshold)

Dane, don't get all disingenuous on us. I tracked two distinct IPs, from very different netblocks (no, I'm not going to publish them) and the patterns were clear. Always detracting, always similar in tone, and always changing names.

If you and "warchild" hadn't both used the same TLA, at almost the same time, I might not have said anything.

As I said, I don't know what game is being played. I don't know if you're one person, two, or several. I don't even know your geographical location(s).

But I don't have to be a master chef to know when a dish smells rotten. And you, my friend... you reek.


Just a wild coincidence, th... (Below threshold)

Just a wild coincidence, then, Dane? Just some quirk that all three of these comments were all generated from the same IP?

Russ, 8/2/2010

Frankly B, 8/5/2010

Dane, 8/11/2010

Now, since that last one, only "Dane" has used that IP. But it has a rather... storied history.


No reason to use a ... (Below threshold)

No reason to use a sock when posting, if your argument cant stand on it's merits then get a better argument.

A liberal being deceitful a... (Below threshold)

A liberal being deceitful and dishonest? Tell me can't happen. (sarcasm off) Actually, they are doing exactly what I expect liberals to do. Be a total phony and hypocrite without the guts to stand up and be honest. ww

Interesting, Jay. But I'm s... (Below threshold)

Interesting, Jay. But I'm sure it's not the first time you've seen something like that and I'm sure it's not the last time either.

Meanwhile, me and warchld are two different people who - it appears, frequent the same network pop from time to time.

Like I said, the fact that many others do as well proves that isn't uncommon. I really have no reason to change my name from Dane to warchild or anything else.

They probably are 'guests' ... (Below threshold)

They probably are 'guests' of the same mental hospital.

They're..... (Below threshold)


Same rhetoric style, same p... (Below threshold)

Same rhetoric style, same patterns, same IP, but two different persons!

What are the odds! Maybe it's a comittee! LOL...

I am only one person and so... (Below threshold)

I am only one person and so am I.

Careful guys Dane will brea... (Below threshold)

Careful guys Dane will break out his killer debating skills and call you all racists poopy heads or something, I hate to see that happen to you.

It's a bird! It's a plane!... (Below threshold)

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's AstroDane!

Oops, Dane, looks like you ... (Below threshold)

Oops, Dane, looks like you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar. And no, no one believes your cries of innocence.

"And no, no one believes yo... (Below threshold)

"And no, no one believes your cries of innocence."

Well first you'd have to have SOME credibility.

"LOOK! Up in the sky!"</... (Below threshold)
Dane or Not Dane:

"LOOK! Up in the sky!"

(changes into alter ego)

"I agree with me - ER - him!"

Same Starbucks? Same airpor... (Below threshold)

Same Starbucks? Same airport? Same city using the same Wi-Max? There's lot so reasons why this could be. Reasons that apparently are just too stumb-bumbling for some of these commenters to figure out.

But warchild and I are two different people. Well, I'm one person and warchild is one or more persons.

Amazing that this topic deserved a full post on this blog - and has attracted all of these concern trolls wringing their hands -- hmmm. WOW, you guys don't have a life.

Dane, I think you protest T... (Below threshold)

Dane, I think you protest TOO much.

Same Starbucks? Same air... (Below threshold)

Same Starbucks? Same airport? Same city using the same Wi-Max? There's lot so reasons why this could be.

Right. And the odds that two of Wizbang's nastiest trolls just happen to be using the same Starbucks, or airport, or Wi-Max?

Not good.

Save it, Dane. You got caught. Switch screen names and try again, as you trolls so often do.

But warchild and I... (Below threshold)
But warchild and I are two different people. Well, I'm one person and warchild is one or more persons.

So what about Russ and Frankly B? All three of the samples listed by Jay Tea start the comment the same way, quoting someone and highlighting the quote with italics. Interesting coincidence in style coming from three different people presenting a similar point of view and coincidentally just happen to have the same IP address.

"All three of the sample... (Below threshold)

"All three of the samples listed by Jay Tea start the comment the same way, quoting someone and highlighting the quote with italics."

Well, I tend to do that too... and I'll freely admit I use more than one IP. (There's home, and work... and there's work... and sometimes work... and occasionally work... and sometimes work but not often....)

I'm trying to cut back, darn it, but they're just too tasty.

Only one screen name though...

All three of the samples... (Below threshold)

All three of the samples listed by Jay Tea start the comment the same way, quoting someone and highlighting the quote with italics.

Eric, in Dane's defense, I pretty much alternate between using blockquotes and italics when I'm quoting someone -- no real rhyme or reason. Often, if I'm lazy, it'll be italics because I'm typing.

See above.

But the "tone" of the comments are all quite similar. Dane doesn't have a uniquely different voice that immediately identifies him (such as, say, the late and unlamented "spurwing plover," whose alleged style actually made me feel brain cells dying), but there is a passing resemblance.

As I said, there's nothing conclusive here. But damn, it's certainly questionable.


whois.net... (Below threshold)


JLawson and Jay Tea (Hmm bo... (Below threshold)

JLawson and Jay Tea (Hmm both start with J, coincidence?) I agree that the use of quoting by italics is on it's own inconclusive. But I was making the point that when you combine that with point of view, other style points AND the same IP address, that is quite the coincidence.

This has me so confused. I'... (Below threshold)

This has me so confused. I'm standing here besides myself.






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