From Social Patterns
Sock-puppets are fake users whose identity is fabricated by another user for the sole purpose of deception in an online space. These fabricated identities, or sock-puppets, are often created for the purpose of talking up or praising a product, another person or to support a cause, usually in support of the sock-puppet creator. A NY Times article claims that "sock-puppeting" is defined as "the act of creating a fake online identity to praise, defend or create the illusion of support for one's self, allies or company."
Sock-puppets, if found out, can be dealt with through community blacklisting or community moderation by the site owners.
As defined by wikipedia:
"A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception within an online community. In its earliest usage, a sockpuppet was a false identity through which a member of an Internet community speaks with or about oneself, pretending to be a different person , like a ventriloquist manipulating a hand puppet.
In current usage, the perception of the term has been extended beyond second identities of people who already post in a forum to include other uses of misleading online identities. For example, a NY Times article claims that "sock-puppeting" is defined as "the act of creating a fake online identity to praise, defend or create the illusion of support for one’s self, allies or company."
The key difference between a sockpuppet and a regular pseudonym (sometimes termed an "alt" which is short for alternate, as in alternate identity) is the pretense that the puppet is a third party who is not affiliated with the puppeteer."
- "definition of sockpuppet". WordSpy.com. http://www.wordspy.com/words/sockpuppet.asp.
- Stone, Brad (2007-07-16). "The Hand That Controls the Sock Puppet Could Get Slapped", The New York Times. Retrieved on 16 July 2007. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/16/technology/16blog.html?ex=1342238400&en=9a3424961f9d2163&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss