In general, SmashWiki expects that each user have exactly one account. If a user has one or more alternate accounts - known as sockpuppets - then said alternate accounts should generally be given infinite blocks or simply merged into the main account. That said, there are some valid uses for sockpuppets, which are outlined below.
Unacceptable uses of sockpuppets
These sockpuppet usages are the primary reasons why having multiple accounts is banned in general.
- Evading a block on one's primary account. This is by far the most common purpose of sockpuppeting, and often results in an infinite block for the puppet and a block extension for the primary account.
- Evading edit-counting policies such as Only revert once or Probation.
- Voting for something multiple times, such as a new policy proposal or a discussion about a piece of article content. This extends to discussions of any kind; whether one user has multiple accounts with the same opinion or with different opinions, it makes it harder to accurately judge community sentiment.
- Acting as a "foil" with the intention of making the primary account look better. For example, a user creates a sock and vandalizes an article. Later, the same user's main account reverts it and supplies a talk page warning. Repeated multiple times, this can inflate the perception of the user's main account and act as artificial clout in requests for rollback and the like.
Legitimate uses of sockpuppets
There are legitimate reasons for a user to have multiple accounts. In all cases, it should be made obvious on the users' pages and/or talk pages that the accounts are related.
- Operating a bot. Note that this is subject to its own rules.
- Forgotten password on original account. Generally, Special:PasswordReset is far more recommended, but if it is somehow not possible to have the new password e-mailed to you then this is a valid option. Note that this is a case where account merging may be applied.
- Once a user has an account, it is expected they use that account instead of editing logged-out. Intentionally editing while logged out may count as using a sockpuppet. If a user makes any post to any talk page while accidentally logged out (or at a time they couldn't log into their account for whatever reason), it is expected of them to clarify that the post was made by them, whether during making the post or after posting.
In many cases, sockpuppets are not too difficult to spot. The main way to detect a sockpuppet is simply noticing that two users are suspiciously alike. Maybe their usernames follow the same pattern, or they always post one after the other agreeing with each other, or they tend to edit the same articles. Wikipedia refers to this as duck testing.
In incredibly obvious cases of sockpuppetry where the user is not attempting to conceal the link - the usernames are palindromes or anagrams, the behaviour is identical, or one outright admits it is a sock - then the term "meatpuppet" is typically used instead of "sockpuppet".
Once a suspicion has been formed, users should report the possible sockpuppet and master on the administrators' noticeboard. An admin can then use the CheckUser function to investigate the accounts' IP addresses, which is generally taken as the final word as to whether the accounts are related.