There Are Two Types of Sockpuppetry?
Charles Seife may come off as a stick-in-the-mud, but his new book Virtual Unreality is chock full of examples of the "trickery, fakery, and cyber skullduggery" that exists on the internet; for instance, the art of sockpuppetry . . . type 1 sock puppets are created so that a person gets more attention or authority or notoriety for an opinion -- if you're an American student in Edinburgh and you want to blog about the Middle East, it's much better to do it as a "gay girl in Damascus" . . . and it's popular to create a type 1 sock puppet and then have this puppet come down with a fatal malady, so that you garner loads of attention and sympathy as you "die" on-line . . . type 2 sockpuppetry is even more sad and nefarious: you create on-line personas to agree with your real online presence . . . to bolster reviews and denigrate your competitors, to laud your writing and opinions, and to provide reinforcements for on-line feuds; it's always embarrassing when you get caught doing this, as Scott Adams found out several years ago (and because of the permanence and persistence of information on the net, real or false, though Adams made this error in 2011, it's easy enough to resuscitate the story years later . . . so be wary out there).