I've been in four minds about this question, whether to flag it as off-topic, downvote it, critique it, or ignore it. I haven't yet decided.

On the one hand:

  • This question pretty much boils down to How do I create and run sock-puppets on the World Wide Web that no-one can detect?.
  • It's hard to see how this falls within the scope of a site for "computer enthusiasts and power users". We regularly declare to be out of scope questions that ask how to perform other questionable activities.
  • Whilst they theoretically exist, in my own non-trivial experience with sockpuppetteers on WWW sites I've yet to see a beneficent sockpuppet in the particular form that the questioner asks about. (Note that the questioner asks about creating fake identities neither of which is the questioner. This question is not about the various other scenarios that are sometimes brought up where the identities are all still notionally onesself, such as separating work activity from non-work activity, say.)
  • This question asks how to perform actions which would, if performed, violate SuperUser's own terms of service.

On the other hand:

  • Despite the "disclaimer" practically shouting that the questioner regards this activity as wrong (otherwise xe wouldn't feel the need for the disclaimer in the first place) learning from asking questions is not an inherently bad thing. There's a whole moral argument here that you've probably heard and that I won't waste time repeating for the umpteenth time. And the question is not the action.

On the gripping hand:

  • A question aimed in the reverse direction — How do I detect people sockpuppetteering on my WWW site? — is perhaps more palatable. Although the question of scope remains to an extent. It still may not be something for "computer enthusiasts and power users".

Needless to say, my experience dictates that I am not going to answer this question.

Your thoughts?


This is the phrase that highlights why the question is too broad:

Would this be enough? What would be the most full-fledged way of going about this?

You can remove that, but you'll still be left with coming up with many ways to set up these false identities, the hoops to jump, trying to second guess whatever detection the other end has, etc.

Super User is not here to help users craft another Catfish.


It's off-topic.

It's an interesting question, but it's off-topic, and too broad.

I wrote up an answer here that's mostly a justification of why it's too broad, but I was hoping to post an answer to the question before it got closed.

The crux of it is that information hiding, clandestine activity, pseudonymous navigation of the web, etc. are all "cat and mouse" games.

For any measure that you take to safeguard or conceal your identity (which is effectively the same difficulty and same strategies employed as having two false identities, so I'll treat the two the same), there is an effective countermeasure. Similarly, for every countermeasure, there is an effective counter-countermeasure that you can take to defeat that countermeasure. This goes on up to infinity, depending on the resources you and your adversary are willing to invest. There is literally no end to this identity-finding and identity-concealing arms race.

Therefore, the question

Would this be enough?

...is eternally unanswerable.

Or perhaps, to take the tinfoil hat user's perspective, the answer is too simple to be worth posting:



My reading of the question doesn't cause my mind to leap to sock puppetry at all. I see the question as a first step towards anonymity and privacy enhancement. Of course, I'm a privacy weenie, so I'm biased. The answer referenced in comments (by allquixotic) seems a bit vague, but given the question itself, not bad. Far from the worst answer I've ever seen.

I don't see anything inherently wrong with establishing and maintaining multiple identities with differing public personas. It seems like a lot of work, and there are some cultural biases against people who do this, but then various communities have biases against each other, so if you want to belong to more than one of these you have to pick and choose which offensive thing you're going to risk (or let cultural and community biases limit your participation, see "chilling effect").

I'll grant that there will be people who want to do things like the above for the purpose of trolling or harassing others. We are working on that issue everywhere, so this isn't new.

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