Admin desysopped

Sockpuppeting administrator desysopped, banned

After a lengthy investigation, it was officially determined this week that Runcorn, an administrator, was among many accounts used as sockpuppets by the same user. As a result, the account was desysopped and the puppetmaster and all sockpuppet accounts were banned.

The case is related to a December 2005 case that involved RachelBrown and a variety of sock puppets, some of whom were later unblocked and continued editing. After a suspected sock puppet request on many of the accounts, a CheckUser was performed, confirming that many of the accounts involved were related.

In a post to the administrators' noticeboard, checkuser and former arbitrator Dmcdevit said,

After an investigation involving several CheckUsers, myself included, it has been determined based on new, firmer technical evidence, as well as the editing patterns, including similar article interests, reverting to each other, and double voting, that Newport, Poetlister, R613vlu, Brownlee, Londoneye, and Taxwoman, all previous sockpuppetry suspects from 2005, are all the same user, and, further, that the operator of these accounts is also the operator of newer accounts including Simul8, Osidge, Holdenhurst, and the admin account Runcorn. On the recommendation of the Arbitration Committee, Runcorn has been desysopped by a steward, and all of the accounts have been blocked indefinitely.

According to Dmcdevit, the question of whether Runcorn may have been a sockmaster was raised privately on the Arbitration Committee's mailing list but evidence was at that time inconclusive. Dmcdevit, who was not involved in that conversation, looked at the report on Newport and began to find more and more sockpuppets. Said Dmcdevit, "I first connected Simul8 with an IP used for double-voting, and then it kept getting deeper and deeper, so I decided to contact ArbCom privately before taking any further action."

Much of the suspicion regarding the accounts revolved around the accounts' similar interests, editing habits, and comments. At least three of the accounts created articles on British scientists and professors in an unusual fashion; the articles read like résumés and are all excerpted from Who's Who (often credited in the articles as "Who was Who").

The effects of Runcorn's sockpuppeting are still being evaluated. Many of the sockpuppets voted together in deletion debates and requests for adminship. One notable request, Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Jreferee, ended with 69% support, out of the usual bureaucrat's discretionary range, but without six oppose votes by Runcorn and sockpuppets, the request would have ended with 75% support and may have resulted in Jreferee's promotion.

The case is at least the sixth sockpuppeting case involving an administrator. In each case, the user in question was desysopped:

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