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Sock Puppetry

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EC2
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Sock Puppetry

Post by EC2 » Mon September 3rd, 2012, 8:50 am

The topic of sock puppetry is hot in the UK at the moment. Twitter is awash with it. I rather liked this blog's clear take on the matter. I know of at least 2 of these beasties in the historical fiction community and it wouldn't surprise me if there were more.
http://awfullybigblogadventure.blogspot ... urray.html
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Mythica
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Post by Mythica » Mon September 3rd, 2012, 9:26 am

This has been going on for years and the public is only just now taking notice? It's all over Goodreads discussion boards too. I'm going to have to adjust to the term sock puppet - I've been calling them shills for years. Good article though.

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Mon September 3rd, 2012, 9:48 am

Yes, it has been going on for a long time (I could name you several in HF alone. Two, when rumbled, blamed hackers :rolleyes :) but perhaps it's A) been escalating as more and more e-books are self published and B) It seems to be the thing with many issues. They bubble away underneath for ages and then suddenly come to the surface - zeitgist? (sp).
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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parthianbow
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Post by parthianbow » Mon September 3rd, 2012, 10:33 am

I'm glad to see that it's all been made (more) public, because at least lots of unknowing readers might be more aware of it. On places like HFO and other fora, people have been aware of it for a while, but most ordinary readers haven't - at least that's been my impression.

I too have been aware of it here in the UK. In fact, in 2010 I took the scalp of a very well known HF author here, after doing an immense amount of research on the net, employing an IT expert, and then calling the author's bluff. Suffice it to say, when 28 disparaging reviews of other HF works and glowing reviews of said author's own work vanished from Amazon one morning, I was not surprised. But I was very happy.

Basically, don't believe an awful lot of reviews on Amazon or any other forum etc. (the author I exposed took great care to write reviews of other non-HF stuff in between the glowing ones of their own books and the awful ones about other people's, so even if you read their profile, it still looked fairly kosher).
Ben Kane
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Spartacus - UK release 19 Jan. 2012. US release June 2012.

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Post by Misfit » Mon September 3rd, 2012, 12:51 pm

[quote=""Mythica""]This has been going on for years and the public is only just now taking notice? It's all over Goodreads discussion boards too. I'm going to have to adjust to the term sock puppet - I've been calling them shills for years. Good article though.[/quote]

Yes, it is all over Goodreads and Amazon for those who spend much time in the discussion boards. There's a self-published fantasy author who apparently had tons of sock accounts at Goodreads. She's recently been kicked off the site, but she's not given up and obviously mad as a hatter. There's some believe she is the main person behind a so-called anti bully site that has been *outing* the evil nasty reviewers, including personal information, real names, where they live, etc. Really terrible stuff.

Going slightly OT and on my soapbox:

In the HF genre, there's such a small window of regular readers/reviewers at Amazon that you eventually end up recognizing them (and swapping comments), and it's fairly easy to spot the one-review wonders that come up out of nowhere on release day. There are also those reviewers who are associated with professional review sites, but don't disclose that fact, nor that they are receiving ARCs for review. Harriet is obviously the #1 (or former #1 thankfully) on that list, but there are other *real name* reviewers on Amazon who do this as well. One of them does review HF regularly, is in the top 100 ranking (last time I looked), has a warm and fuzzy profile photo, real name, always has a review up on release day and never ever discloses he/she is only reviewing books received from publishers.

All that, and I just love it when some disgruntled author/BFF of author uses the old *can't trust someone who won't use their real name* BS. After the Emily Giffen meltdown which ended up with one critical reviewer receiving threatening phone calls, why in the hell would anyone use their real name online?
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fljustice
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Post by fljustice » Mon September 3rd, 2012, 2:19 pm

The sock puppet scam is discussed at length on several groups I belong to. It's exasperating for folks who play by the rules to see cheats winning (at least for a while.) A colleague at LibraryThing posted this story of his run in with a sock puppet who attacked his book:

http://uviart.blogspot.com/2012/08/one- ... to-do.html
Faith L. Justice, Author Website
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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Mon September 3rd, 2012, 7:21 pm

Crikey Ben - I hadn't realised that!
I know of a couple from HF from my own sleuthing around, having become somewhat suspicious - but quite small fry compared to what you describe. I've learned the hard way to take screen shots of everything now!
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Mon September 3rd, 2012, 7:36 pm

I've never heard of it before but there's quite a big article about it in today's UK Daily Mail, with another author admitting that he's been doing it, not naming any names though!
Currently reading: "Pine" by Francine Toon

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Post by J.D. Oswald » Mon September 3rd, 2012, 7:50 pm

Another version of the sock puppet - I heard a programme on Radio 4 today talking about how you can buy fake Twitter followers (and a company has now released software that will work out how many fake followers a Twitter account has).

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Mon September 3rd, 2012, 8:08 pm

[quote=""J.D. Oswald""]Another version of the sock puppet - I heard a programme on Radio 4 today talking about how you can buy fake Twitter followers (and a company has now released software that will work out how many fake followers a Twitter account has).[/quote]

Why on earth would you want fake Twitter followers? :confused: :confused:
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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