|This page in a nutshell: The general rule is one editor, one account. Do not use multiple accounts to mislead, deceive, vandalize or disrupt; to create the illusion of greater support for a position; to stir up controversy; or to circumvent a block, ban, or sanction. Do not ask your family or friends to create accounts to support you. Do not revive old unused accounts and use them as different users, or use another person's account. Do not log out just to vandalize as an IP address editor.|
On Wikipedia, sockpuppetry, or socking, refers to the misuse of multiple Wikipedia accounts. To maintain accountability and increase community trust, editors are generally expected to use only one account. While there are some valid reasons for maintaining multiple accounts, it is improper to use multiple accounts to deceive or mislead other editors, disrupt discussions, distort consensus, avoid sanctions, evade blocks, or otherwise violate community standards and policies.
Sockpuppetry takes various forms:
Misuse of multiple accounts is a serious breach of community trust. It may lead to:
An editor using multiple accounts for valid reasons should, on each account's user page, list all the other accounts with an explanation of their purpose (see below). Optionally, the user and user talk pages of some of the accounts can be redirected to those of another. Editors who use unlinked alternative accounts, or who edit as an IP address editor separate from their account, should carefully avoid any crossover on articles or topics because even innocuous activities such as copy editing, wikifying, or linking might be considered sockpuppetry in some cases and innocuous intentions will not usually serve as an excuse.
While there are legitimate use of alternative accounts, undisclosed alternative accounts might be connected publicly through a variety of means.