I’ve had an increase in disruptive troll comments here and at Crooked Timber, and have now discovered that a large number of them appear to be from someone who has posted here and elsewhere in the past as “John/Jack Greenfield”. I discovered it when “Greenfield” put up a comment at Catallaxy identical to one posted by a trollish commenter here posting as “S. Haines”. I challenged Haines on the point and he/she/it promptly disappeared. An IP check has now revealed numerous similar trolls several of whom had already been banned. The list includes:
IP numbers vary, but all begin with 203.171.192 or 203.171.195. If any of the above want to dispute their sock puppet status, they are welcome to email me. Bloggers who don’t wish to encourage trolls, sockpuppets and other such lowlifes are welcome to contact me for further details, and are urged to ban “Greenfield” and associated socks.
A few more points. A sockpuppeteer is, by definition, a liar and a fraud. I’m going to leave the comments made by “Greenfield” and socks to remind everyone that these are the kind of comments that even their own author, despite freely available use of pseudonymity, is ashamed to own.
Leaving aside the personally shameful aspect of sockpuppetry, it’s important to recognise how disruptive and destructive the activities of sockpuppeteers are to the discussion that takes place here and in the blogosphere. People who want to discuss the issues are deceived into engaging in side debates with dishonest actors seeking only to do damage. Any sanction available to bloggers against such activity, including legal action and public exposure, should be employed as necessary.