Sunday 16 November 2008

Andrew Gilligan and the sock-puppets

Sounds like it could be a half-decent indie band.

But Dave Hill has a good backgrounder to a curious tale about Evening Standard journalist Andrew Gilligan's apparently close associations to comments challenging his critics and praising his own work, under the handle "Kennite", some of which used arguments and phrases which then later appeared in his Evening Standard journalism. Credit to the Tory Troll, a Boris-scrutiny blog, for spotting the links.

Hill's post elicited an explanation from Andrew Gilligan in the comments thread:

Kennite is my partner. Is that allowed? ...

But it seems that not everybody is convinced. Such appalling cynicism.


As the Tory Troll reports, City University Journalism Professor Adrian Monck had, a year ago, worked out that "anonymous" third party comments in defence of Gilligan came from:

Someone who is:

using an Associated Newspapers IP (publishers of the Evening Standard, Daily Mail etc);

online in the middle of the night - possibly entirely nocturnal;

linking from a technorati search set up to track all blog postings on the name Andrew Gilligan.

Could anyone solve this conundrum?", asked Monck.

As Hill writes, the ethical boundaries between commenting anonymously or under a pseudonym and "sock-puppeting" can be blurred, but he endorses the distinction in Wikipedia's definition that "the key difference between a sockpuppet and a regular the pretense that the puppet is a third party who is not affiliated with the puppeteer".

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