Wikipedia bans editors suspected of being paid shills

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381 accounts believed to be "socks"--used by editors to make paid-for changes to the site--have been cast out.

A posting on the admin board explains how the Checkuser team exposed the dodgy accounts.

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There are 381 socks currently being blocked as a result of this investigation. All of the socks are linked by both technical data and behavioural evidence. The list of socks has been posted at Wikipedia:Long-term abuse/Orangemoody/Accounts. All of these blocks are checkuser blocks. They are being performed by EgressBot using a standardized block summary and user talk page template, so that reviewing administrators and editors will be able to identify that they are part of this group. A copy of the block summary and template is posted on the page listing the identified socks. Unblock requests can be brought to the attention of checkusers; this can be done by posting a link at the SPI talk page. It will take the blocking bot approximately an hour to complete all of the blocks; if for other behavioural reasons an administrator needs to block any of the accounts in the interim, the block will be superseded by the bot with the applicable summary and template. The same will apply to any accounts that have already been blocked.

The socks all exhibit at least one of the following behavioural traits:

"Article creation" socks create articles in draft space or user space mainly based on submissions to Articles for creation that had been declined, or articles that had been added to article space and deleted as being too promotional. These articles do not give proper attribution to the original authors. There are occasional variations to this process. Most of the articles created in this way have been moved to article space; a few are still in draft or user space.

"Helper" socks will usually complete a series of useless edits in order to be autoconfirmed. They then continue making gnoming-type edits that will periodically include the addition of spammy external links. Some of these socks also participate in Page Curation, and they will “mark reviewed” articles created by the other socks.

Examples of "useless edits" include adding {{italictitle}} or wiki-linking words like Asia and United States, or making minor formatting changes.
The groups are not entirely distinct and some socks have acted as both article creators and helpers.

Here's the list of articles edited.

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