Jon Wiener: Orlando Figes and his Sock Puppet





[Jon Wiener started writing for The Nation in 1984. He's also professor of history at the University of California, Irvine, and a Los Angeles radio host.]

A prominent British historian has found a new way to get in trouble: Orlando Figes, a historian of Stalin's Russia at Birkbeck College, London, and a contributor to the New York Review, has admitted that his wife has been publishing hostile comments about rival historians at Amazon.co.uk under a pseudonym.

The practice of using a pseudonym to post denunciations of rivals or critics on the internet is called "using a sock puppet."...

Many historians are no doubt wishing their own spouses had gone after rivals with this kind of zeal – but without getting caught. And others are asking whether Figes himself might have written the posts, or perhaps co-authored them with his wife....

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