Why sock puppets?

On the internet, a sockpuppet is an alternate account, created by someone in order to:

A) Remain anonymous
B) Come back to a community after being banned (or flouncing)
C) Troll
D) Bolster their own argument or come to their own defense, giving the impression that someone else cares

Since everything on Sockpuppet Theatre is actually found on the internet, socks seemed an obvious choice.

Is everything really from the internet?

Yes, although we do take some liberties in order to turn threads into scripts.

For example, we have to edit down the threads considerably to make them a reasonable length (some of these threads go on for weeks, with hundeds of comments). We also consolidate characters in order to keep the cast to just a few puppets in each episode. And we sometimes base a script on a thread, or combine several threads.

Why do you have recurring characters? These aren’t all the same people are they?

In a way, they are. The more you read these threads, the more you see that there are only a handful of personalities on the internet:

The White Knight – Rushing in to defend whoever is aggrieved, whether they need it or not
The Troll Hunter – Every video is fake, every story is staged, every poster is a sock puppet
The Short Fuse – Zero to bat shit in one comment
The Social Warrior – Correcting your pronouns while calling you names. Preemptively offended on behalf of anyone who might be offended
The Internet Tough Guy – Threatens you with physical violence despite the fact that he lives 7,000 miles from you

Who did we miss?

What if I want to read the entire thread you’ve dramatized?

Wherever possible, we link to the original thread. Keep in mind that some sites scrub offensive comments, and some threads get so explosive that the mods remove them completely. But we link to the spot we found the material, and with any luck, it’s still there. You can also use Google Cache if you care that much, but that’s between you and your therapist.

Where did the idea come from?

A few years ago, I saw a video of otters holding hands on YouTube:

It’s hard to believe that a video this charming could provoke anything other than squee!, but the thread quickly dissolved into a violent, screaming rant complete with threats of bodily harm.

I realized two things in that moment:

1. Something does not have to be polarizing to be polarizing. The internet is always spoiling for a fight, and virtually anything, no matter how benign, can fire up the internet hate machine.

2. It always comes back to Hitler.

And I realized something else:


Watching people dissolve into frothing rage over otter videos and pie recipes is some of the best human comedy around.

And there is no shortage of material, because the internet’s biggest commodity is your ire. The more upset you are, the more you post. The more you post, the more you click. The more you click, the more money the site makes. As long as the internet keeps getting rich by making you mad, there will be bullies and meltdowns and flame wars.

And we’ll be here to put a sock in it.