"congressional meat-puppet"..........!

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Jul 31 15:46:37 UTC 2009

On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 11:05 AM, Alison Murie <sagehen7470 at att.net> wrote:
> In an article on various health care proposals before congress, Josh
> Holland uses the expression "congressional meat-puppet,"  a new one on
> me.  Is this a known expression?

>From Wikipedia:

The term "meatpuppet" or "meat puppet" is used as a pejorative
description for a number of quite different online behaviors. An early
recorded use is in cyberpunk novelist William Gibson's Neuromancer
(1984). The term had a long history before the internet, including the
hardcore band Meat Puppets, and a TV series broadcast in 1980 and
featuring Wil Wheaton.
Editors of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia use "meat puppet" to
deprecate contributions from a new community member if the new member
was (apparently) recruited by an existing member only to back up the
recruiting member's position. Wired columnist Lore Sjöberg puts "meat
puppet" first on a list of "common terms used at Wikipedia," giving
its Wikipedia meaning as "someone you disagree with."
A number of other online sources, however, use the term "meatpuppet"
for varied sockpuppet behaviors. For example, according to one online
encyclopedia, a meat puppet "publishes comments on blogs, wikis and
other public venues about some phenomenon or product in order to
generate public interest and buzz"—that is, engages in the kind of
behavior more widely known as astroturfing.
A 2006 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education claimed that
"[t]he 'meat puppet' is a peculiar inhabitant of the digital world—a
fictional character that passes for a real person online."

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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