Earlier this month Reddit made the news for banning some heavyweight publishers from their site. Their sin was creating lots of fake accounts in order to vote up their content and get it higher up the Reddit listings.
Which is fair enough. In the video below however Reddit founder Reid Hoffman provides some insight into how they turned Reddit from an unknown start-up into the trend setting behemoth it is today, and the answer is – lots and lots of fake accounts.
It got me thinking, can you grow a community without resorting to this tactic? It's well known that when you start a community you need to seed it with activity, as it's hard to attract people to a community with no discussions and no members.
Obviously one way to do this is to round up as many of your contacts as possible to start things off, probably in a private beta mode so that when you launch to the public there is a community for people to get stuck into.
An alternative of course is to create these people yourself using a variety of sock puppets. I won't get on an ethical high horse here but put the question out there for you.
Can you create a community without fake accounts?