Sunday, December 11, 2005

Weblog Awards Voting

If you've been over to the Weblog Awards site and followed the comments in the various categories, you'll see mentions of cheating in the voting, and criticism of the voting process.

We can try to separate these two topics, but it's going to be hard, because the second is trying to prevent the first.

First of all, my opinion is that there is no perfect process. Kevin is trying to balance ease of voting with proper voting. And that's not easy.

Here's what is happening in the voting. Kevin is using Flash technology to count and secure the votes. It's not perfect, but it's harder to get around that last year's browser cookie method.

Additionally, all votes are logged, along with the IP address of the voter.

If someone gets around the first line of security, the second line of security (IP address logs) should catch cheaters, and the vote totals will be adjusted accordingly.

But it's not perfect.

You see, there are ways of getting around the IP address issue. Now, Kevin has the IP addresses of most common "anonymizers" and those votes are either not counted or otherwise identified for removal. But there's no guarantee that he has all addresses.

So, cheating is possible under the current setup. Not easy for the casual or most readers, but certainly possible.

Plus, what about people at work. Now, I'm not suggesting that people at work would surf the Internet. Not at all. But let's play "what if" for a second.

What if folks at, say, where I work, want to vote for me. And they want to vote for me from work. Well, all those votes will show as the same IP address and will appear to be cheating.

Now, I don't know that anyone at work would try to cheat on my behalf, but it's certainly a possibility. But if no one does, it still looks that way, because of the votes from the same IP address. (This hasn't happened; folks at work really don't care about voting, much less voting for me. We're just playing "what if.")

The point is, the present voting process isn't perfect.

So, what's the solution?

Require registration? What do you suggest? TypeKey?

How many TypeKey accounts do you think I have? I probably have more than you would guess. Or than many of you would guess. And if I can have multiple accounts, so can many others.

So that's not perfect.

Another registration process? Well, if I can get multiple TypeKey accounts, I can get more of another type.

So, that's not perfect.

How about an e-mail verification process? You know, you submit a vote but include your name and e-mail address. An email is sent that contains a link that, when clicked, counts the vote.

How many e-mail addresses do you think I have. I probably have more than most of you think.

So, that's not perfect.

Okay, now do you want to know what the perfect solution is?

Yeah, me too. There's not one. Not that I'm aware of.

If you have an idea, let me know. I'll see if I can punch holes in it.

But the bottom line? Kevin's process isn't perfect, and vote fraud will happen. But he's put a lot of work and effort into making the process as good as possible, and he should be commended.

And if you don't like the process he has in place, don't blame Kevin.

Blame the asses who cheat.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, basil. And if people don't like the process, they're also free to ignore the awards altogether. It's not like anyone's making any money (least of all Kevin, even with the ads at the awards site) or is going to suddenly become the next Instapundit from them, anyway. It's supposed to be fun, but some people take them WAY too seriously. Especially the stupid cheaters.


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