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The Long-Awaited "Stuffing" Post- Of Ballots and Bots - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
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The Long-Awaited "Stuffing" Post- Of Ballots and Bots

When I first started a post with "stuffing" in the title fairly late on Thursday, I was referring more to the stuffing of online ballot boxes than anything, but I wound up too tired to finish the post- and then Friday, after spending much of the late day stuffing trash cans with dead garden bits, I put it off again until I'd know what the results were.

Internet voting is a strange phenomenon.  Voter fraud is not only legal but actively encouraged.  Poll sites love ballot-stuffing, because it gets their clickrates up and their advertising revenues go up with them.  It becomes almost comical when sports leagues limit your votes for an all-star team or some similar award to X per day (X usually being a stupidly high two-digit number).  If they have the technology to cut off your email or IP address after X attempts per day, why not make X "one per day," or even just "one, period," huh?  Instead, these votes turn into feats of stamina among fans of whatever team, or contestant, or other worthy-causer is behind them.

I generally stay out of the big-league efforts, because even maxing out my daily limits would have little effect- but I just finished participating in a successful effort, by a friend of mine from the gym, to win an online radio-station poll that will have her singing the National Anthem at a major local concert event this coming weekend.

The gym put up a sign about it, and the trainers mentioned it at the end of a couple of classes.  The singer herself put a few mentions of it on her Facebook page- as did some other friends of hers on theirs (including me on mine). That was about the extent of her campaigning.  I scrolled through the dozen or so choices, agreed that her Youtubed performance was deserving, and voted for her. Times X- and then some. 

Initially, when you voted, the "thank you" screen revealed the current totals- and she was juxtaposing between first and second place through Memorial Day weekend with only one out of all the other contestants.  By early last week, our singer's total was starting to pull ahead....

and then it got a little weird.  Miz X, the only other one close to the lead, started throwing shade at our friend in her own public Facebook posts.  How can that girl be getting so many votes? She must be cheating! Yeah, that's it- being kind to people you work with and for, being the kind of person who you want to go out and support! Can't have any of THAT in an internet contest, yo!

Miz X, on the other hand, started posting about her own entry in the contest multiple times a day. She even took to passing out flyers in front of her office building, asking people to go to the radio station site and vote for her.

This only made us on Team R more determined- if there's one thing you learn in a gym, it's how to do high reps. But a few days before the voting ended (or so we thought), they stopped showing the totals.  That, too, is merely a bigger challenge for the OCD-ers among us.  We went into the final weekend not knowing for sure when it would end or who would win.

When? Well, yesterday- when the votes started showing a "thanks for voting-poll closed" notation.  As for who?  I guess some Cheers are in order:



Miz X, for her part, also Wendt- went a little mean.  She learned of her second-place finish from our gym's posting congratulations to our friend and their co-worker on its own Facebook page, and she took this as the explanation- that we were a "huge company posting about her that had a ton of followers. Well thank you once again to everyone who helped and spent so much time voting for me. Maybe one day I'll catch a break."

Not a word of congratulations to the winner.  I am completely sure that Miz X would've been congratulated by her opponent- even by me- if the results had gone the other way.  This contest was not won at the ballot box but in the hearts of those who know what really matters.  And as for huge?  Our fitness group has maybe a couple dozen employees and several hundred active members; Miz X works for one of the largest employers in the region.  It's not how many of us there are, Miz; it's how much we care.

I won't be at the concert, but I'll be thrilled to see a recording of it.

----

And again I've run out of steam.  I was going to segue into the other kind of internet-stuffing that goes on, concerning sold-out shows and plays and sporting events, which have been overrun by "bots" and scalpers.  Another time for that.

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