Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Home Stretch - Current Issues

14:31, London time: There's been quite a bit of feedback by e-mail and some on the posts on this site and on mine. Plus on your sites of course. The decision will be announced at 20:00 this evening, London time because I'd like to maximize the feedback before acting so precipitately.

11:04, London time: This is a working day for some and a holiday for others and therefore the communication lines are a little slow.

I have to announce that I have sought the advice of all on my auto e-mail list connected with these awards about a decision to be announced around lunchtime today, London time.

If you did not receive an e-mail, then it is because I've been slack and haven't updated my auto-roll, e.g. with Lord Nazh. His e-mail to me is somewhere in the 865 since the start of these awards. I'll look for it soon. Also, many don't have accessible e-mails. As it is only advice at this stage and I have little time on a working day, let it be so for now.

The two issues are:

1] whether to expel UK News & Politics from the Awards categories he is contesting;

2] whether I myself should withdraw on the same grounds.

In order to decide this, cool heads must prevail and all the things written taken into consideration. No decision will be taken until much more feedback is in. I plan an announcement for 15:00, London time.

Feedback is open to all and UKN&P was the first informed this on his site. His feedback is most welcome. Documentary evidence is not the issue here. The issue is how the majority see the matter, given the events of the past few days and especially the events overnight. I'm quite biased myself now and so it will be based only on your advice.

08:52, London time: I've just been around the categories and put my votes in and the big news this Monday morning is the staggering comeback of UK News & Politics, one of the smaller bloggers with no more than 100 visitors a day to his site*.

When I last saw the score in Category 10 about midnight, the results were:

Crushed by Ingsoc 88

Sicily Scene 84

UK News & Politics 70

with 613 votes cast.
Now, this morning, there's been a huge surge in votes and the results are:

Crushed by Ingsoc 101

Sicily Scene 109

UK News & Politics 101

with 753 votes cast.
That's a 30 vote increase in a few hours, whilst he scored 70 for the 4 days up to that point! Congratulations, UK News and Politics, for your amazing comeback in Category 10, as well as in 6, 12 and in the Britblog section!

For a little blogger, you have an amazing amount of readers who don't visit your site* who are voting for you.

London time: Help!!! I have tried three times to put these banners into the sidebar but have failed miserably. They've skewed [popular, that word] all over the place. Admins please do it for us!

07:29, London time, Monday, June 11th: Calum Carr has withdrawn from the Awards for this reason:

There have been allegations of vote skewing against some blogs - not mine I hasten to add - about which James Higham has talked in various places. In addition, it appears that action has been taken against one blog, at least: the leading blog (in category 10) after 3 days has not increased its vote in the last 2 days. The overall vote total and my blog's vote have increased hugely in the last couple of days.

I have replied, at Calum's site:

This is your right, Calum but the imputation of foul play is wrong. Yesterday, and these gentlemen will confirm it, I wrote to Ian Grey and Thunderdragon on two topics:

1] whether it was possible that someone could hack into the awards;

2] I mentioned that UKN&P has stopped polling.

These concerned me greatly because there were implications for the Awards, which Calum has now assumed, despite the disclaimer exonerating me personally.

A visit to UKN&P would answer the 2nd question:

"Blogpower Awards- Vote Early and Often!!

I will be out of town from Sat 9 June until Wed 12 June and will be writing posts if (hopefully when) I have any free time. We are still doing well in the Blogpower Awards but need your votes to pull ahead of the current leaders! Thanks for all your support and keep voting"

Now, here's Ian's reply to me, which answers the 1st and I've written to him, asking if he'd mind me disclosing part of a private e-mail:

"It seems unlikely that the logs are accessible, as they aren't available to poll set-upperers. Seeing as they do a paid service as well, it is in their interests to keep it secure."

That's the issue of "poll fixing". Therefore, the only problem is in the multiple voting. I stated on my site that:

"You see, behind the scenes I'm playing hardball right now and it's only fair they get their shot later. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. If they don't do it, I'll tell you about it anyway."

So now it's time to tell you. There are three people close to me [one female, two male] who visit my site regularly. There are hundreds who don't. I haven't told the hundreds at all.

I think it's fair enough for regular readers, and this can be seen from Sitemeter, to vote in this poll. I hve three. How these personal friends are doing this is their affair but it's allowed me to stop voting for myself because it was uncomfortable.

They also know I'm hitting Categories 6, 10 and 12 and voting when I can to even up the balance. This is only logical. They're friends. We talk. I talk ad nauseam about the awards. They make their decisions. They're big boys and girls 35 to 47 years of age. Whether others are doing this, I don't know. How could I know?

Then UKN&P simply stopped polling.

This worried me. I was seriously thinking this morning of shoving my own vote his way and still might do that but that would have skewed the result. I was so worried about him yesterday that I went to his site and this is what I left in his comments:

1 Comment - Show Original Post

james higham said...

No, you can vote more often than that. We dropped the notice about once a day when we discovered that the system allows votes sooner than that - it's working on IP addresses.

Please don't stop voting for UK News and Politics.

10 June 2007 04:20

This is what everyone has been saying all along - they want a balanced result. I invite any person I've e-mailed to come forward and show where I have urged them not to vote for a specific person. I certainly had discussions with about 12 people about a political party and I named that party openly. They're welcome to reveal what I wrote to them, for all to see.

Calum has come to a conclusion based on what he sees overall and that's sad but fine. I hope that this now has cleared the air a little.

Now to me, myself, personally, in the polls. I'm doing well and yet I'm running the show. This is highly uncomfortable. Do I want you to stop voting for me? To "even things up"? That's your decision but of course I'd like you to keep voting. As Mr Eugenides said:

"I'd like to win an award, but of more interest is to see what other people think."

One nominee running against me in Wordsmith has alleged, half-jokingly, "a fix". I've been to his site and showed him how to maximize his vote. I voted for him yesterday - twice. I voted twice for Calum too.

On Saturday, I went through on one of my votes, put up my five categories on the computer, checked the boxes of everyone except me and voted, just for the hell of it. I've especially been voting for one person, not me, in the Services to Blogging section. I'd like to think his vote has increased that little bit, due to me.

One lady running against me e-mailed me and I showed her how to strategize, how to use her support to maximize their votes, how to vote within the context of what the machine allows. She wrote back asking why I was telling her these things and was it ethical?

Of course it's ethical to work within the rules to maximize your vote, s long as you don't bring in your workplace or political organization to help you. All of us could do this if we wished. Voting for this person or that is the fun of the event in my eyes but never forget:

1] we all have one vote only, every so often, for 200 people at a time if we so wish;

2] the greater the pool of overall votes, the less chance any one person has of skewing the result.

That's why I voted for seven or eight candidates in every section yesterday and I think many others were voting for multiple candidates too.

Much more serious is the charge that the admin running the show has urged people not to vote for someone. Look through my editorials here and come to your own conclusions on that.

One nominee, at the very start, also claimed that Blogpower was urging everyone to vote Blogpower. Please give your comments on this. For me to say that this is utterly groundless would not carry as much weight as if you commented.

Your comments on all matters are most welcome.


youdontknowme said...

So its not a political organisation that is allegedly helping UK News and Politics but you allegedly think someone is hacking into the polls to get him to win?

james higham said...

You didn't read what I wrote fully, Wayne and good to see you also involved this early in the day.

I wanted to be sure that no one at all could hack the vote, get to the polling company and I sought technical advice.

That advice was that it was not possible.

So how then to explain the 30 vote increase in UK News and Politics in Category 10 and his amazing increase in all other categories he's in - within the space of a few hours?

When I checked about midnight, he had 78, 70 and 72 in 6, 10 and 12. Now look at his amazing scores.

Now, assuming he has one or two friends. Maximum he could gain would be about 15 votes.

So where do the other votes come from?

You see, Wayne, he claims he has under 100 readers a day and is not conected with any organization at all.

Do you see the puzzling aspect here?

Unity said...

Regarding Calum's comments about one blog doing well for the first three days and then getting very few votes over the weekend, much the same has happened to myself in category four.

So far as I can tell, the 'message' in this is simply that many of my regular readers visit from the office and have other/better things to do at the weekend than vote in online polls.

james higham said...

Unity, that is certainly a point but doesn't answer the question about how he has this support if he only gets under 100 visitors a day.

youdontknowme said...

I still don't see how a political organisation could be involved. Could you maybe email me evidence if you don't want it seen on here?

james higham said...

Nothing requires e-mailing and this is a pointless discussion. the evidence is there for those with eyes. those who are part of the organization are never going to see.

I've had enough of it and that's why a decision is being made this morning which I've advised UKN&P on his site.

I am currently taking advice, including yours, Wayne, and will weigh it up around lunchtime and then announce the decision on this nominee and on myself as well.

CalumCarr said...

To test a theory I have just voted for myself in Category 10 - 5 times in 7 minutes. Thought it better to vote for me than to skew anyone elses vote.

This has shown me that one person could skew the results without the intervention of any friends or supporters. Had I been so minded in another 45 minutes I alone could have put my blog in first place.

Is it possibe, therefore, that UKNetc has not relied on others but has sat and voted away for himself - as I just tested?

youdontknowme said...

the evidence is there for those with eyes. those who are part of the organization are never going to see

All I see is this:

I am a BNP supporter. I made UK News and Politics my blog of the week who is a Conservative supporter. This blogger came second against a BNP blog in my blog of the month poll. The BNPers that read my blog voted Falkirk BNP. UK News and Politics received a fair share of the vote not because BNPers voted for him but because he sent his readers to my site to vote for him. This is demonstrated by the fact that during that the poll the hits to my blog reached into the hundreds and on the last day went above 200. This is even though my normal hits are normally in the 50-70 range.

Despite all of this you still think a political organisation is still behind the fact that he is doing well. Could it have not been that his readers are just more motivated that other readers?

james higham said...

Again and again you fail to see the point, Wayne. He doesn't have readers. He was allowed into a category for little bloggers who have far less than 100 readers.

He simply couldn't achieve this result with less than 100 readers.

james higham said...

Calum, it works on every 10 IP addresses. Now look at the total number who've voted and divide that by the minutes, excluding, say four hours when everyone sleeps. You'll see that in the categories with less aggregate vote, this means a vote every few hours. With a category turning over 100 votes and hour, it would be less.

We have checked this out and we are definitely blocked after we vote once. Quite definitely blocked. Now watch the total votes for the category and watch the key nominees' votes and come to your own conclusion.

There's something rotten in the State of Denmark and it ain't the system.

youdontknowme said...

And how does a political organisation come into it? have I missed the bit where the allegations against a political organisation have been dropped?

CalumCarr said...


I have just voted again: this time 5 votes in 6 minutes and no-one else voted in this category in those 6 minutes. Therefore, 45 to 50 votes an hour are possible

My votes increased from 83 to 88
The total increased rfom 797 to 802

It is possible to beat the system.
One person could win a category with no outside help. The method is straightforward but may not be available to all

I will email you separately to tell you what I have done.

Not Saussure said...

I don't know what method Calum's using, but it's trivially easy, with a bit of techie know-how, to bypass the precautions. I've just voted for everyone twice in two minutes in the best layout section without any difficulty.

I'm not accusing anyone of doing this; I merely state, as a fact, that it's not hard to do, and, like Callum, I'll gladly tell James by email how I did it if he wants.

My view on the matter, for what it's worth, is that I very much hope James won't pull out and that he won't chuck UK Politics out, either. While I've got my suspicions, a chap's innocent until he's proven guilty, and if UK Politics gives us his word that he's not involved in any funny business and that he's not aware of any funny business being undertaken on his behalf, then I think we have to accept it.

If people start pulling out of various categories -- particularly front-runners like James -- then others will doubtless feel the need so to do, too, and the whole thing will be in danger of collapsing.

Gracchi said...

I'm with Not Saussure- I definitely don't think you should pull out James because I fail to see how you have done anything wrong.

As for UK News and Politics like Not Saussure I can imagine that there could be innocent explanations- without proof its hard to chuck him out in my view- though I personally have enough trust in the administrators to say that I will back whatever is decided.

james higham said...

UK News and Politics received a fair share of the vote not because BNPers voted for him but because he sent his readers to my site to vote for him. This is demonstrated by the fact that during that the poll the hits to my blog reached into the hundreds and on the last day went above 200. This is even though my normal hits are normally in the 50-70 range.

Most interesting, Wayne and it puts him in deeper than before. There is now clear admission of collusion with a known BNP site.

Thanks you for bringing that to our attention.

youdontknowme said...

Because he got his readers to vote on my blog of the month poll which ended days before blogpower started their contest?

Not Saussure said...

Hang on a minute, James. I think you're being a bit premature calling it 'collusion'; sounds to me more like UK News & Politics didn't understand the voting and put a link to Wayne's site in by mistake for the blogpower one. I don't see how Wayne can be said to have colluded with anything.

What I find more interesting about this revelation is that it demonstrates there's something very odd going on with the voting, if all these extra hits that Central News received came from UK News. I've just had a look at the latter's stats and he doesn't get anything like that number of visits in a day.

Now, I'd have thought that if someone reading UK News wanted to vote for him and found himself misdirected to Wayne's blog, he'd more likely that not -- if he were intending repeatedly to vote UK News -- to make a note of the right place to go. But it seems not.

And what makes it even odder is that none of UK News' posts soliciting people's votes seem -- at least according to the Spotplex page -- ever to have been read by more than a handful of people. Quite how he managed to generate so much extra traffic for Wayne is completely beyond me.

Daily Referendum said...

James, I'd let it run and try and come up with a tighter voting system next year. It will be obvious if a nominee deserved to win. Let it all come out in the wash. This has been a great idea and it has achieved what you aimed for - this contest has raised the profile of many Blogpowerers and many other small blogs - well done.

james higham said...

Please hold off and wait for my post in 15 minutes, especially the part at the end.

Delicolor said...

James, us other admins don't have template rights, we are classed as authors and presumably only the owner has the full access.


Delicolor said...

Daily Referendum, the point you make is the same as I have made to James. There might be a Steward's inquiry, but the race should not be stopped.

james higham said...

You do now, Ian. Sorry for the oversight.

Ian Appleby said...

James, sorry to come in late; I echo what Steve and Ian G are saying.