Voting Transparency

Discussion of the yearly awards for best comic in various categories.

Voting Transparency

Postby Drathan on Thu Jan 25, 2007 10:44 am

A humble proposal for next year: make the voting process automated and transparent. Its not hard to code, and yes, it can be done securely. I know this, cuz I do this kind of thing for a living, in fact, I volunteer to program the system myself if you need me to.

An ideal system would have

1.- A registry module where comic authors register their comics.
2.- A human validating those entries, which results in
3.- Account names and passwords being emailed to comic authors.
4.- A secure online form (see number 3) where comic authors nominate comics from drop down lists (see number 1) and submit. After clicking "submit" you get to see how many votes are there for X or Y comic, like.. right there.
5.- In fact, that information should be publically available even for people who arent registered to vote.
6.- In fact, showing not only the total votes per comic, but also disclosing who votes for who has pros and cons. Call me crazy, but after some of the discussions in this board, I lean towards disclosing who votes for who, for several reasons which I'm sure we'll get to at some point. Both options are entirely feasible from a technical point of view. Hmm..

Thats basically all. It would be a cool system. less suspense, more transparency... in fact, I'm feeling like typing code right now. Hmm....

Hmm...
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Postby Palantir on Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:55 am

I can certainly see the benefits in that system, but it would take away from revealing the winners in the ceremony. Also, it might influence the votes.
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Postby Davidcsimon on Thu Jan 25, 2007 4:18 pm

palantir wrote:Also, it might influence the votes.

This would be my concern. An ongoing tally could lead to targeted campaigning, and might skew a person's motivation for voting. Better simply to choose your favourite and wait to see how many people agree with you.
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Postby Biev on Fri Jan 26, 2007 1:18 am

That's a good point. Though it would stop people voting for themselves, which is a pet peeve of mine :)
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Postby Davidcsimon on Fri Jan 26, 2007 1:54 am

Biev wrote:That's a good point. Though it would stop people voting for themselves, which is a pet peeve of mine :)

I really don't see the problem with people voting for their own work. A single vote won't be enough to win anything, you'd need a great many other people to also vote for you before anything that could happen. The only concern is that it's a vote that could potentially go to someone more deserving, but that's why we can nominate up to three comics for each category, and it's a mute point in the final round because *every* finalist is deserving.
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Postby Drathan on Fri Jan 26, 2007 5:56 am

You know guys, I was ready to argue why suspense was worth sacrificing in favor of transparency, but after reading your posts here (specially about the risk of influenting votes via trends), I thought about it a little more, and maybe no sacrifices are needed after all:

It wouldnt be any different than how it is now: there would be a nomination period where registered comic authors vote online, and at the end of that period, everything would be revealed: not just who won a spot, but also who voted for who. This would still bring absolute transparency to the process, but it wouldnt create "trends" that affected voting, and it would not kill the suspense.

Furthermore revealing who voted for who, I believe, would go a long way towards encouraging voters towards fairness, whatever that means. If you know your ballot is going to be public at some point, you'd be less likely to nominate yourself or your buddies in categories where it clearly doesnt belongs.

Anyway, I still feel the coding itch... expect something slightly different in a couple weeks :)

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Postby Davidcsimon on Fri Jan 26, 2007 6:10 am

drathan wrote:It wouldnt be any different than how it is now: there would be a nomination period where registered comic authors vote online, and at the end of that period, everything would be revealed: not just who won a spot, but also who voted for who. This would still bring absolute transparency to the process, but it wouldnt create "trends" that affected voting, and it would not kill the suspense.

Hmm, I understand your argument, but I don't think that many people would be willing to participate in such a ballot, and I think that again there's a serious risk that it could skew the results. If we know that our votes are going to become public, then we are more likely to cast our vote for the purpose of pleasing others, rather than as a result of our own convictions. We might be less willing to vote for comics which are unpopular or contraversial, we might vote for certain comics which make us look like intelligent/informed/down-to-earth readers when in truth we don't actually read them. We might even negotiate vote-exchanges with other participants, aware that we can later check to make sure they voted for us in return for us voting for them.

Frankly, I can't see it working.
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Postby Drathan on Fri Jan 26, 2007 7:52 am

davidcsimon wrote:If we know that our votes are going to become public, then we are more likely to cast our vote for the purpose of pleasing others, rather than as a result of our own convictions. We might be less willing to vote for comics which are unpopular or contraversial, we might vote for certain comics which make us look like intelligent/informed/down-to-earth readers when in truth we don't actually read them. We might even negotiate vote-exchanges with other participants, aware that we can later check to make sure they voted for us in return for us voting for them.


What you said its true. If we know our votes are going to become public, we would try to make our votes seem intelligent. Thats a true statement. But is that bad? Or, better worded: is it worse than what we have now? Because now, with the votes being secret, the risk of negotiating vote exchanges is even higher, and without incentive to make our votes seem smart, well, there's a free pass to vote stupid. Neither choice is perfect, but which is better?


davidcsimon wrote:We might be less willing to vote for comics which are unpopular or contraversial


Personally, I would be proud to have my ballot be a public dissent from the majority, if I truly believe in what I'm voting for. Plus, there'd be no way to know what the majority thinks until its all over anyway, too late to influence the vote.
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Postby Davidcsimon on Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:00 pm

drathan wrote:and without incentive to make our votes seem smart, well, there's a free pass to vote stupid. Neither choice is perfect, but which is better?

Ahh, but this is essentially a "People's Choice" award, which makes it inevitable that there will be a lot of stupid voting going on. People *are* stupid. Rather than making people *pretend* to be smart by dangling the spectre of public humilation before their eyes, I think it would be far better to have an education program before the nomination round begins, outlining the challenges and criteria for each category. Maybe next year we should get some experts to discuss what constitutes outstanding layour/use-of-colour/character-rendering etc.

And there is one thing I would like to see: How many votes each nomination received, and what percentage that is of the whole.
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Postby Karen_el on Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:26 am

While I'm all for more transparency in the system, I think you have to draw the line at publically listing who voted for what. Unless there is a reason to suspect some kind of vote rigging that might be revealed by such a ploy, I am strongly in favour of keeping who votes for who private and see no advantage to making this information public.

So some people vote for themselves. Some vote for friends. Some vote favourite comics in every possible category. That is their choice. Either you allow people to vote as they wish, however stupidly, or you might as well not bother having any voting at all. You can't give people a free choice and then complain when they don't choose what you want them to.
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