The Other Internet Voter Fraud – A Source of Geek Rage.

by DeAngelo on February 2, 2011

The Other Internet Voter Fraud – A Source of Geek Rage.

During the Bush/Kerry campaigns, many of us wondered why government workers had such a hard time counting votes. Voting is easy. And if everything was done via the Internet, we wouldn’t have to worry about hanging chad nonsense! Voting on the internet is easy! Or is it?

When is a vote not a vote?
Here’s a quick look at 3 cases of internet voting “fraud”.

  • 1. Digg.com
    Perhaps among first examples of internet voting “fraud”. On digg.com, users can vote up stories, the most popular of which appears on the front page. Only problem was that a select few “power users” and spammers practically gained control of the digg front page. Digg tried to fix this, but ended up pissing a lot of people off a lot of loyal users.
  • 2. reddit.com
    Reddit’s ranking algorithm is pretty involved (taking into account up/down votes, along with time), but that still doesn’t satisfy everyone. Some people want even more feedback than just raw vote counts. You’ve got a ranking taking into accounts parameters you know nothing about…take it or leave it bub.
  • 3. stackoverflow
    And finally, stackoverflow, which got me thinking about this in the first place. From the perspective of the end-user (i.e. one looking for answers, primarily programming in nature), it’s a breath of fresh air. Programmers here will be familiar with the evil entity we had to endure during the P. S. era (Pre Stack). However the system may not be so nice for those participating in it. Users have found holes in the matrix and are taking advantage of it, causing some people to leave.

Conclusions?

Just like in real life, internet voting systems can be gamed in all sorts of ways. Perhaps this problem is largely unsolvable? So maybe we should be asking the question of which voting system people find the most fair. Anyone have any ideas?

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