2008 Niblets Results

Ziff Niblets 77 Comments

Who won the Niblets? If you revisited the voting page late in the voting and looked at the poll results, you may already know. But I have a few different takes on the data that weren’t in the poll results. So I hope you’ll keep reading.

Preliminaries

There were a total of 1347 ballots cast in the 2008 Niblets. The WP-Polls plugin records each voter’s IP address, so I’m counting a ballot as an IP address from which at least one vote was submitted.

In just looking at the data, I found a couple of cases that appeared to be clear ballot stuffing. Now I know that many of us vote more than once in the Niblets if we have access to more than one computer. But these were much more egregious. Several repeated ballots from the same IP address range (i.e., differing only in the last 3 digits) were submitted, separated by only 2-3 minutes. I assume this means the voters were able to force their ISPs to reassign a new IP address at will, and they were using this ability to cast many extra ballots. But whatever the reason, I excluded extra ballots submitted from the same IP address range within a one hour window. There were 25 such ballots, leaving a final ballot count of 1322.

The first question I looked at what how many ballots answered each of the 19 questions (note that for Question 19, which allowed as many as three answers to be chosen, I counted a ballot as answering it if at least one answer was chosen):

whichqanswered

Voters clearly found some questions more interesting than others. As you can see, the questions about blogs (Q1-4) were answered most, and at the other end, we may have heard enough about Mitt Romney (Q15).

Also interesting is the fact that even the most frequently answered question was answered on only about 60% of ballots (Q1: 796/1322 = .60). This was really unexpected. I wondered if perhaps the same person’s vote was inadvertently being spread across multiple IP addresses—if their ISPs had automatically reassigned them in the middle of a ballot. I looked at IP addresses for a bunch of incomplete ballots cast close together in time to see if there was a pattern of similar IP addresses answering complementary sets of questions (e.g., one ballot answers Q1-5, the other answers Q6-19). I found no evidence of this pattern at all.

The only other explanation I could come up with for so many incomplete ballots was the one already discussed on the Niblets voting thread: single-issue voters. That is, lots of ballots were cast by people who visited only to ensure that their chosen candidate won on a single question. To check this possibility, I looked at how many of the 19 questions each ballot answered:

nqanswered

Wow! Over 30% of ballots cast (411 of 1322) answered only a single question. And the second most popular number of questions answered was two. Clearly there is something to this explanation.

Let me look at one more figure before I get to the results. So which question did the 411 single-question voters answer?

whichqanswered1vote

So it looks like the one-question voters cast lots of votes on the blog questions (Q1-4), some on Best doctrinal post (Q12), and a few on the last four questions (Nicest evil villain, Navel-gazing, Biggest contribution, Write-in) but almost none on any of the questions in between. The first four and the last four groups of questions kind of hang together, but I don’t know why all the love for Best doctrinal post.

Results

In order to account for single-issue voters, I’ll count votes in three ways:

  • Using all 1322 ballots
  • Using only the 911 ballots that answered at least two questions (thus excluding the single-question voters)
  • Using only the 373 ballots that answered at least half of the questions (9+ of the 19), to get at the people most interested in the majority of the Niblets (and therefore ideally those interested in the Bloggernacle community more broadly)

For some questions, these different vote-counting approaches didn’t lead to different rankings, so I’ll only show one set of results. But for the questions where the rankings are different depending on how votes are counted, I’ll show them all, as I’m sure they will provide a basis for many fun arguments. πŸ™‚

Q1: Best big blog

Past winners:

  • 2005: Times and Seasons, By Common Consent (shared)
  • 2006: By Common Consent
  • 2007: By Common Consent

2008 results:

q1min1

(There were no differences in the rankings when looking only at ballots that answered 2+ or 9+ questions, so I won’t show the figures for them.)

BCC wins for the third year in a row! Who can displace them?

Q2: Best group blog

Past winners:

  • 2005: Nine Moons
  • 2006: Zelophehad’s Daughters
  • 2007: Zelophehad’s Daughters (best small blog)

2008 results:

q2min1

(There were no differences in the rankings when looking only at ballots that answered 2+ questions.)

Counting only ballots that answered 9+ questions:

q2min9

(Answers that moved up or down are bolded. Arrows show which direction they moved relative to the previous figure.)

Depending on which set of results you like, either Segullah or Juvenile Instructor gets the Niblet. Past winner ZD is booted all the way down to fourth (or third). Was it something we said?

Q3: Best solo blog

Past winners:

  • 2005: Dave’s Mormon Inquiry
  • 2006: Dave’s Mormon Inquiry
  • 2007: Category not used; Dave’s Mormon Inquiry received more votes than any other solo blog in the “Best small blog” category

2008 results:

q3min1

Counting only ballots that answered 2+ questions:

q3min2

Counting only ballots that answered 9+ questions:

q3min9

Ardis Parshall’s Keepapitchinin breaks DMI Dave’s strangehold on the category! But then, I guess this was kind of anticlimactic since Dave wasn’t even nominated. Perhaps we lost track of him in his move to Beliefnet?

Q4: Best new blog

Past winners:

  • 2005: Snarkernacle
  • 2006: Mormon Mentality
  • 2007: Juvenile Instructor, Mormon Matters (tie)

2008 results:

q4min1

Counting only ballots that answered 2+ questions:

q4min2

Counting only ballots that answered 9+ questions:

q4min9

Another win for Ardis’s Keepapitchinin!

Q5: Best blog layout/graphics

This category hasn’t been used in previous years.

2008 results:

q5min1

(There were no differences in the rankings when looking only at ballots that answered 2+ questions.)

Counting only ballots that answered 9+ questions:

q5min9

Depending on which results you prefer, either My Regis Blog or Nine Moons gets the Niblet.

Q6: Best commenter

Past winners:

2008 results:

q6min1

(There were no differences in the rankings when looking only at ballots that answered 2+ questions.)

Counting only ballots that answered 9+ questions:

q6min9

I previously identified Ray as the most prolific commenter (in 2007). Now he’s also the Niblet winner as the best commenter.

Q7: Most memorable comment

This category hasn’t been used in previous years.

2008 results:

q7min1

(There were no differences in the rankings when looking only at ballots that answered 2+ or 9+ questions.)

DKL takes both first and second place! I guess that’s similar to taking a one-two punch from Jesus. πŸ˜‰

Q8: Best overall blogger

Past winners:

  • 2005: Wilfried Decoo
  • 2006: Wilfried Decoo
  • 2007: Kevin Barney

2008 results:

q8min1

(There were no differences in the rankings when looking only at ballots that answered 2+ questions.)

Counting only ballots that answered 9+ questions:

q8min9

Ardis, not satisfied with taking best solo blog and best new blog, also takes best overall blogger, and by a sizable margin.

Q9: Best humorous post

This category hasn’t been used in previous years.

2008 results:

q9min1

(There were no differences in the rankings when looking only at ballots that answered 2+ questions.)

Counting only ballots that answered 9+ questions:

q9min9

Here’s a question where the results differ quite a bit depending on how the ballots are counting. When all ballots are counted, TAMN of Seriously So Blessed is the narrow winner. When only ballots answering 9+ questions are counted, one of the BCC Police Beat Roundtables is the winner by a pretty large margin.

Q10: Best historical post

This category hasn’t been used in previous years.

2008 results:

q10min1

(There were no differences in the rankings when looking only at ballots that answered 2+ questions.)

Counting only ballots that answered 9+ questions:

q10min9

Ardis also takes best historical post, adding to her virtual trophy case.

Q11: Best spiritual post

This category hasn’t been used in previous years, but the “best post” winners in both 2005—Wilfried Decoo’s “Coffee“—and 2006—Ardis Parshall’s “Dressing the Dead“—fit well into it.

2008 results:

q11min1

Counting only ballots that answered 2+ questions:

q11min2

Counting only ballots that answered 9+ questions:

q11min9

Either Kristine or Russell Arben Fox prevents Ardis from winning a Niblet in every single category in which she was nominated. πŸ™‚

Q12: Best doctrinal post

This category hasn’t been used in previous years, but the “best post” winner in 2007—Kristine’s “Why I Liked President Beck’s Talk (Mostly)“—might fit into it.

2008 results:

q12min1

Counting only ballots that answered 2+ questions:

q12min2

Counting only ballots that answered 9+ questions:

q12min9

The Niblet goes to AdamF or Julie M. Smith. It looks like lots of the single-question ballots that answered only this question were voting for AdamF’s post, as it fell dramatically in the rankings when only ballots that answered at least two questions were counted.

Q13: Best current events post

This category hasn’t been used in previous years.

2008 results:

q13min1

(There were no differences in the rankings when looking only at ballots that answered 2+ or 9+ questions.)

TAMN of Seriously So Blessed takes the Niblet!

Q14: Best SSM/Prop 8 post

This category hasn’t been used in previous years.

2008 results:

q14min1

(There were no differences in the rankings when looking only at ballots that answered 2+ or 9+ questions.)

Caroline of the Exponent takes the Niblet!

Q15: Best Mitt Romney post

This category hasn’t been used in previous years. It should be noted, however, that “Most overdone theme: Mitt Romney” took third in the write-in category in the 2006 Niblets, and in the 2007 Niblets, “Mitt Romney ad nauseam” was voted the worst thing in the Bloggernacle and “Theme to be least missed in 2008: Mitt Romney” took second in the write-in category.

2008 results:

q15min1

(There were no differences in the rankings when looking only at ballots that answered 2+ questions.)

Counting only ballots that answered 9+ questions:

q15min9

The Niblet goes to Scott B. Or to Scott B. in a tie with Bruce Webster.

Q16: Nicest “evil villain”/wolf in sheep’s clothing — Now corrected to include Andrew S!

This category hasn’t been used in previous years.

2008 results:

q16min1

Counting only ballots that answered 2+ questions:

q16min2

(There were no differences in the rankings when looking only at ballots that answered 9+ questions.)

The Niblet goes to Bridget Jack Meyers. She clearly must have very realistic-looking sheep’s clothing if she’s able to fool the hard-nosed T&S crowd into having her guest blog! πŸ™‚

Q17: Most blatant example of navel-gazing

This category hasn’t been used in previous years.

2008 results:

q17min1

Counting only ballots that answered 2+ questions:

q17min2

(There were no differences in the rankings when looking only at ballots that answered 9+ questions.)

That’s two and a half Niblets (the half is for Best humorous post) for Seriously So Blessed if you’re keeping score. Ardis still has the lead with four.

Q18: Best contribution to the Bloggernacle

This category hasn’t been used in previous years.

2008 results:

q18min1

(There were no differences in the rankings when looking only at ballots that answered 2+ or 9+ questions.)

Tracy M takes the Niblet!

Q19: Write-in

Past winners:

  • 2005: (The category was not used.)
  • 2006: Best podcast: Mormon Stories
  • 2007: Best controversies: Mormon grad students on welfare (Devyn S. at Mormon Mentality); Waldorf style nursery (Artemis at FMH)

2008 results:

q19min1

(There were no differences in the rankings when looking only at ballots that answered 2+ questions.)

Counting only ballots that answered 9+ questions:

q19min9

BCC’s sideblog takes the Niblet!

Concluding Bits

With the voting dataset assembled, I was able to ask two more potentially interesting questions. I’ll share what I found in case you’re interested too.

First, on what days were most ballots cast? I expected that there would be many cast at the beginning, and then fewer with each passing day. This is what we got:

ballotsperday

So I was approximately correct, but I didn’t anticipate the small recovery near the end. Perhaps this is when everyone put in their single-question ballots!

Which questions did voters spend the most time on? The WP-Polls plugin records the time each question is answered, but only to the nearest minute. As you might guess, most votes were cast less than a minute apart. I tried looking at the average time between consecutive questions, but these values are highly skewed, and influenced by a few people who appear to have left the page entirely in between questions only to return another day to finish. I ended up settling on counting how many people spent more than one minute between each pair of questions. Since varying numbers of people answered each question, I looked at this as a percentage:

timebetweenq

Note that the figure starts with Question 2 because I don’t have a time before Question 1 to count from.

It’s difficult to draw inferences from this figure because the percentages are based on only those ballots where people voted for two consecutive questions, which as we saw at the beginning, is a fairly small number of ballots. Those who are missing from this calculation may have in fact pondered one of the questions at such great length that they never got around to answering it. But to the degree that we can make an inference, it looks like voters ran quickly through the beginning questions about blogs, but slowed down with the later questions. This would make sense given simply the amount of material to read even if you only read the post titles and comment summaries, for example. The question voters were most likely to spend some time on was Question 7, Most memorable comment. Perhaps this suggests that they were following the links to go read the comments, which would have been good. I can definitely see doing this while not doing the same with the nominated posts, as posts tend to be so much longer than comments, and I tend to have a short attention span. πŸ™‚

Okay, the floor is yours now. Did your favorite blogs, bloggers, or commenters win? Or were they unfairly dismissed? Is there more (or less!) you’d like to see in next year’s Niblets?

Comments

comments

Comments 77

  1. Ziff, this is really fantastic. Great analysis, and I appreciate your addressing some of the concerns that were brought up on the Niblets thread.
    Congratulations to all our winners!!

  2. Well done, Ziff. Very interesting. You should definitely do this again next year, but earlier, and with some thought to the nominations process. (On the latter, maybe have rounds of voting for some categories.)

  3. “The first four and the last four groups of questions kind of hang together, but I don’t know why all the love for Best doctrinal post.”

    Just so I understand, if someone’s nomination attracts a lot of single-issue voters, they don’t count as much? I concede victory to Julie!

    Apparently my aunts and cousins wanted to support me. πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for doing all this Ziff, it was all interesting to look through.

  4. Since Tamn (that is, her character) likely doesn’t know there is a bloggernacle, someone should inform her of her wins!

  5. I voted from my computer, and my spouse voted from theirs at about the same time, discussing them as we went. Since we have one broadband modem, all computers on our home network will show the same IP. So if I read the opening paragraph correctly, one of us had our vote nullified, and it would appear that it was whoever cast their vote last?

    Or did you only throw out the votes that showed a change in the IP address?

  6. Alright, VICTORY IS MINE!

    Fabulous analysis, Ziff. Way to crack down on those ballot stuffers.

    My guest-blogging time at T&S is all part of Kaimi Wenger’s nefarious scheme to convert T&S readers to atheism, Wicca, and New Order Mormonism. Because evangelical Christians are good at converting Mormons to those things.

  7. Post
    Author

    Thanks for your kind words, TT, BiV, Benjamin, Ronan, Adam, and Jack.

    Ronan–yes, there’s definitely lots that we’re going to re-think when doing this next year. Thanks for your suggestion.

    No need to concede victory, Adam. You can just argue that the analysis of all ballots is more complete, and so provides a better picture of the will of the voters. πŸ™‚ I presented both sets (well, all three) because I wasn’t sure which to go with and thought I’d let the readers choose.

    Kari, if your computers show the same IP address exactly, then the polls shouldn’t have allowed both of you to vote, since the plugin only allows one vote from each IP address. But if it did then I guess I don’t know what happened. I didn’t consider the way you and your spouse voted, though, and I’d love to get more information from you so I can avoid unfairly discarding any ballots next time. Would you be willing to email me? (ziff at zelophehadsdaughters dot com)

  8. Simply wonderful as always, Ziff. Terrific analysis of the numbers. I enjoy the Niblets and hope they are done again next year.

  9. Great stuff, Ziff. And congrats to Ardis for kicking some major trash. πŸ˜‰

    What struck me is the relatively small number of folks who voted. After adjusting for ballot stuffers, and taking into account those who voted twice, it appears that the entire pool was just over 1,000. In a Church of several million, to be a member of the Bloggernacle Ward must mean that you did something pretty special in the pre-mortal realms.

  10. Ziff-
    Thanks for the analysis. I think however, it is only fair to count all the votes as equally valid. Let me explain. I don’t know all the ISPs people use, but most that I am familiar with use DHCP to assign addresses. Typically these addresses don’t change often (read: once a year for Comcast). So I very highly doubt that someone’s IP address changed in the middle of a vote.

    Next, I think there is likely something valid that Kari pointed out. Most organizations, and even many households these days sit behind a NAT. The NAT is a network translation device. This means that behind the NAT each computer is on a separate subnet sharing a primary IP address to the outside world. BYU certainly falls in this camp. They have a few main IP addresses to the outside world, and then each computer sits behind a NAT having its own unique IP address on a subnet, but sharing the same IP address to the outside world. I know my own house is setup in this way as well. I don’t think you can prove one way or another whether or not someone was forging IP addresses to get votes, or whether a lot of people were voting from BYU or some other organization at the same time. Like I said, most organizations are this way, most universities, most businesses. Also, it does take some amount of skill, knowledge, and special software to forge IP addresses and cheat in this way. I think it is quite unlikely that someone was purposely rigging the votes unless there is a known computer scientist geek who frequents this blog (besides me).

    In short, filtering people by IP address is not a very effective method for allowing people to vote once. I think it’s only fair to either remove this restriction entirely, or come up with a different method. The only way in which this method would be fair is if we could accurately assume each computer has its own IP. I don’t think this is a good assumption given the often complex networking that goes on in many organizations.

  11. I would think a fair amount of blog reading and writing takes place at the workplace. So if more than one person in the same office reads the same blogs, that might reasonably explain the similar IP addresses. More so maybe than the idea of a person frantically running from one computer to the next dishonestly stuffing ballots?

    Though I am not sure how that would even be allowed. There were friends of mine at my job who wanted to vote but it would not let them – because presumably I had already voted and it would not allow similar IPs to vote.

    If a person voted for some categories one day and voted for others later on in the week, did your analysis still calculate it as the same ballot? Might there also be situations where people would vote for some categories one day from one computer, take some time to read the blogs in other categories and a few days later finish voting from another computer? I know I did this – and apparently therefore, my votes were dismissed in the breakdown.

    And for the record, since it was determined early on that the Nibblet results would not count this year, I never really checked back to see the final results. If in fact I did end up winning best layout/graphics, then I decline the award. Then again according to this exciting analysis, maybe I didn’t win it after all.

  12. Matsby:

    Having declined an Academy Award nomination for his appearance in the 1961 film The Hustler, [George C.] Scott returned his Oscar for Patton, stating in a letter to the Academy that he didn’t feel himself to be in competition with other actors. However, also regarding this second rejection of the Academy Award, Scott famously said elsewhere, “The whole thing is a goddamn meat parade. I don’t want any part of it.”—Wikipedia

    Yet, according to the Academy, Scott is still listed as the nom for The Hustler and winner for Patton.

    (…IMO, an artist’s indifference to acclaim can be a useful personality trait, as note Katherine Hepburn’s characteristic boycots of such awards ceremonies. A quote wrt her acting style:

    Her director in that picture, Cukor, once told McCalls that Hepburn refused to play for audience sympathy. “Of course,” he added, “her quality of not asking for pity, not caring whether people liked her or not, was ideal for ‘The Philadelphia Story.’ “

    )))

  13. I apologize for my threadjack: There is the parenthetical “(declined)” listed after Scott’s award (as well as there is after Brando’s, two years later. — And what follows is the context wrt my statement about K. Hepburn):

    [1974]: Katharine Hepburn made her first and only appearance at the ceremony to present The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award to her longtime friend Lawrence Weingarten. Whenever she won an Oscar, she always had either the presenter or another person associated with her film accept it on her behalf. Upon taking the stage, she received a standing ovation, to which she replied “I’m living proof that a person can wait forty-one years to be unselfish.”

  14. Matsby #19“And for the record, since it was determined early on that the Nibblet results would not count this year”

    What?

    For the record, what does “count” or “not count” mean? Fill me in?

  15. This kind of reminds me of when I come home from my Wednesday men’s club golf tournament and brag to my wife about how I won $25. Never mind that I missed out on 6 billable hours at the office…..

  16. Ziff,

    My mistake. I thought my spouse was voting at the same time as I, but was just conversing about my votes with me. I’m not sure my spouse ever tried to vote, but if so, it would have been after my ISP changed our IP (which it does about every other day).

  17. Well with all the complaining and questioning of the contest and the process and the nominations, no matter who won, people would say it doesn’t count because this or that was done wrong. This site shouldn’t have been included in this category, so it threw off the votes. This person does not really meet such-and-such qualifications, so they shouldn’t be included. The people voting for this site are their relatives who don’t really know the other nominations. The people who voted for this site only voted in 5 other categories, so the winner could be ___ or ___.

  18. Oh, gotcha. I thought you meant that someone officially said “this doesn’t count”, lol, but whoever would say something like that really seems to be a bit childish (no personal offense intended to anyone there), “Hey no fair! It doesn’t count!” …when really when you get down to it, “count” doesn’t mean a thing, because no one gets any award here other than a self-pat on the back, and another chance for people to look at their blog or post, which they get just by being nominated. I agree with others, it’s more about building the community and remembering some good stuff. In my case, I read many new posts and enjoyed them.

    Ziff does deserve an award!

  19. re 28:

    so, because there was so much complaining and question of the vote results in 2000, it just “didn’t count.” there just wasn’t a president from 2000 to 2004 because none of it counted.

  20. Post
    Author

    Andrew–sorry about leaving you out! I was thinking maybe you’re right and you were disqualified for not being evil enough or something, but you were definitely in there. I’ll put up a corrected figure with you in it as soon as I can.

  21. Post
    Author

    jmb, it sounds like you’re concerned about two separate issues. As far as allowing only one vote per IP address, I can see what you’re saying about how that may unfairly disqualify people who share an IP address with someone else who has already voted. I think we were pretty limited in how we could prevent (or reduce) ballot stuffing. We chose the WP-Polls plugin because it would at least reduce it. We’ll definitely look at different ways of reducing ballot stuffing next year without accidentally preventing people from voting. Do you know of a better way?

    Regarding this, though

    I think it is quite unlikely that someone was purposely rigging the votes unless there is a known computer scientist geek who frequents this blog (besides me).

    I don’t know if it was a known computer science geek, but it was pretty clearly not just a random cluster of votes. Like I said in the post, I decided to do this after looking at the data. I didn’t intend to do anything like it a priori. The pattern was just too obvious to ignore. Votes came in from a particular IP address range at a fairly low level, and then seven ballots came in, each separated by 2-3 minutes, and each voting for the same answers on the same questions. I think it’s pretty clear that it was intentional and not chance.

  22. Post
    Author

    Matsby, I don’t know if you’re serious about this:

    If a person voted for some categories one day and voted for others later on in the week, did your analysis still calculate it as the same ballot? Might there also be situations where people would vote for some categories one day from one computer, take some time to read the blogs in other categories and a few days later finish voting from another computer? I know I did this – and apparently therefore, my votes were dismissed in the breakdown.

    but you have nothing to fear. Your votes wouldn’t be discarded if you broke them across computer. They would only be split, and therefore not included in the analyses that required 9+ answers to be counted. If they were only broken across time, but from the same computer, they would be counted as a single ballot.

    Congratulations, by the way, on your best layout/graphics win. I hadn’t seen your blog before it was mentioned in the Niblets, and I’m happy to have found it. You’re hilarious!

  23. Post
    Author

    Kaimi, you’re exactly right. Seriously So Blessed was clearly not benefiting from a bunch of single-item voters. In fact, I think it actually moved up in at least one analysis when more answers were required on a ballot for it to be counted.

    Kim, I do have a family. Sort of. They’re considering disowning me. They put up with me only because while I do spend way too much time putting posts together, I only do it rarely.

    Kevin Barney, Kaimi, Matt, BHodges, Hawkgrrrl, Mormon Heretic, and Devyn, thanks!

    And Matt, I can’t wait for Geoff to host the Niblets next year since I know how much he loves them! πŸ™‚

  24. So long as you’re correcting the Nicest Evil Villain category Ziff, I wouldn’t mind having my last name spelling corrected. I know Aaron’s last name is spelled “Shafovaloff” as well, though I bet he gets even more misspellings than I do. πŸ˜›

  25. Wonderful job, Ziff. I was very happy to see the results explained in such detail. This was MUCH more than just a recitation of the numbers; I am impressed.

    Fwiw, I was extremely happy to see the love for My Religious Blog. It is hilarious and deserved to win or vie for the award where it was nominated.

  26. @Ziff
    “We chose the WP-Polls plugin because it would at least reduce it. We’ll definitely look at different ways of reducing ballot stuffing next year without accidentally preventing people from voting. Do you know of a better way?”

    Well, there are some things you could do. Do you have access to the MAC address of each vote? Filtering by MAC address would definitely be more reliable (although not impossible to still ballot stuff). I just know that by blocking by IP address you could potentially cut off a significant portion of votes from a major, and most likely contributing institution like BYU. That frustrates users, and prevents lots of votes from coming in. And the worst part is that you would have no idea if it’s even happening if it just simply blocks them.

    “I think it’s pretty clear that it was intentional and not chance.”

    That’s fine. I believe you. I think the bigger problem is the one above, that of blocking votes because they come from a single IP address.

    As for suggestions, here is a list of polling alternatives for WordPress:
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/tags/poll
    Also, a pretty popular thing to do is have the poll actually run by some other entity, embed the css/php code in your own webpage (post).

    I see that those aren’t perfect solutions. The only “perfect” solution is to have everyone sign up on the blog and actually login to vote. That would be a hassle (you’d have to administer the users obviously), but it would produce the most accurate results I think. Also, if the ballot stuffing isn’t too significant (statistically) it might be better just to risk it. The amount of added votes you may get from allowing votes from the same IP might drown out the ballot stuffers. Of course then it’s difficult to distinguish the ballot stuffers. There’s not really very good solution for internet polling.

  27. Post
    Author

    Thanks so much for the pointers, jmb! Unfortunately, the polls plugin we used only recorded IP addresses, and not MAC addresses. But we’ll definitely look at the different plugin alternatives you pointed to. Like you said, there probably is no one best solution that balances usability with prevention of ballot stuffing.

  28. Ziff–

    re your response that SSB was not benefiting from single-question voters, well…yeah. I don’t know–and don’t care–how SSB got the votes it got, but concluding that it got no benefit from single question voters is not a slam dunk. Your cut offs were 2+ and 9+…now, let’s count and see how many categories TAMN/SSB is nominated in … a truly devoted SSB-bot would vote…wait a second…nine times.

    That’s right…nine times [/Ed Rooney’s voice in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off].

  29. Post
    Author

    Okay, Andrew, I’ve got you correctly added to the “Nicest Evil Villain” category. My error was that I had incorrectly combined your votes with votes for Aaron Shafovaloff. So with you separated correctly, chanson jumps to #2.

    Also, Jack, sorry I spelled your name wrong! I’ve got it corrected, as well as Aaron Shafovaloff’s. Now “Shafovaloff” is a challenge, but how could I get “Meyers” wrong? I must have been thinking of Randy Myers of the Nasty Boys on the 1990 Reds.

  30. Tracy, in your case, in complete sincerity, you have the undying and eternal gratitude of hundreds (at least) for your candor and grace amid very difficult circumstances – and for the exceptional quality of the way you share your struggles. May we all receive badges some day that simply say:

    “We approached the grace and humility of Tracy M.”

  31. I thought it looked as though some of the categories in the middle, like maybe 3-7 didn’t have any change at all in the vote counts for several days. Any idea if that’s correct? Unfortunately I’m not sure which categories they were, maybe starting with best new blog, and then continuing in order for about four categories?

  32. I have the absolute perfect solution to blog-based voting dynamics (which can be listened to or not, at anyone’s discretion!)

    The voters are bloggers. And bloggers write. Therefore require ballots to include words of explanations for each and every vote — eg “Jack’s for me’s deserves the 2008 Niblet for best wolf-in-sheep’s clothing because blah blah.” Trust me, people will be reluctant to vote who are unfamiliar with the item being voted but are simply friends and relatives of a nominee. And ballot stuffers would be required to come up with fully distinct writing styles and voting rationales for each multiple ballot: a fairly complex undertaking that would be harder to pull off than you would realize; plus the effort involved would tend to dissuade any except the most brazen of sockpuppets, IMO.

  33. Oh — speaking of bots: Wouldn’t it be cool if there would be a way to generate a mass e-newsletter to each blog listed on, say, LDSBlogs.com asking if the recipients might consent to provide a link on their blog to the 2009 Niblets nominations? (As an idea to drum up more participation, of course.)

  34. Thanks Ziff! Very tasty stats and analysis.

    I had such a busy week, I wasn’t able to vote in each and every catagory, because I didn’t have time to read all the posts nominated before the vote. I know I got to more than half though, so I’m feeling better about my credibility as a vote. And now I can go back and read all the nominated posts, and prioritize my reading based on how those posts ranked. Yes, I did read all the memorable comment nominations, because comments are short, just as you analyzed.

    I’m happy to see TAMN vindicated. I know I’m not the only bloggernacle reader who’s an occasional reader of dead-on TAMN.

    I like how the 9+ vote sifts out the Segullah/Juvenile Instructor race for best not-big blog. I love both. Segullah’s my home base, and I was pretty tickled we were nominated in the JI category and made a good show.

  35. Thanks a ton, Ziff. And thanks to everyone at MM.

    Segullah is delighted to share the honor of best group blog with JI. Do we each get half a badge to post? Like one of those BFF lockets, perhaps?

  36. Am I the only person who thinks it’s a bit odd that the folks who cared about the Niblets enough to bitterly complain about the open nomination and open voting process haven’t even bothered to utter a peep about the final results? (Maybe because the results show their concerns were largely unfounded.)

    Poor taste.

  37. Or maybe, Eric, it’s because we’re damned if we do (“you’re taking this too seriously!”) and damned if we don’t (“poor taste”).

  38. “Whiner” (#58),

    Or you could just act graciously and be polite and I can’t imagine anyone would have a problem with that.

  39. #62, thanks for proving the point. Sad.

    Thanks MM for hosting and Ziff for working on the numbers. I think the concerns expressed in the past thread are valid and still valid and that #58 is right on. I think it would be important and informative to include a breakdown of when votes were received. It’s just too uncanny that some blogs which shall remain nameless were making huge gains in a consistent fashion until the ruckus on the other thread and then got zero votes afterwards. And I agree with #42 that this hardly constitutes vindication for SSB’s performance. I don’t know if the analysis has taken into account things like internet proxies that could allow some misguided fans to vote at will. This is not a complaint or a call for any action, just an observation. But the mean spiritedness of people like Eric needs to stop. Moderators?

    Though I’m encouraged by the proposal that commercial sites not be included in the next round. Hopefully that will be the case.

  40. Ziff, this is astounding.

    I promise I didn’t vote twice for anything. I voted for DKL, bookslinger, FMH, Mormon Mentality; my religious blog—my alltime new favorite blog of the year— seriouslysoblessed for layout/graphics (although I think this is a scam blog with people paid to set it up and it sells a lot of stuff, so…humorous post: Julie Smith’s post is the only one that made me laugh, I didn’t think the others were all that funny, although some made me smile.

    historical post: much as it pains me, (and you know why), ardis; kaimi’s answers; we had the best mitt romney stuff, you guys; Andrew Ainsworth; well, I think the nicest evil villain is DKL, because he’s really a teddy bear once you get to know him, very kind and caring and a wonderful father; also Adam Greenwood is a nice person, I’ve never seen the side of Adam others describe; not to be talking people in the third person;

    current events: DKL, hands down (and Mormon Mentality, I think we rock that subject, but it’s partly because I read People magazine every night before the scriptures) ; Julie Smith Blood on the doorposts & Kaimi answers;

    I, too, thought Tracy’s post should be in a class of its own; and I did laugh at “I was hungered and ye shot me.”

    I wish, like, Geoff?, that we could just nominate because I had a blast this year reading the posts and catching up on stuff I’d missed since now I have about ten minutes a week to blog. You guys did a really good job of showcasing the excellence. Maybe next year we could have the class of their own category without a winner, just the really top posts.

    Rex Lee, to his wife, Janet, while battling cancer: “I like us.” That’s how I feel about the bloggernacle, warts and all. You guys have saved me in so many ways.

  41. “But the mean spiritedness of people like Eric needs to stop. Moderators?” Sorry, but this ain’t BCC. If you would like I can send you his email address and you can go slash his tires, but that’s where we draw the line.

  42. Wow. I got that many votes for best group blog when I’ve barely posted this year and it’s not a group blog? Heh. But thanks to whomever voted…

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