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How Not To Run a Poll

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There is a very good writeup by Paul Lamere of Music Machinery of how Anonymous subverted a major poll by Time. AKA “moot wins, Time Inc. loses“.

A number of things strike me:

  • Despite how obvious it is, Time deny that the poll was manipulated, stating they have safeguards in place, etc, etc. I guess humble “we fucked up” pie is hard to eat
  • For an influential (ie well-funded) publication they sure have no idea how to protect a poll
  • Anonymous are (as ever) a force not to be trifled with. Sure, they probably won’t topple regimes or enact social change any time soon, but if you draw their ire or attention, you’ll have a hell of a storm to weather.
  • reCAPTCHA wasn’t subvertable, even in the hands of these determined people. This is a Good Thing.

There’s not much else besides these scantly-150 words to say. The writeup is most detailed, although it would have been interesting if Paul had elaborated on how they determined Time’s ranking algorithm to eliminate the need for 46 000 votes. Well worth the read though.


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