Posted by: Smash Daddy | November 7, 2011

Smady on the Voting Scandal

I sit here once again, embroiled in the middle of a massive scandal, this time on voting. The whole situation has made me sick to my stomach, and it’s certainly not made more comfortable by how complicated it is, or how certain individuals are painting it to be something far different than what it is. If nothing else, the events of the past week illustrate how the current system of voting is fundamentally flawed and has descended to the point that trust is at a low and mounting responsibilities have made the vote guru role untenable.

Lets start at the beginning… I’ve been finding it hard to cope, as I have omitted some facts about the whole voting process that I felt were my duty to keep scarce. For one, I did discount one vote list – that of ProfPeanut. Before you grab your torches and pitchforks, the time at which I received the votes, I had my doubts about the user’s authenticity. Not only that, but ProfPeanut sent in his votes at the last second and their contents were quite unnerving, as they seemed to have a bias toward the very members I thought he was an alternate account of… which now seems unlikely. Rool previously had spoken to me about how he had indeed done the same thing in contests prior, omitting vote lists because he judged them to be irredeemable, without the consent of other leaders.

The second mistake I made was in the actual counting. Being that I do the user rankings I figured I had this down to a tee, but apparently not. I screwed up hard on the counting in random places and even after my double check, I was not remotely sure I had corrected myself. It was an odd and confusing process, but you can get yourself into a mental stupor when you’re just counting for hours upon hours. As an example, I found that around mid-way through the contest, Pennywise was in fact three points lower than it should have been. At the end of the voting period, I went back and double checked everything – especially the top ten – but not to a level I was happy with. I was sure, like with the case of Rainbow Dash, that I had failed to add up the numbers perfectly, but I was being rushed.

That is the problem with this system. There is no oversight for the vote guru and it has devolved into a race to see how fast you can produce the totals, and as there was previously no scrutiny put on the totals, no one would be the wiser if you did screw up. Similarly, last contest saw leaders rushing through shifts [I’m guilty of this too, to be fair] and Warlord even posted the top fifty before I did, just so we could get it out as soon as possible. What this meant is that I was under a lot of pressure at the time, and I may have made some diabolical mistakes on certain totals, but it was never my intention to skew them in a way that favoured me or my view of the sets.

I’m sorry if I screwed over certain sets by doing this, but there’s also simply no way of telling if the totals collected by Agi and others is actually more accurate. Aside from my own problems, there was also a lot of meta-voting – I mentioned a couple of instances to Warlord [Pennywise-related], but the truth is that it was quite prevalent, as people had apparently figured out that not using all your votes benefited your own sets. If people want to do this, it’s up to them, but I can’t imagine they would be truthful about it when asked to “voluntarily” hand them over to Agi or others.

You could also make a point of Phatcat’s involvement, who claims to have sent in a perfect set of votes that he has deleted and has a trail of other private messages directed to himself to prove it. This in fact does not prove anything, except that he might have covered his own trail by doing that or sent an earlier version by accident. Nevertheless, the idea that my simply rumbling his tree caused him to valiantly leap down to defend the virtue of the top fifty – which he vehemently hates – and only coincidentally get one up on me – who he vehemently hates – is to me very suspect, and his votes could have been for anything as far as I know. I told Agi before most of this started, I tried to contact Phatcat at the time of voting, and he ignored me [he denies this].

So after all of that, what is the solution? I can say for myself, that I believe I never acted maliciously or selfishly in how executed my job as vote guru… I was overwhelmed. The leadership’s worst trait can be its ability to throw people in at the deep end to sink or swim. This leads to either the leader failing, or the current role of that leader being filled by the same person indefinitely as they refuse to pass on their knowledge. Personally, I don’t feel this falls entirely on my shoulders, though you may disagree. I would have asked for help if it was there to be given.

I think what we should aim to do, and what Agi suggested from the start, is have two vote gurus conducting the voting. This would entirely eliminate any chance of bias, but would also prevent many mistakes when the two gurus are comparing notes. I’ve already requested Junahu come help fulfil this role, and he has said he is considering it. It could also be a good idea to get rid of the shifting period entirely, as too often it acts as a way to justify rushing the tallying period as we can just “fix it later.” I fail to see what role shifts facilitate beyond that.

In truth, I have heard stories of the past vote gurus doing pretty amoral things and never being caught up on it just because of the secrecy involved in the system of voting. I’ve already mentioned an example of Rool, but I know MT also messed with the picks in MYM9. I think perhaps now is the time to move with the winds of change, as it has become quite clear that the current system of voting is inherently flawed.

Maybe this process of trying to collect up votes again was exactly what we needed to see through our own façade. Though, I can’t dictate what happens next. I’m glad to have confessed my guilt here – I’ve been feeling quite ashamed of the part I played in all of this. I hope we can all move on from here to make the community more open and understanding.

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Responses

  1. I think there are two lessons to be learned here:

    1) Unnecessary hatred garners a LOT of suspicion if something happens later down the line (the current Khold/MW debacle is another example).

    2) If mistakes were made in the past that people got away with, that doesn’t make it right to do it again.

    Thanks for owning up to your own mistakes here (though some might not accept it right away). Just remember that there is almost no such thing as absolute proof for either side in a situation like this, and and that unless you put certain things behind you and move on, others won’t be so quick to give you the benefit of the doubt and do the same.

  2. “Rool previously had spoken to me about how he had indeed done the same thing in contests prior, omitting vote lists because he judged them to be irredeemable, without the consent of other leaders.”

    Er, I have no excuse for that except that it was a different time when there were more voters and less control and MYM was less competitive – but one asterisk, because you make it sound like it was me single-handedly taking the initiative to discount votes. It was Warlord and I together that would go over the vote lists of people like kirbywizard or Mario_and_Sonic_Guy and occasionally – now to my regret – choose to discount them, since it was abundantly clear that they hadn’t actually done their reading. And quite often I was the one arguing against him to leave them be.

    This concept of meta-voting is to me absolutely repugnant. It’s the most unpleasant and untrue accusation I’ve ever had levelled at me in MYM and I’m not happy with what it says about our priorities.

    Otherwise a fair article, although I’d be glad to read another one from PC’s perspective and get an evenly balanced picture of just what’s going on here.

  3. “I would have asked for help if it was there to be given”
    ¬_¬ You knew I was there and willing. We even agreed you’d send me the vote lists (stripped of names at your discretion) after you had finished collecting them, so I could perform my own tallying and analysis. I can only assume this didn’t happen because I would have raised a big stink over ProfPeanut’s votes being discounted. Which I would have, and which I will do now.
    I was livid when Khold’s votes were discussed and discounted. So I’m understandably beside myself with horrible rage knowing ProfPeanut’s votes were discounted privately.

    I’ll leave it at that. Remember that I’m only angry at you as an MYMer, not as a person. Please rely more on your fellow leaders

    Voting and tallying needs a major redesign, or rather, it needs any kind of design at all.

    For the voters, please use the EXACT names of the movesets. Use what the Stadium’s Moveset list shows the moveset as, and include correct capitalisation and punctuation (for example, one of my MYMXI movesets is called “The Creature” and NOT “_____”). In fact, just highlight the moveset on the moveset list and copy/paste it directly into your own vote list.

    For Tallying, create a sheet (using anything you feel might work) with EVERY set in the contest listed on it. Then Ctrl F each vote you get and add it to that set. Don’t try to actually add the exact values, have three seperate listed values, one for the number of {weakvotes}, one for the number of (regularvotes), and one for the [Supervotes]. Go slowly, and archive the entire list after every 3-5 voters you tally up. After both gurus reach the 3-5 voters mark, compare the two lists. If they are identical, move on to the next batch of voters. If not, both gurus must re-tally.

    Problems with a voter’s vote list must be brought up with the whole leadership, AND the voter in question.

  4. Problems with a voter’s vote list must be brought up with the whole leadership, AND the voter in question

    Because there’s no way somebody would lie favorably about their own votes, am I right?

    If it isn’t obvious enough, yes, trust has hit rock bottom.

  5. “Er, I have no excuse for that except that it was a different time when there were more voters and less control and MYM was less competitive – but one asterisk, because you make it sound like it was me single-handedly taking the initiative to discount votes.”

    I wasn’t chastising you for it. I was providing an example of how the system encourages this kind of behaviour, even in someone very well-trusted.

    “¬_¬ You knew I was there and willing. We even agreed you’d send me the vote lists (stripped of names at your discretion) after you had finished collecting them, so I could perform my own tallying and analysis.”

    I was waiting for you to ask me for the data, I guess. You weren’t meant to be helping in the first place, so it would have been embarrassing… not quite as embarrassing as this, admittedly.

    Your idea for a co-guru is pretty smart: obviously, we can’t force absolute strictness on the spelling, but there can be a small margin of error.

  6. Sorry, but what the hell is this ‘new’ voting scandal? There was a mis-count somewhere?

  7. I’ve created a mass (1452 possibilities) spreadsheet which allows for every conceivable combination of weak, regular, and super votes up to 10 WV/RVs and 11 SVs, as well as tallying every single vote list Thrice and I have received and checking the math repeatedly with different sets of eyes. So yeah, I’m pretty confident in what I have here.

    That said, if you want me to send the lists I’m using your way (I really doubt anyone will have any trouble with that, considering that you’ve already seen these lists yourself once) then I can do that.

  8. I may like to take a look at them, out of interest. It is impressive what you did with the data and it may have cracked the vote system wide open.

  9. Sorry, I just realized that my comment sounded pissed off, and I’m not, just uninformed about what this scandal is.

    I’m a little confused what you mean when you say ‘trust has hit rock bottom’ Warlord. That’s a very adversarial approach to voting and movesets. It’s not a war between the leadership, which is trying to create an honest Top 50 and an army of trolls trying to ruin everything. If there’s a controversy about why a vote list is wonky looking though, why shouldn’t there be a chance for a person to explain their votes or have a discussion if there’s ambiguity or clear bias for a certain member of the contest? Even if you didn’t believe what someone said, what would there be to lose. Rool could have proven that he wasn’t Prof. Peanut, and honestly, I’m a little insulted by the implication that Rool would stoop to making an extra set of votes to win the contest.

    As I said when Khold’s votes were secretly thrown out, I don’t think the leadership has any right to remove people’s votes arbitrarily. There’s already a recourse to modify the end result through Top 50 manipulation, so vote manipulation seems to me to be especially slimy.

    I have no problem with voting qualifications, but if someone does qualify to vote, they should be able to vote however they please.

  10. I wasn’t implying that Peanut is Rool, I thought he could be a number of people’s alts. Considering he almost definitely isn’t one now, there’s no point in bringing up who they are.

  11. Alright then, my reading comprehension failure on that part.

  12. You could also make a point of Phatcat’s involvement, who claims to have sent in a perfect set of votes that he has deleted and has a trail of other private messages directed to himself to prove it. This in fact does not prove anything, except that he might have covered his own trail by doing that or sent an earlier version by accident. Nevertheless, the idea that my simply rumbling his tree caused him to valiantly leap down to defend the virtue of the top fifty – which he vehemently hates – and only coincidentally get one up on me – who he vehemently hates – is to me very suspect, and his votes could have been for anything as far as I know. I told Agi before most of this started, I tried to contact Phatcat at the time of voting, and he ignored me [he denies this].

    You could in fact not make a point of my involvement. You see, I could not have done that to “cover my tracks” about anything; the PM I have is from the day the votes were sent in, BEFORE they were sent in. I assume I finished it in the morning(it’s timed at around 6 am), went to bed, then sent it to you when I got up or got home from work. I see no way I could have sent older vote list when I had an up-to-date one sitting in my inbox.It also accounts for near nil; there are to many mistakes for just my votelist to clear up, even with Peanut’s DQ’d.

    The reason I’m doing this isn’t because I love the top 50; I’m doing it because I hate the current top 50 mechanics and want to drastically change. If MYM wants to make a big deal out of the top 50, then I will too. Now I have an actual case that this system is corrupt and should be changed; this has benefited me.

    When Junahu told me that my votes actually were not counted, yes, I was angry, and yes that started this whole thing, but it is not the main reason I’m doing this. As a sidenote, I may have deleted the votes I sent you, but unlike you I -DID- already the same exact votes in my PM box AND my Sent Box. There wasn’t much reason to keep the sent PM. I deleted it for the same reason I delete the PMs I send to myself; if I have something in my actual PM Box, I don’t want an identical copy sitting in my Sent Box.

    And no, you never tried to contact me about anything; I got no PMs from you, not even a Private Chat in Xat. If anything, if you thought I was purposely ignoring you, you should have told this(and, of course, the fact that my vote list was apparently fucked up) to the Leadership, and not just outright given up on it. The fact you said NOTHING about this when you’re making it out to not be such a big deal now is pretty suspicious. Though given you discounted an entire vote list without asking anyone, it is possible you thought nobody needed to know about this, for some reason or another. Probably so you’d have an excuse to discount my votes.

    And no, I am not going to get into a debate here; I planned to say this in Xat but I am never taken seriously there, and having it written out and in hard text helps a lot for reference.

  13. A lot of what you’re saying is assuming you’re telling the truth about your PMs: you could have sent off an earlier one by accident and simply be lying about it to save face or something, it’s not freaking impossible. But like LL said, the PMs are deleted and it’s pointless arguing about it. We’re getting the changes you wanted and continuing bickering about this is destructive, so lets just drop it.

  14. Alright, here’s the reference table, the handwritten (ouch) and digital copies.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AmZoIlWL-xs8dEI5SkdmUHJINGNIblhxY0hsU1hNNVE&hl=en_US&pli=1#gid=2

    Regardless of how this situation ends, this should prove an invaluable reference.

  15. The biggest thing here is not to delete the bloody vote PM’s until a good bit into the next contest; I still have -ALL- the votes from MYM9’s voting period. You do -NOT- just delete them the moment stuff ends just in case something like this happens.

  16. Will keep that in mind next time, MT.

    I feel bad for deleting mine now (sad)

  17. Oh, I didn’t mean the voters in particular. I meant the Vote Guru. They should -REALLY- hang onto the votes as long as possible in order to assure that nothing like this happens. Better safe than sorry, ya know? You -DO- have like 200 PM’s worth of space in your inbox…

  18. I agree entirely, MT. I never liked deleting votes even after a contest had passed by. You never know when they’ll come in handy.


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