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Letter From the Editor: Here's What We're Doing About the Voting Problem for Project of the Day

Photo of Dana Harris By Dana Harris | Indiewire July 18, 2011 at 9:28AM

This morning, IW woke to crisis in the form of our Project of the Week survey: Namely, readers really like it. So much so that some of them were gaming the system in order to see the project of their choice win. And those who were not gaming the system were, to put it mildly, pissed off.
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Letter From the Editor: Here's What We're Doing About the Voting Problem for Project of the Day

This morning, IW woke to crisis in the form of our Project of the Week survey: Namely, readers really like it. So much so that some of them were gaming the system in order to see the project of their choice win. And those who were not gaming the system were, to put it mildly, pissed off.

On the one hand: Oh, that kooky internet. You mean people sometimes do selfish and unscrupulous things there? Scandalous. Didn't we see this coming?

On the other: We didn't see it coming. The Project of the Day is an outgrowth of a longtime but mild-mannered weekly IW column, In The Works, which detailed indie films in production. We thought it would be more interesting to give each project a chance to shine each day -- and as a kicker, have readers vote on the one they'd most like to see. And we'd work on throwing in a prize.

Turns out we have a very popular feature, and we're going to be able to offer a great prize. But if our voting system is easy to manipulate and if we have angry mobs even before the prize's announcement… well, clearly, we need to get our house in order.

As some readers have pointed out, it's not like we ever said explicitly that you couldn't vote multiple times. An ethicist might respond that since you have to clear your computer's identity to do so, there's a tacit understanding that multiple votes is a kind of cheating. And we're siding with the ethicists.

So this is what we're going to do:


  • Project of the Day continues as always, Monday-Thursday. If you want to be considered, please submit your project here.

  • We're going to create a new polling system. None of them are perfect, but we can do better.
  • Until we've devised the more-secure system, we're going to suspend voting.

  • And it's painful, but: We're going to nullify the five weekly winners so far. We don't want anyone to cast aspersions on the projects or those who voted for them. We want this series, and the films, to have every chance of success. On our end, this is the only fair way we know of to ensure that happens.

  • Once we have the system, all Projects of the Day so far will be put to a vote in the same format: The four projects in a week will go to a vote, for one winner. Those four weekly winners will go to a vote, with one monthly winner. And it's that monthly winner who gets the big monthly prize.

Thanks for reading. If you have questions or comments, there's the comments section; we read them all. Or email me: dana@indiewire.com.







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