Ways To Defeat The Voting Phobia

Written by Adok

A lot of diskmags have problems with collecting votesheets for their charts sections. This is the reason why Shine has recently closed its public charts and installed jury charts instead. While more than 100 voters had participated in the charts of issue 1, the number of votesheets they got for their fourth issue had decreased so much that it could be counted with less than ten fingers.

Creative minds have been thinking of solutions to this problem. One concept is to create a central place where people can vote, hence reducing the effort each voter has to make to get his votes submitted to the individual mags. An adherent of this idea is Distance of TPOLM. In a letter to me, he suggested setting up vote.scene.org. This site should contain a voteform which you can fill in online. After pressing the "submit" button, the diskmags are sent the votes which they need for their charts. For instance, if a mag hosts demo, intro and group charts, it will get the votes in these sections, and if another mag hosts demo, coder and musician charts, it will get the votes in those sections. Also, if a mag allows three places per section, it will only get the three first places the voter specified, while a mag that allows seven places per section will get the first seven places.

Of course a routine has to be implemented that detects the user's identity and does not send his votesheet to the mags he has already voted for. One way to overcome this would be to make the user register and login with a user ID and a password before he can vote. This has the drawback, of course, that it makes the voting procedure more time-consuming, which is not really what busy sceners desire. On the contrary, time is the very reason why many do not bother filling in votesheets at all. And that is what we actually want to change by creating a central place to vote. Still, this method also has many advantages. You can vote whenever you want, as only those mags which have not received your votes yet will get them. The site maintainers can support new diskmags at any time and add the sections or number of places they need to the voteform without any problem.

Actually there is a PC demoscene charts site which works based on the principle of the users' signing up. It is the Doose Charts, located at the URL http://vote.ruc.dk. However, it does not send the votes to diskmags but just keeps them for itself. That would also be okay if the Doose Charts were well known and had enough voters to be the central charts site (as the Hornet Charts used to be). Then we would not need any diskmag charts anyway. However, that is not the case. Less than a hundred voters are active, that is, they vote at least once in two months. Also, the Doose Charts site has the drawback that you can only vote for registered productions, groups, and people. In this way the maintainers have a lot of influence on the charts. Important groups such as Quad did not even appear at the time I was writing these lines. Regarding the sections, they are pretty conservative as well; there are not even charts for 4k intros and diskmags. So it is not at all a central voting place that would make the charts found in diskmags superfluous.

Distance's idea with vote.scene.org was good. Still there is a snag to it: People have to want to vote. What if they do not want to do so? After all, it is a task that requires some time and does not give you any reward in return except being listed in some voters list.

A solution that would remind and motivate people to vote, yet not being too disturbing, would be to install a vote bot on popular scene IRC channels. After all, IRC is an important and widely used means of relaxing among demo sceners. Why should they not also "work" a little when they are in the right mood? There are many idle periods on IRC which you could use to vote.

My suggestion is to place a bot on #coders, #pixel, and #thescene that informs all newly arrived people that they can vote. If they enter a certain command, such as "!vote", or simply start a DCC chat session with the bot, the voting procedure will start. It is very simple: First the bot will ask the user for his favourite demo, then, after getting the user's answer, for his second favourite demo, and so on. As soon as all sections have been gone through, the bot will store the filled vote form. All supported diskmags can then poll the latest vote forms from the bot by logging in with a special password. Alternately, the botmaster can send the voteforms to the editors via e-mail.

To grant authencity, the password system could be utilizised, too. Perhaps, however, it would be enough simply to check the user's localhost and IP address just like many bots do nowadays in order to identify the people they give ops to.

If that does not help, there is an even more radical way to get votes: to force people to fill in the votesheet before they can enter an IRC channel. From a technical point of view, this is pretty easy to implement. The channels would have to be set invite-only with only the bots having channel operator status. If someone wanted to join, he would have to contact the bot via /msg. The bot would identify the user either by a password system or by his localhost and IP. Unless he had already voted, he would then have to pass the voting procedure.

This, however, would really get on the people's nerves. Many of them would fill in garbage votesheets or just start giving a shit about the scenish IRC channels. This would be a great damage to the scene, greater than the benefit the scene would ever gain by having really representative charts.

But in theory it is feasible. So do not let it happen. Vote voluntarily before it is too late. Use your right to vote - far too many people on this world do not have it.

- afghanodok^hugi