s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: Rallying the troops

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Rallying the troops

Over the last several days, I've had a couple of friends ask me to vote for them in online contests. One of them lets you cast a vote once a day, and as I've seen my friend's entry rise in the stats, I've realized that success in these types of contests is due more to an ability to mobilize masses of friends than it is to innate talent. Don't get me wrong — I wouldn't support either of these people if I didn't think they had talent and deserved to succeed — but I'm not actually invested in either competition and I suspect that most of the people who are voting are in a similar position.

I got to thinking about how I might try and fix such a system so that more people were voting for people besides their friends. I think I would set up the voting system so that everyone who wanted to vote for someone would also be presented with four other randomly selected entries and required to cast a "second place vote" for one of them. For the sake of honesty, the second place vote would probably need to count less than a "first place" vote, but since the second place votes would presumably be made without personal bias, they could end up determining the winner.



At October 07, 2009 11:10 PM, Blogger Kyle Dickerson said...

Oo, Oo, pick me!! Voting Systems are fun. The main problem with your plan is that the voter has no incentive to vote responsibly in the 2nd place vote. If you force them to vote they may just select whatever to get through it.

A more fair system, but less popular, may be to only present a random panel to vote on, preventing voting for a specific person on-demand. Then it's more about the content and less about mobilizing their friend base.

At October 08, 2009 10:40 AM, Blogger Peter said...

For extra fun, imagine a political system that used the Katya Model. It would probably be manipulated just as much as the current model, but it would provide very different incentives to political candidates.

At October 08, 2009 10:44 AM, Blogger Katya said...

Hmm. Good point. I guess I was trying to harness the motivation to vote for one specific person into motivation to cast a meaningful secondary vote.

I wonder if there's a good way of generally separating random clicks from meaningful clicks? What if you presented the same set of photos twice, but in a different order, then threw out the results if they clicked on different photos?

At October 08, 2009 10:45 AM, Blogger Katya said...

Peter (the first comment was for Kyle) - This reminds me of the weird coalitions that sometimes crop up in in parliamentary systems.


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