Senior Superlatives: What we learned about voting

voting

Now that the results of the Class of 2015’s Senior Superlatives are posted, we at BlogDailyHerald wanted to explain to our readers, particularly those who voted, some of the issues we encountered and our plans for next year’s superlative voting.

We’re happy to be able to provide the seniors with this opportunity to celebrate their class, and get a little bit high school right before graduating from college. However, because this is only our second year of producing Senior Superlatives, our voting method is still a work in progress.

It all started when we received an email from a concerned student that pointed out one poll had over 700 votes more than any other category, and that the increase had happened “suddenly.” We forwarded the email to our webmaster, who did some investigative tech work, and let us know that in the course of about 19 minutes, approximately 120 votes were submitted from “such exotic locations as Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, Ukraine, Luxembourg.”

Considering that the first was dissolved in 1993 with the fall of the Soviet Union, the edit board here at Blog was pretty confused as to wtf was going on. Our webmaster confirmed that “the IPs from which said votes were submitted [were] all identified TOR nodes” and that someone used a proxy server to submit extra votes. This was true for multiple nominees in the category.

There’s no way of knowing who, and it is not our intention to point blame towards any nominee or student at Brown. Hopefully, next year we can avoid this sort of issue — which resulted in the category being thrown out — by ensuring that all votes must come from a brown.edu email address.

We wrote on the 2015 voting post that “everyone with a Brown email — freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, professors, their pets — is eligible to vote.” As evidenced by the above fiasco, this was inaccurate. The reality is anyone who went to our webpage from their own IP address could vote once.

Secondly, we got several emails from students who lived off-campus complaining the voting polls would claim they’d already voted when they hadn’t. This is because our polls are IP address-based, and living in the same house with the same WiFi network means you have the same IP (This is a non-issue on the Brown network). What this also means is that people could vote multiple times, using their WiFi network and their cell service on various devices.

Due to our usage of this IP address-based system, we didn’t have any sort of technical precaution to ensure you had a Brown email to vote — the statement was more of an honor system type of disclaimer. However, the reality is that a lot of nominees ended up sharing the link on their Facebook pages, or soliciting votes from home friends, family, people on the street (or voting for themselves multiple times), etc. So, not everyone who voted had Brown email address. Next year, the polls will require you to enter your Brown email before you vote, so that the superlatives are for only our community, not people you went to summer camp with.

Congratulations again to the seniors who won and were nominated, and to the Class of 2015 in general on their impending release into The Real World. Bloglove to you all.

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1 Comment

  1. 5th Grade History

    Were there any votes from the Ottoman Empire? Maybe from Prussia?

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