The Sad Truth of Voter Fraud

Someone discovered that the IP logging that was supposed to work on the poll I set up wasn’t working any better than the vote tallies at the bottom, and sat running up the numbers on the courses he or she wanted.

I was watching the tallies pretty carefully, and while the numbers changed, the percentages didn’t. And then all of a sudden, several courses pulled massively ahead, and, miracle of miracles, about 70 more votes were cast than had people actually visiting that page.

In EACH of the two surveys.

And again, suddenly out of nowhere, the constant frontrunners in each of the two surveys had fallen far behind leaders that had added about … wait for it … about seventy or so new clicks behind the miracle come-from-behind leaders.

So the survey is closed. I’ll go with the numbers I posted yesterday for now, while I consider the fact that it was important for me to hear from each of you. And I still want to. And how I wish I could kick the someone who decided that his or her vote should drown out the voices of everyone else off the site.

Got a couple of important truths from this. One, go with a paid service for doing polls and whatnot from now on.

Two, don’t try to get along with buggy software, ever.

Three, not everyone who hangs out on my site is one of the good guys. Something I forget, and shouldn’t..

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

17 comments… add one
  • hollylisle Feb 14, 2008 @ 11:21

    Thank you for the support, folks. And thanks to the honest voter (apparently also watching tallies closely) who tipped me off that the votes had changed wildly while I was asleep, and because of that, he’d tested, and discovered that it was in fact possible to vote twice.

  • Shawn Hansen Feb 14, 2008 @ 10:16

    So, someone threw a poll on a site run by a writer who answers questions for FREE and provides great content for for FREE (or nearly free).

    A poll said writer set up to plan HER time on behalf of her readers.

    Nice.

    Really, really nice.

    The next poll you want to run, I’ll chip in a few bucks to help you pay for the service you’ll need. It’s the least I can do as a THANK YOU to you and a $#@% you to the culprit.

  • peaceheather Feb 14, 2008 @ 9:30

    Well, to the person who did it, I can only send a virtual smack upside the head, and a muttered, “Bonehead”.

    But for the rest of us, big picture – we were voting on which of Holly’s ideas we would get first, not which ones wouldn’t make the cut. And Holly is smart enough to have caught the ballot-stuffing, and to take it into account in her numbers, so we’re all good.

    Besides, the Create A World was coming in second, and that’s the one *I* want first. *grin*

    Cheers!

  • Ann Feb 13, 2008 @ 21:50

    Well, that sucks. I’m sorry some doofus tried to spoil it. I voted for the Crit of the month, but will be signing up for whichever classes you offer first.
    Don’t let the doofi get you down. 🙂

  • ChristinaStiles Feb 13, 2008 @ 13:33

    Holly, I just went to vote and saw the note. That’s irritating.

    As to the small courses, I’m interested in the polishing and presenting to others, as I’ve gotten one novel completed and into agent-shopping mode. Of course, I know others may just be starting out. Anyway, I would *really love* a discussion of how to do a synopsis properly. Any chance of that being added?

    The big classes sound very cool! I want them all. And I think we should clone you so we can get them all right away! 🙂

    Just my 2 cents. As always, I much appreciate you for all that you do for aspiring authors. You’re the greatest!

    Christina

  • BJSteeves Feb 13, 2008 @ 13:25

    Some people have nothing better to do than to try to make life miserable for others. A very sad commentary on their own lives, I guess.

    I look forward to any, and every project you do.

  • hollylisle Feb 13, 2008 @ 13:04

    Gabriele–No chance it’s one of my regulars. None. I agree with you completely.

  • Gabriele Feb 13, 2008 @ 12:10

    I don’t think it’s one of the regulars here. There are people whose sole purpose in life is to play around in the internet and troll in comments, manipulate polls and whatever.

    GRR Martin has a resident troll who posts in his comments under various names (his style is easily recognisable, though). By now we all ignore the little twit. And Sheila (PBW) has to moderate comments because of one or two assholes. It’s a price that comes with popularity, alas.

  • magickelise Feb 13, 2008 @ 11:38

    Argh. What a ninny.
    Like many here, my two top choices didn’t win, but I understood that all courses would get written anyway, and that you were using the poll just to know which ones to start with.
    I can’t believe someone did this. A little patience, and they would have gotten their picks as well. What’s a few more weeks in a lifetime? Life won’t stop because you don’t get what you want when you want it.
    I hope whoever did this is reading today’s entry and its replies. Obviously, cheating didn’t work.
    Blame it on my temper, but I’m actually quite angry at the guy :-(.

  • MattScudder Feb 13, 2008 @ 11:08

    That’s just kinda weird. I imagine whoever did it is feeling pretty stupid now, though. It’s easy to forget that you’re dealing with real people on the internet, and this person’s attempts to cheat your system has disapointed a community of real people. I’d like to think he or she will learn something from this. (Hey, look at me being the optomist! Mark this day down.)

  • Adaram Feb 13, 2008 @ 10:42

    I think I may have voted twice by accident…once early in the day, then once again later when I noted that the vote buttons were still there and I thought that I must not have properly registered my vote..so I clicked them again.

    My choices didn’t make the top, though, so I guess it’s not a big deal.

    Sorry for my oversight.

  • djmills Feb 13, 2008 @ 10:40

    I had an idea, if we emailed our answer, surely our email address would show up so if you recognise it from a previous purchase then count it once. Just a thought … but a lot of work for you.

    I will take all the courses, both big and small, as I am still editing my second novel and have a lot more to learn before I get to publish any.

    The only feedback from my first novel was that it was not what they were looking for, but a request to see my next novel when finished from both publishers I sent it to.

    I too am sorry some idiot ruined your survey.

  • Geekomancer Feb 13, 2008 @ 9:32

    Man, I’m sorry this happened. I love the ‘Net you know, but sometimes…

    Sheesh.

    For my part, I love the fact that I can come here and interact with someone who’s writing I’ve greatly enjoyed for years.

    Really, it’s a shame that someone or someones didn’t have anything more productive to do.

  • hollylisle Feb 13, 2008 @ 8:54

    I think most people are decent and honest. If they weren’t, civilization simply wouldn’t hold together. And I think I have a better-than-average collection of folks who visit my site. Some of you have been with me for more than a decade, whether we’ve met face to face or not. We’ve debated things in FM, you’ve gone through book struggles with me, and we’ve discussed writing, and kids, and life. Some of us are starting to squeeze the two-decades-together mark pretty hard, and a few of you I’ve known since I was thirteen or sixteen or around there. Basically, I consider the folks here friends and extended family.

    And most of the new folks here get it, too. I get great e-mails every day from new folks who have just found the site, or who came over recently from FM, and who see the whole big picture. The value of the pursuit of a dream, the importance of taking action, the passion for living, the power of paying forward and helping other people to reach their dreams, too.

    And because of that, I forget this is the Internet, and not everyone is, well, “us.” Some folks here are “them,” and will be “them” wherever they go, because they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want, and to hell with everyone else. So, for “them”, I have to put up the barriers and restrictions that force people to play fair. It sucks, but it’s life. It just makes me a little sick.

  • LisaHartjes Feb 13, 2008 @ 8:36

    It’s really disappointing when people cheat and do things like that. The courses I voted for didn’t win (I wanted Stories to Break Their Hearts and Crit of the Month Club), but it’s not like I’m going to die if I don’t get them, and I certainly won’t do anything unethical to get what I want. I’m a professional, and have too much respect for you to act that way.

  • TinaK Feb 13, 2008 @ 8:33

    That would be a poll, not a pool. Guess with all the snow we’ve had over the past day here in upstate NY I’m thinking summer.

  • TinaK Feb 13, 2008 @ 8:33

    It really sucks that someone would do that and I very nearly feel like I’ve been betrayed by a friend. I’ve been coming to your site for years Holly and the people who comment, many of them are now on my blog reader and I feel as though they are a family of sorts. I know that someone in my ‘family’ could be that dishonest (and really, didn’t they have anything better to do than vote 70 times in a pool) hurts and upsets me. I do hope they haven’t ruined it for the rest of us.

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