Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gimme a break, Olivia...

From Olivia Chow's website:
The poll-rigging behaviour sometimes known as “freeping” is a common tactic used by right-wing groups to get public opinion in their favour. “If you have to rig polls in favour of your opinion” said the administrator, “it says more about your core ethics and the weakness of your position, than it does the issue.” [emphasis mine--ed]
Olivia, rigging online polls has been done by zealots on both sides of the spectrum. Trying to spin that behaviour as solely owned by right-wing folks is just stoopid. Or dishonest. Or both. Additionally (given internet history), the tactic is only known as "freeping" if right-wing folks do it. Otherwise, it's just plain garden-variety vote/ballot stacking.

But let's keep this straight: an online poll is just a poll of site visitors: it's not scientific in the slightest. If a site happens to get more lefty visitors, the poll will generally reflect that. If it gets more righty visits--same-same. And sometimes [gasp!!! who'da thunk it??] folks from one side or the other will suggest visits to a site they don't usually frequent, just to influence the poll.

In other words, online polls are as true a reflection of reality as your outrage.


Mike said...

I don't disagree with you on fact Ron, but its not exactly the left side of the fence that makes the cognitive dissonant point of being proud of freeping polls.

Just sayin'.

Ron said...

Mike: There's actually nothing invalid about visiting an online poll just to vote on it, nor is there anything wrong with massing friends to join the effort.

Let's face this: Olivia expected that the normal flow of NDP visitors would result in a poll that verified her bias. That's a type of rigging as well. So, online polls are a game; both sides play it, and both sides work to skew the results. It's like American Idol voting: vote early, vote often.

My only real objection was to Olivia's ersatz, placebo, faux outrage. But that's part of the game too, isn't it.

Mike said...

Oh, indeed it is part of the game.

Pretty much why whenever I see the results of a pole, I am skeptical until I get more information and ignore any poll that is "online".

Instead of doing polls to find out what "the people want", I wonder why they don't get out of the way and simply let the people do what they want?

Naw, then they'd be out of a job.