Time to vote on those crazy scholarship kids June 12, 2001 1:28 AM   Subscribe

Time to vote on those crazy scholarship kids. It's been tested on IE 5 and NN 4, on a PC and a Mac and seems to work. I took great pains to make it hack proof, so it's as fair as possible. If anyone finds anything wrong, post it here, or email me about it.

There's over $1600 on the line, so read carefully and vote wisely.
posted by mathowie (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 1:28 AM (18 comments total)

I forgot to make up a deadline, I'm guessing June 30th, at 11:59 PM PT will work.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:31 AM on June 12, 2001

Where do I vote?
posted by chaz at 4:00 AM on June 12, 2001

Will there be future scholarship competitions for Metafilter? I wanted to enter this one except I didn't have enough posts before April 15th (or whenever it was) to talk about in an essay.
posted by adrianhon at 4:16 AM on June 12, 2001

Matt, although the scoring numbers are underlined to indicate that you click on them to choose a vote, on Mac IE 5.0 what happens is that the number changes on a rollover. So as you move from the number you've just clicked on (which clicking actually doesn't do anything), you risk rolling over another number and changing the score before you get to the voting button.

Does that make sense?
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:18 AM on June 12, 2001

to clarify:

I'm running Win95 on my Tandy, with IE 5.5 and I don't see any voting numbers on any page.

posted by chaz at 5:33 AM on June 12, 2001

Make sure you're logged into MeFi (not just MetaTalk) or you won't get voting numbers. Also make sure scripting is turned on, just in case. (I hope that's the problem, and that this helps.)

The numbers roll over for me, too (IE 5.5, NT 4.0) and it works the same way with the voting button. It's rather confusing, yes.
posted by Electric Elf at 7:43 AM on June 12, 2001

the rollovers are so you don't have to click. I should kill the underlines on those links so they don't look so click worthy.

To vote, you mouse over a score, then hit the button.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:56 AM on June 12, 2001

Oh thank GOD! I didn't read and quickly assumed (much to my horror) that that was the number of pages. Whew...
posted by fooljay at 10:29 AM on June 12, 2001

read carefully and vote wisely.

Allow me not to be overjoyed by the point-based voting system, would you, Matt?

From having to write "marks out of ten" reviews in the nasty dead-tree computer press, and from back-of-the-hand knowledge of statistics, I'm pretty sure that the 1-10 scale isn't the best one for something like this. Simply because people tend not to give really low votes, nor high votes. (Scan the pages of any paper/site that rates albums on a 1-10 scale, and you won't get an equitable distribution curve: that is, one where the mean is 5.) I'd imagine it's basically going to become a 3-9 scale, with lots of people picking up votes in the 6-8 range. Which may make the final allocation of points scores... um, messy in a Floridian fashion. In the sense that someone who awards the best essay a 10 has more of a say in the final outcome than someone who doesn't think anyone deserves a perfect score, but still has a clear hierarchy of who should get the scholarship prizes.

(This is the kind of choice that's completely suited to some kind of PR, where you mark down a first, second, third preference, and work it out from there, like the STV system of allocating parliamentary seats in lots of countries. The point being that preference-based voting gives everyone a theoretically equal influence on the outcome.)
posted by holgate at 5:27 PM on June 12, 2001

I was originally going to go with a "pick your most favorite, then 2nd favorite, then 3rd" but thought that might lead to one person getting no votes at all (I doubt I'd publish the total scores, but alas).

So I went with the point system. I don't know if it's as bad as you say, there were some definite 9s and 10s in the bunch (but then again, mentally, I was just arranging them so I had my top three in line).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 6:39 PM on June 12, 2001

If the points system that Matt implemented calculates relative weights between the different votes (perhaps via percentage weighting), then I don't see a problem with 1-10 numerical voting. However, if it's just a straight case of addition, then what holgate said.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 6:21 AM on June 13, 2001

What should I use to calculate relative weights?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:46 PM on June 13, 2001

I had written a sort of essay on my one post before April the 15th. It was slightly funny. (it was a sort of 'me too'!)

It wasn't very long though. I feel marginally foolish seeing the submitted essays. I supose this is what I deserve/get for having to write history essays every week where anything under 1500 words isn't long enough!

Lot's look cool though. Great idea Matt.
posted by nedrichards at 1:38 PM on June 13, 2001

I don't think I had a really specific system, but intuitively what I was thinking when I wrote that was to add the total of the votes out of 10 of each user, i.e. 1 + 3 + 5 + 6 + 9 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 8 + 7 + 4 = 50. Get the percentages 1/50 = 0.02, 3/50 = 0.06, 5/50 = 0.10 etc and then use these values instead of the original values, but I've realized that that system has its own faults and I don't think it actually removes the bias from the system. It's been a little too long since I've actually done anything math-related, so forgive me.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 7:25 PM on June 13, 2001

How will this be scored? The total votes? If I only score the ones I like and not score the ones I don't think are worthy, how does it affect both of these groups?
posted by tamim at 8:03 AM on June 14, 2001

Ranking the entries in order of preference would have been too difficult. It was much easier to give each one a score from 1 to 10 without trying to figure out how much better or worse an entry was than others.

I was impressed with the entries and the contest itself. It would be interesting to see what all MetaFilter users would rank as their favorite contributions here, and what threads meant the most to them.
posted by rcade at 9:12 AM on June 14, 2001

Ranking the entries in order of preference would have been too difficult. It was much easier to give each one a score from 1 to 10 without trying to figure out how much better or worse an entry was than others.

Don't you end up doing that anyway? You give the first essay you read, say, the classic "number between one and ten", a 7; then you read one that's a bit better, and give it an 8; then you read a better one still, and think "hang on, perhaps I should have given the first one a 5 or a 6" and so on. Whereas if you pick first, second and third, which correspond to 3, 2 and 1 points respectively, you don't have to worry about recalibrating the scale as you go along, and you get something that's more proportionately representative of the voters' choices.

But this is all moot right now, and I just hope the right people win...
posted by holgate at 6:00 PM on June 14, 2001

has there been any announcement about the winners? perhaps there's something in the sidebar, but a long and involved story would be undertaken to explain why i don't have ie 5, and therefore can't see the sidebar. so um. anything? heh.


posted by sugarfish at 12:57 AM on July 5, 2001

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