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Online Polls

Online polls are never legitimate. Everyone knows it. So, when the Trent Arthur’s poll recently was ‘stuffed’ as they called it, the poll was taken down because it was being made more illegitimate. Can an online anonymous poll really be made more illegitimate? Apparently they thought so:

It would appear that someone has indeed resorted to stuffing the poll, namely the “No” option on the TCSA/NAMP poll, so I have taken it offline. I have no problem believing that more students are against the TCSA’s decision than are for it, that is not the issue, but instead the issues are of traffic irregularities and extreme improbabilities in voting patterns.

A poll being taken down due to extreme improbabilities in voting patterns defeats the purpose of having a poll. It does make sense however to remove the poll due to traffic irregularities along with the improbabilities. So now they are looking at new polling ‘software’ (the ‘ ‘ is because it is not really new software, it is just an extension for their blogging site). Currently they are looking at something that will need an email filled out to vote. That should stop the. No, wait, that probably wouldn’t work if the hackers really cared to stuff the polls. It is easy to generate something@something.com and drop it into a text box. It can be done in ruby in 1 line. Not that I condone doing it.

Polls should have the same securities that posting has, and more if they are to be legitimized. They should ask for the people who are voting to solve a captchca as well as tracking votes from ip addresses. While it is not impossible to hide your ip address, and it will make the voting less confidential, it would make it easier to figure out who is stacking the vote, or to limit the number of votes from an ip address.

It will never be possible to make it impossible for spammers and vote stuffers to do so. The point is to make it difficult for spammers and vote stuffers to mess with the system.


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