Vendors should get a vote too? What do you think?

The IT Skeptic is considering introducing something soon that allows public voting related to products. I know of vendors rorting such a system by requesting all staff to vote for that vendor's product.

A big company can add several thousand votes from people who are not objective or in fact have no idea about the product in question but are loyal or obedient. Now, this is not a democracy. Democratic voting is about justifying taxation* (oh and making people feel included too I guess). This voting is about achieving a useful objective result, so not everyone gets a vote by right. I believe vendor vote-rigging is the biggest issue facing product-related voting, especially in a niche like ITSM where the total vote numbers will not be huge.

So I see the options as

  1. only registered users vote (on the assumption that fewer staff will be bothered registering)
  2. block the vendor domains from voting (fewer of them will vote from home as it takes more effort to remember and they are less pressured)
  3. ask the vendors on their honour not to vote (no seriously)
  4. don't worry about it - just have to live with it.


*personally I believe it should be $1 paid in taxation = 1 vote but we won't argue that here.


It's not the voters, it's the questions

Dear IT Skeptic,

Whether or not the vendor rigs the voting by stuffing the electronic ballot box with employees is the least of your worries. The problem with polls and e-surveys is not the voters but the people who develop the questions. The pseudo-science of polling for politics and other pursuits has long since been hampered by leading questions that do not explore all reasonable options in a voter's mind or that lead to erroneous conclusions. The standard example is those opinion polls that say "do you approve of the job right-wing Candidate X is doing?" 70% of the respondents say 'no' and the polling firm then concludes that the public now supports the left-wing Candidate Y. But wait. The assumption is that if you do not approve of Candidate X's position, your opinion must be closer to Candidate Y's. That is often not the case.

So too with our ITSM voter polls. The devil is in the details of the questions which, to be effective, need to be, literally, scientific. If you can get a sensical developer of quality questions then the problem of vote-rigging is a lay-up. Just block out the vendor domain. Frankly, if the vendor is half-smart they will WANT to have their domain blocked because a well-designed set of questions combined with a large survey response pool will provide them, for free, far more insightful information than they could acquire otherwise.


A vendor's marketing department will incite staff

A vendor's marketing department will incite staff by telling how the evil site has blocked the domain so they need to use their home connections. It might just make it worse.

Even if one asks vendors not to vote, they can still persuade one friend or family each. Sigh.

As in most web security, nothing will stop them if they really want to. One just hopes it will be obvious.

I will have to market it hard and hope to get a big enough pool to swamp the vendor effect.

P.S. It's not a poll I'm planning: it is a type of reviews.

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