Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A GRAIN OF SALT

Over the past few months there has been a number of discussions in the local blogosphere about the manipulation of on-line polls and the stacking of Open Line Shows. It is simply amazing, the extent to which some folks, who feel the need to influence the message, will go to sabotage, or at least skew, legitimate feedback.

In today's Telegram, Russell Wangersky weighs in on the problems he faces moderating the Telegram's on-line comments section amidst the multiple posts from political plants on government servers.

Blogger Geoff Meeker wrote a series of articles on the manipulation of VOCM online polls last winter. He proved that there was an organized group of people who mobilized on specific issues to skew the results of the questions.

I have never liked the idea of taking over the few avenues of public input that remain available. It makes a mockery of participatory democracy. However, as all sides are equally guilty (if not equally efficient) it is a practice that will continue until a solution is found.

2 comments:

Dennis said...

It's interesting that while the internet has been heralded as a way to "fight" the mainstream media, and get the smaller voices heard, those smaller voices have chosen to manipulate it and distort the message. Unfortunately, the pendulum seems to be swinging back, the the msm again gaining in popularity, not least because people feel that they can trust the message coming from a source that puts its (real) name on what it reports.

The VOCM polls, as I've said in the past, do a disservice to all VOCM listeners/readers, and should not continue in their current form.

Peter L. Whittle said...

Dennis:

I agree. What amazes me, and is perhaps worthy of post on its own, is that VOCM continues to offer the poll without changes.