Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Oracle Mix + Suggest-a-Session

A little over a month ago, I saw this tweet from Neil Kodner (@neilkod).

That links to this set of data on github (using gist?).

The data gets interesting the further down you go.

Annoying, yes, but no big deal.

I was then off to KScope for a week of fun.

This weekend, I decided to open up Google Reader for the first time in, well, a long time. Scanning through my Oracle folder, I found the little gem.

Data Science Fun with the OOW Mix Session Voting Data

That was written by Greg Rahn (@gregrahn) on June 23rd, 6 days after Neil's post.

On July 1st, the winners were announced on the Oracle Mix blog.

A little tidbit from Greg's post that Bex (see below) quoted as well:
-- number of users who voted for exactly one author
| users_voting_for_1_author |
| 828 |

-- number of voters who voted for every session by a given author
-- and total # of votes per voter is the same # as sessions by an author
| users_who_voted_for_every_session_of_an_author |
| 826 |

I think it's safe to say that Greg's analysis predicted the outcome.

It's also...unfortunate.

Which brings me to this post by Brian 'Bex' Huff today, Has Oracle MIX "Suggest-A-Session" Jumped the Shark???

I'm thankful that Bex wrote this up because, quite honestly, I was scared...to rock the boat I guess.

This conversation needs to take place. I don't believe anything was done illegally, but I think it broke the "spirit" of the rules that were set up.

I'm all for using Twitter, your blog, whatever ("whatever" gets us into trouble) to get people to vote for your stuff; but this seemed to go to far.

Bex has some suggestions for changing the rules over there, check out his piece and chime in.


Bex said...

hey there... you saying I'm feisty? Huh?! Huh?!

Them's fightin' words, boy!


Seriously, tho... this conversation does need to take place. Assume you had submitted a session to MIX and 50 people who don't know you voted for it... then you find out that 3 guys were hogging ALL the slots because of robo-calls... how miffed would you be?

I say we need some rules about this... I'd go so far as to say this things was so gamed that we need a do-over.

Noons said...

Well, if the do-over involves voting only by the closed "club" of "valuable" contributors, then don't be too surprised if it gets laughed out.

Because it is simply a rehash of the same tired old formula: nominate someone for the "club" and bingo - that person is now automatically "valuable" and an all-knowing "expert".

Sorry, but in this day and age that is called "mafia".

In a way I'm very glad this was brought in the open. Can we have the prior voter's choices out in the open as well? As in: from before the voting was open to the community?

Oh, OK then: we cannot be allowed to question the "valuable contributors", is that it?...

Bex said...

@Noons: I think you're fighting a straw man, there...

Neither I nor Chet want this to be a "closed" group. I'd prefer it to be open, to prevent an echo chamber. But when spammers are allowed to flood the community with votes from people who won't even attend open world, then we got a problem... and we needs rules to ensure that the community is used to achieve ends that the community wants.

Would you agree with that?

And no... a tight-knit group of experts is not called a "mafia," they are called a "clique."