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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

You can see below what I've got for the BlogPoll ancillary stats so far. There's also going to be a "swing" measure which is the total change between each blog's ballot from week to week.


What should the in-season roundtable format be? They've been coming at approximately two week intervals now. Obviously college football's preferred time unit is the week. I thought we'd bump the frequency up to weekly, cut the question count down to ~2, and continue on. Without a critical mass of participation they seem kind of dumb, though, so I'd rather have too few than too many. Is weekly too often? Will you participate in most of them?

Should we weight ballots? If so, how? I would like to start this at some point in the future to give more weight to the opinions of people who participate on a regular basis and make good cases for or against teams. Part of the poll's philosophy is to fill in gaps of knowledge. The best way to do this seems to be offering tangible reward to those who do the filling. I was pleased to put NC State at #23 in my poll because Section Six gave me reasons to do so. TAMBINPO's Big 12 rundown for the BlogPoll question swayed my opinion on various teams (it knocked OK down about 4 spots, moved up Texas A&M, and earned Texas Tech #24). They should get some extra poll-power, because if I got as well informed about every team I would feel much better about my ballot.

How to do this? Initial thought was a "rep me" button on everyone's blog that people could click when they found something useful, but that's absolutely ripe for abuse, and honestly a bit beyond my current web-wizardry (<-- TIC). It could be basd on traffic, but not everyone in the poll makes their traffic numbers public. I could give a small boost based simply on participation (ie, by voting and answering roundtables) or by weighting ballots based on correctness relative to the week's games. Whatever I decide will probably be a major project (and something not implemented until Year 2), but I'd like to get as many ideas possible here.

How should we deal with wildly biased voters?
The Enlightened Spartan's initial ballot has MSU #17 and Michigan #20, which is pretty much beyond the pale when it comes to ridiculousness. This aggression will not stand, man. Remember how we scoffed at that guy who put Louisville #1? (Good times, good times.) Well, we've got our own house to attend to. I don't mind the ceremonial "whoever my team is goes #25 if they're not higher" preseason vote, nor do I particularly mind Bruins Nation giving Texas the #1 spot in the poll in an effort to piss off the USC voters--as long as they are willing to drop that motivation if USC proves itself to be a juggernaut once more. But something wildly divergent that has a real effect on the poll and loses us credibility in the eyes of discerning rabble is not cool. Bruins Nation with USC at #2 isn't going to do anything nasty to the poll. If they had them at #10, though, I'd have to get out my Internet Club With Nails In and thump some heads. There's a difference between harmless fun and poll-distorting juvenile bias.

I've got a bias rating and though it's simple, I plan on using it like a hammer, by, like, de-weighting votes of people who exceed a certain threshold, and continuing to do so if they continue to exhibit flagrant homerism. Does this meet with protest? Pitt Sports Blather pointed out an interesting article by a longtime AP voter. The AP takes things seriously:

Back in New York, the AP folks look at those ballots as they are tabulated. If they see something that doesn't pass the smell test, they make phone calls. If a Florida voter had ranked Tennessee ahead of Southern Cal, that would've been OK. But if that voter were to put Florida or Florida State as No. 1, alarms would go off.
Reasonable for them, critical for us. Whereas AP voters are Unbiased Press, we're Obviously Biased Fans. To have credibility (and I'm talking "this is an interesting social phenomenon" credibility not "let's insert this puppy into the BCS" credibility) we have to be more interesting, more open, and generally all-around better than the existing polls. Just as good isn't going to cut it. If some of us act immaturely, it reflects on the poll at large. I'd like to prevent that embarassment at all costs, but I can see an argument for anything-goes fun. What do you think?

So. Floor's open. Discuss.