Thursday, April 4, 2013

March Crapness: An Address

In light of some recently discovered shortcomings with our current polling system, we have unfortunately had to delay the final three rounds of March Crapness until next week while we retool and find a polling system that is harder to game and harder to hack. See the March Crapness tab for the revised schedule and note that we'll start the "Effluent Eight" round back up at 1 p.m. EST on Monday.

To be more specific, the April 2 matchup between Team Petty Cash and Duct Tape Motorsports unfortunately had its results tainted by a spam bot that autocompleted the Poll a couple thousand times with a mixture of votes for what appeared to be for both teams (oddly enough), intermixing the spamming with the votes garnered by huge campaigns from both teams and essentially rendering them uncountable. We don't know who wrote and implemented the bot, but we are 100 percent certain that neither team's members are responsible. It's possible that a voter from one side or the other could have written it, but it's more likely that it was just a random third-party attack.

After a few hours' deliberation and discussion with members from both teams in the poll, I opted to take the results from the last-known reliable timestamp, which also happened to have come before at least one (and probably both) of the teams had completely ramped up efforts to campaign for votes. We know the turnout of legitimate voters was substantial, but we were simply unable to differentiate between legitimate and spammed votes.

The last-known accurate time stamp showed a six-vote lead for Duct Tape Motorsports, so we begrudgingly awarded them the victory. I say "begrudgingly" not with regard to the outcome but rather because we had to render a decision at all. From the beginning, it's been our goal to avoid entirely injecting ourselves into the polling process. Having to do so pained us greatly when we know that both teams had worked their butts off to campaign.

We don't like to swear on this site if we can help it, but--to borrow a merited phrase from a friend's childhood story--it was a fucky situation where someone undeserving would have to lose. Both teams were upset at the outcome for basically rendering their campaigning efforts moot, but we also knew it wouldn't be fair to ask them to go through the rigmarole of asking supporters and sponsors who'd posted links to do it again and expect any kind of result, especially given an already-tight timetable and DTM racing at Monticello this weekend.

With the complications involved, Duct Tape offered a generous solution: Disqualify both teams entirely from the tournament due to the extenuating circumstances and let NSF Racing win the next round by forfeit. Team Petty Cash agreed that, given the amount of stress caused to everyone by what's supposed to be fun and enjoyable event, bowing out was a workable--though not ideal --solution. In what could have been a very heated situation, both teams remained cool and very sportsmanlike, reminding us how great crapcan racers really are.

So that's where we stand. Both teams are effectively eliminated due to unforeseen Internet circumstances and NSF Racing are your de facto Regional Winners of the Sheared Shaft region.

It's inevitable that many people will be upset by this; count us among them because we've seen first-hand that the Internet is full of weirdos somewhere who program bots to "win" Internet polls. We know it's probably not ultimately "fair" and the fairest thing would be to comb through the voting log and compare it very closely to each team's promotional efforts until it's absolutely clear when the bot ruined the polls. Unfortunately, as The Rusty Hub is not my job and is instead something I wedge into my spare time, I simply do not have the means to do this.

To the loyal followers of both teams who took the time--however small it might have seemed to them--to visit our dumb little site and cast a vote in our dumb little contest, we can't thank you enough. We endeavored forth with March Crapness as a means to write and produce a fun, irreverent and ultimately silly look at the crapcan world. We had no idea the response would extend beyond those who participated in LeMons and ChumpCar and have honestly been overwhelmed by the response.

Some out there might be asking why we didn't have a contingency plan in place for such a polling disaster. The truth is that we're not experts on Internet polls or social media, so we're pretty much charting this territory as we go. Think of it as driving a circuit for the first time at 10/10ths without first looking at a track map. Or, if you'd prefer, running Crapness feels a hell of a lot like our first crapcan race, where we had little idea about what we were doing, especially after grenading our "totally indestructible" motor after less than an hour on the track.

But we sorted that out and we'll sort this out. And, just like our second race, we'll have learned enough to do it better next time around.

We hope the teams in March Crapness and the people voting in it are getting their moneys' worth and we want to see this through to the end, when we crown the winning team as Internet Crapcan Grandmaster Nonpareil. (Yes, seriously, that title and only that title is the top prize of March Crapness.)

To do that, we're going to need just a couple days to find a moar-better polling code, to test it and to make the final three rounds of March Crapness everything that you, the reader, hope it will be.

As always, thanks for reading and for your patience and/or ire.


P.S. Do both teams a solid favor and check out their sponsors. We know both of these teams work very hard to obtain and retain sponsors so they can bring their awesome heaps to the racetrack and keep them going.

- Check out Petty Cash's sponsors here

- Check out DTM's sponsors here and follow DTM on Race Monitor this weekend as they compete in LeMons at Monticello.

1 comment:

  1. Ps-the cannonball bandits don't endorse cheating or vote bots. We have a rockstar sponsor that gives us product, zero money, to help us raise money for charity. Do not spam us. Vote for us faithfully and let the games continue. The eventual winner will always wonder what would have happened had "they been here"