This week I have encountered two small issues that I thought I would bring up to get your feedback on. Both are somewhat related in an around about way. The first was an article that I seeded related to the middle east. We all know this is a hot topic which provokes high emotion on both sides. As the two sides fought it out, one posted without references and was reported to Newsvine. It later appears they were banned. Within several hours, once again others believed they were back on again under a different user name. No surprise.
The second minor issue arose today when one member of our community had basically figured out that if they delete their cookies they can re-vote in the polls. Again, no surprise as most web based polls are setup this way but it seemed to be a revalation to him or her. I have assured them the poll was specifically identified as not being a scientific poll and that the comments are more important to the overall discussion of our community than the actual numbers. Again, this should be common knowledge and we have placed such qualifiers in the comments and in the articles. Their strong contention is that the polls need to be fixed. I see no reason for this.
Here is my argument and I will be looking for our communities input.
Currently you can delete cookies on your computer and restart your browser and re-vote in a poll. (Acknowledged) My contention is that you can also create several Google or other E-mail accounts and do the same by clearing the cookies or logging in from another machine. To ask Newsvine to tie all polls to your E-mail address or whatever to stop this practice is not warranted in my opinion. If someone feels the need to be heard so much that they would participate in this practice then I believe they already have a problem that just fixing the poll will not fix.
If you fix the poll as this person suggested, the next request would be to solve multiple E-mail accounts, then to solve the issue of people using more than one E-mail on several virtual terminals, then to solve the problem of more than one person on a specific IP address and to figure out if it is two different people on that IP address are the same user, etc. We have staff in our home daily to help with our autistic son who I have introduced to Newsvine. Should they be shut out because I let them use my wireless network?
In my opionion the fault does not lie in the Newsvine polls, it lies with the users that choose to circumvent the system. If we were to try solve the usage issue above, and then have to go down the path they are suggesting, I believe the community would become so intolerable to use, that most would give up. We have a code of honor and from what I have seen most do pretty well by it. I have screwed up myself a couple of times by posting to an incorrect group and continue to learn. (I try hard never to make the same mistake twice as I believe the majority do.) For the most part I have found people here very helpful and although I, like most, sometimes have to wade through some crap to find the gems, I always seem to dig them up. I have had some rigorous discussions, learned new things, have found a better understanding of people, made some friends, and yes occasionally accepted an argument where I found my own point of view lacking. I think we do a pretty good job of monitoring our own and I would hate to see the freedom of this community compromised to satisfy the paranoid.
What is your take?