Fraud Exposed? Why Writer Rankings, POTDs Have Lost Some Meaning

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Fraud Exposed? Why Writer Rankings, POTDs Have Lost Some Meaning

There has been some discussion of late as to the meaning and significance of Writer Rankings, "Picks of the Day," etc.

There have admittedly been arguments among people that belong more on a bulletin board or email than in an article. People on both sides of the issue have made intelligent and worthy comments.

However, what I discovered in today's POTD, an article about the Chicago Bears' schedule for 2009, disturbs me. It is either evidence of fraud that should anger the writers who have genuinely worked for their rankings and POTDs, or it is evidence of an extraordinarily broken technical flaw. It is most likely evidence of both.

This is the play-by-play for Dennis Perper, someone with the same last name as the writer of the article, Jake Perper:

Play-by-Play for:

Dennis Perper
  1. Dennis Perper has picked Bears Will Have Easiest Schedule Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:41
  2. Dennis Perper has picked Bears Will Have Easiest Schedule Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:41
  3. Dennis Perper has picked Bears Will Have Easiest Schedule Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:41
  4. Dennis Perper has picked Bears Will Have Easiest Schedule Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:41
  5. Dennis Perper has picked Bears Will Have Easiest Schedule Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:41
  6. Dennis Perper has picked Bears Will Have Easiest Schedule Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:41
  7. Dennis Perper has picked Bears Will Have Easiest Schedule Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:41
  8. Dennis Perper has picked Bears Will Have Easiest Schedule Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:41
  9. Dennis Perper has picked Bears Will Have Easiest Schedule Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:41
  10. Dennis Perper has picked Bears Will Have Easiest Schedule Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:41

My article is titled "Fraud Exposed?" rather than "Fraud Exposed!" primarily because there is always the slim chance that the person who voted for Mr. Perper's article (whose last name is also Perper) accidentally hit the "POTD" button at least a dozen times. Maybe the key got stuck.

Of course, that would mean that another individual, Lauren Mortenson, also made the same mistake on Mr. Perper's second-to-last article, since she voted a minimum of 10 times (I can't look back any further), with several of the votes being minutes apart, making it much less likely to be accidental.

I will leave it to others to determine whether they think any of these profiles are legitimate; I'm not alleging anything in regards to that.

Here is Lauren's current play-by-play:

Play-by-Play for:

Lauren Mortenson
  1. Lauren Mortenson has picked Devin Hester Knows He Will Be a Better Returner Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:39
  2. Lauren Mortenson has picked Devin Hester Knows He Will Be a Better Returner Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:39
  3. Lauren Mortenson has picked Devin Hester Knows He Will Be a Better Returner Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:39
  4. Lauren Mortenson has picked Devin Hester Knows He Will Be a Better Returner Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:39
  5. Lauren Mortenson has picked Devin Hester Knows He Will Be a Better Returner Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:39
  6. Lauren Mortenson has picked Devin Hester Knows He Will Be a Better Returner Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:39
  7. Lauren Mortenson has picked Devin Hester Knows He Will Be a Better Returner Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:33
  8. Lauren Mortenson has picked Devin Hester Knows He Will Be a Better Returner Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:33
  9. Lauren Mortenson has picked Devin Hester Knows He Will Be a Better Returner Next Season as a favorite article
    Mon Feb 02 08:33
  10. Lauren Mortenson has picked Devin Hester Knows He Will Be a Better Returner Next Season as a favorite article

Yes, I am calling out the author of this article, because this happened multiple times to multiple articles with multiple accounts. But that is far from the primary purpose of this article. I don't know Jake Perper, and certainly have no personal gripe with him whatsoever. I can see from his profile that he is a "Senior Writer" and the Chicago Bears community leader. I certainly hope there is a valid explanation and would welcome hearing it.

I wrote this primarily because I am hoping that it will help bring a long-overdue change to the POTD system. If you are going to present a problem, you should at least be able to present a solution.

First, the loophole that allows people to vote multiple times on the same article must be closed. This is relatively obvious. I have certainly accidentally voted for an article twice when I either double-clicked or clicked twice because I thought the browser had hung and not recorded my pick.

Second, I submit the idea that perhaps one should only be allowed to choose a single pick every 24 hours. I am not a programmer, so I don't know how difficult this would be to code. Some might argue that sometimes there are several excellent articles in a single day. My response would be that you must choose the "most" excellent of that day. Voting a second time undoes the previous vote.

The other purpose of writing this article is for the sake of the people who have worked very hard to achieve their rankings and picks, whether it means the world to them or nothing at all.

I personally would rather have reads and comments than "awards" of any kind. I'm not trying to get noticed; I write just for fun. I've never received a POTD, and that's absolutely fine with me. It means I haven't written anything deserving of that award.

I am not a budding journalist, to whom the exposure might mean a great deal. They, and others, are being robbed of at least one opportunity (there are other ways, of course) to get noticed on B/R.

Worst of all, this is not always the easiest fraud to catch. If one of these accounts had, for example, commented 10 times after the picks, their most recent play-by-play wouldn't show up to anyone except the owners of B/R, I presume.

This fraud makes a mockery of the POTD system and the portion of the Writer Rankings that is affected by such picks. It is one thing if a friend or spouse frequently picks your article (once) or comments. What has occurred today is entirely different and is a slap in the face of those that wrote and earned their way to the top, those who have been here much longer than me.

While flaws such as this exist in the system, it is hard to criticize someone who believes "writer rankings are bogus."

Let this be an impetus to change, so that whether or not you agree with the system, it can at least be as accurate as is possible in an open-source site of this nature.

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