Before I start, a little disclaimer. I have nothing to do with the 2004 Weblog Awards. My sole involvement thus far have been 1) an e-mail from Kevin requesting that Paul and I "up the tempo" a little to keep up the pace here at Wizbang! while the Awards are keeping him busy, and 2) voting for a couple of sites already. I didn't even get a sneak preview of the ubercool logo Suzy designed. (Sniff -- I thought we meant more to each other than that, Suzy...)
Anyway, everyone else is chiming in on the ballot-stuffing being done by Kos' supporters, so I figured I'd toss in my 1.5 cents (inflation takes its toll). There are a few points I find enlightening over in the thread at Kos where this seems to have erupted.
The first is one Kos-head cites as justification for the stuffing is the fact that some Little Green Footballs readers are doing the same thing -- even pointing out that "(t)hey even borrowed the script from Kos to make their job easier." (UPDATE: I don't know whether LGFers did this or not -- I have no inside knowledge about the Awards, and don't want any. But the Kos-head's citing of it -- real or not -- is the key here.) Apparently it escaped his mind that there would have been no script to borrow had not he (or one of his colleagues) first written, used, and published it.
I understand the impulse to counter-cheat, but I don't agree with it. You don't answer bad conduct with bad conduct. My mother once told me, "don't argue with idiots. They drag you down to your level, then beat you with experience." Not only do I think that we would prove less skilled cheaters than they, but I think that by simply letting them choose the battleground, we already lose.
I also noticed, in my perusal of the comments, that Kos himself has not spoken up. He hasn't denounced the cheating, hasn't deleted the script, hasn't renounced the fraudulent votes. Kos has a history of deleting pieces from his site when they prove inconvenient; I find it telling he hasn't done so here.
I've often heard the argument against legalizing marijuana phrased as pot being a "gateway" drug that leads to more serious abuse in the future. I wonder -- could cheating in online voting be a "gateway" action that leads to cheating in votes that actually mean something? If so, it's nice of them to give us such a public track record to cite...
What really aggravates me is that Kevin set up these awards with the clear, stated purpose of giving excellent but relatively unknown blogs a chance at some publicity. Kevin seems to take Wizbang's high profile as a responsibility to the blogosphere and is trying to "share the wealth" a little. (As one of the biggest recipients of Kevin's largesse, I am especially sensitive to this topic.) But to the Kos-heads (or whatever the hell they call themselves; I don't care enough to find out), nothing is more important than WINNING.
I'm not going to suggest what sort of sanctions should be imposed. Apparently the fraudulent votes are being deleted and the abusers have been banned. That's also affecting a lot of innocent people, as well (obligatory cheap shot: but I really wonder if it's such a bad thing to ban AOL users), but apparently there's no other way to keep out the cheaters.
But this last part is strictly for any Kos-heads who find their way over here. I'm gonna speak to them in their own language for a moment:
UPDATE: I'm closing comments on this thread. It's gotten wildly off-topic, and it's degenerated into re-fighting battles that were settled over a month ago. Anyone that obsessed with doing that is welcome to go join a Civil War Re-enactment club.