Okay, guys, let’s take a look at the assumptions behind the idea that people are rigging the polls. The truth is that you only need, at max, 40 people voting per hour to get the kind of numbers the Merlinception poll is seeing.
Let’s do the math.
If, instead of refreshing the page, you click “Return to poll results,” you can increase your voting speed. People with nimble fingers can easily vote once every 2 seconds (and that’s generous, it’s really more like 1.5 seconds if you’re speedy).
During the 3 days I’ve been voting and keeping an eye on the voting rate, it’s topped out at around 10 votes every 2 seconds. There have been some moments when it’s been much higher when more people were on the site at once, but it’s generally been much lower, between 2-4 votes every 2 seconds. So humor me for a moment, and let’s be VERY conservative and imagine that only 1 vote per every 2 seconds has been cast in the poll.
No, heck, let’s estimate 1 vote every 4 seconds, just to make sure we’re not overestimating.
The poll was posted on Monday morning, meaning we’ve had about 4.5 days, or 97,200 increments of 4 seconds each. At the very low estimate of only 1 person casting 1 vote per poll every 4 seconds, we’d still have nearly 100,000 votes in the poll of your choice. And, what do you know, 6 of the polls in this round have ships with votes of above 100,000.
Now. If spammers were somehow managing to push the polls up by hundreds of votes every second, we’d see poll numbers in the millions of votes at this point. But instead we’re seeing numbers that bear out those general low but steady voting rates.
In those moments when you’re seeing votes climbing by 50-100 votes every few seconds, those are most likely moments when, say, 10 shippers happen to get online at once and start frantically voting.
10 people each voting 1 time every 4 seconds can produce a combined 9,000 votes in an hour. This is how the A/E and Merlin shippers have both consistently come back from large deficits, sometimes of nearly 18,000 votes or more, in fairly quickly succession.
BUT WAIT: Arthur/Eames and Merlin aren’t big enough fandoms to have this many shippers, therefore the poll must be rigged.
Really? Here are two recent photosets currently making the rounds in Inception fandom. Together they’ve averaged 1,327.5 notes. Even if only 1% of those notes translated into A/E fans who were actively participating in the slash tournament, those 13.3 people, voting once every 4 seconds for 108 hours straight, could generate 1.3 million votes for their pairing.
BUT WAIT, you’re thinking: those people aren’t always voting consistently. They’re taking regular 10-minute breaks to avoid getting flagged as spammers. Okay, but even if those loyal 13 people took regular breaks, and *no one else* rotated in or joined them, they could easily fit in around six 45-second voting sessions of 20 votes each per hour. (Really six and a half, but we’ll be generous.) That’s 1,690 votes per hour, which still averages out to 182,000 votes in 5 days. Triple those eager 13 shippers, and you get nearly 550,000 votes per poll.
That means that all you need to get the kind of numbers the Merlinception poll is seeing is a rotating cast of 39-ish dedicated shippers every hour, voting a lazy once every four seconds.
So, really, it’s not that the people voting are rigging the polls. It’s that there are enough people who are consistently returning and voting. Because, as we all know, slow and steady wins the race.
(If you would like to up the voting rate for your pairing, go here and click things!)
Finally, in the words of Eames, math was never my strong suit, so if any of this math is horribly wrong, feel free to let me know. it’s 3 am and my brain is tired. :)
ETA: okay, since Tumblr anons are saying that we didn’t explain the two large jumps in the voting rates, here’s the explanation of how we got the alleged “30k votes in 10 minutes” without cheating, posted on my journal so that we don’t keep clogging up the group tumblr with this. Keep on being shiny, Merlinception. - Aja