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Reader Poll: the Gharlane results

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Well, it's Monday morning, so we've stopped the voting and received the results from techmaster Simon. To recap, we were undecided on whether to reveal the true identity of Usenet legend Gharlane of Eddore thanks to the number of emails arguing both sides.

Gharlane - a sci-fi boffin - died recently, prompting a search for his offline identity - something he defended furiously when alive and his friends wish to continue.

We asked you to vote whether you wanted to know his identity, whether it should be kept under wraps or if you just didn't care. Local troublemaker Lester Haines suggested this morning the structure was blatant poll rigging but he may be forced to eat his hat if this fascinating approach to revealing readers' views goes against his assumed bias.

These then were the results:

Yes: 1723 votes
No: 806 votes
Don't care: 957 votes.

But, hang on. Yet again, readers have presumed we are foolish enough not to check IP addresses and votes. So, for example, the 157 votes registered in a two-minute period for "yes" have been deemed not entirely legitimate. And yes, we do know who you are.

After a brief discussion, we have decided to eliminate all multiple votes over 5 (keeping the first vote though, obviously). This gave a reduction as follows:

Yes: 530 votes
No: 45 votes
Don't care: 61 votes

And therefore the final results are:

Yes: 1176 votes
No: 761 votes
Don't care: 896 votes.

Thus, you may be interested to know that Gharlane of Eddore was in fact David Potter, an employee at the California State University in Sacramento. Unfortunately, knowing his real name won't help you find any of his writings - he only wrote under pseudonyms.

Two such pseudonyms are E. K. Grant and Gordon Schumway. He has a story called "The Man Who Hated Cadillacs" in The Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy II, and another called "The Swords and the Stones" in the first The Mammoth Book of Awesome Comic Fantasy. Get them from Amazon here and here.

He also wrote occasional scripts and short stories and adapted books for the TV.

A number of people have enjoyed posting abusive messages about David Potter in recent days, but while no one will doubt that he was not backward in coming forward, the fact remains that he was a witty, well-read, travelled and caring man. In short, a good human being.

Go here for a Usenet listing of his postings.

Incidentally, 8,805 people read the story before voting was stopped, meaning 5,972 people didn't bother to vote at all. Or rather that the story had an excellent 32 per cent response rate. ®

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