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Reg hack in online poll rigging scandal

McCarthy indulges in some 'creative accounting'

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The Vulture Centre Internal Affairs Department launched an investigation over the weekend after detecting serious anomalies in Kieren McCarthy's Do you want to know who Gharlane of Eddore is? online poll.

McCarthy had decided to leave the tricky question as to whether to reveal the true identity of Usenet legend Gharlane to you, the readers. This all seems reasonable enough. But note the wording which precedes the poll buttons:

We have therefore decided to leave the decision as to whether we reveal Gharlane's real-life identity to you the readers. Below are three buttons, for "no interest", "yes, reveal", and "no, don't".

Whichever of these three is the most popular by Monday morning, we will follow. Note that the "No interest" button corresponds to not revealing his identity. Choice is yours.

In fact, there are effectively only two choices available. Hitting "No interest" registers as a no vote. Nicely done.

Why stop there? What about those who read the story and did not vote at all? Clearly they have "no interest". Let's add those figures to the no vote, shall we? Then we have all of those people who read the Register and chose not to read the story - no interest whatsoever. Add those figures. And why not, while we're about it, add the entire popluation of planet earth who have not even read the Reg and have clearly therefore indicated that they too have "no interest".

The bottom line is then, that unless at least 2.5 billion of you vote to reveal Gharlane's identity, the whole thing is a foregone conclusion. Oh dear, oh dear.

The normal punishment for such a serious breach of the Vulture Central online poll regulations is an afternoon in the stocks. In the circumstances, however, we have decided to let you have the final word. Should the young whippersnapper pay for his crimes, or should we fill our hearts with clemency? Vote here:

To be frank, I don't give two hoots what happens to him.
Yes, please throw McCarthy in the stocks with my blessing.
No, he's suffered enough already. Leave the lad alone.

Please note that we will count all votes as we see fit and the outcome of the poll depends entirely on how we feel on the matter come tommorrow morning. ®

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