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Best Of Categories, often predictable, but thanks anyway

Original post made by Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 29, 2007

Just finished reading through the Best Of winners in today's Weekly.
They were often predictable, particularly in sections where there is so little choice. Still, it makes entertaining reading and for the few establishments I have never heard of and am interested in, I will make the effort and try them out.

Comments (10)

Posted by Joanna
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 30, 2007 at 12:20 pm

This was pretty entertaining to read. Yes, it is too bad about the choices, but what can one do?

I will make an effort to visit some of the restaurants listed as I have not yet done so.

Does MP have their own Readers' Choice issue? I am concerned because a particular health / fitness company did some major ballot stuffing. I saw it with my own eyes. They would fill in the votes for every client and send them in. Sometimes they would tell the client that they had done so. Most of the time, they did not. I think it would be very difficult to track these things down though.

For the winners, it would be nice to read a comment or two by voters on why they voted. I'm interested because my company and I often go out to lunch and we like to know what we can expect ahead of time.

This issue is great and it was fun to read. :-)

Posted by Fitness
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 30, 2007 at 12:24 pm

Can we assume the ballot stuffing was done by the winner? It is a new place, I never heard of it so how could it get so many votes?

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2007 at 1:00 pm

I am not sure how the ballot stuffing could have been done because as far as I can remember, it was online and only one ballot for each computer was enabled. Last year, I think it was different and I know that for someyears there was actually a ballot printed in the newspaper that had to be used.

Posted by gordon
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 30, 2007 at 3:05 pm

I think they would know if someone was ballot stuffing. . . only one vote comning from each IP address would be counted.

Posted by Tyler Hanley
digital editor of Palo Alto Online
on Aug 30, 2007 at 5:27 pm

Tyler Hanley is a registered user.

The Palo Alto Weekly and it's sister papers the Almanac and Mountain View Voice use only on-line voting. No paper ballots are allowed. (The Palo Alto Daily News did run a very short-lived contest in August that only utilized paper ballots.}

Ballots are only counted if they are activated after we send out a confirming e-mail to the voter. To reduce the chances of ballot-stuffing by businesses creating a bunch of new e-mail addresses and casting multiple ballots, we also require each voter to vote in at least five categories. Finally, we examine the electronic ballots sent from any e-mail addresses that seem odd...such as a series of numbers or letters that make no sense.

We did uncover one attempt to ballot-stuff in this year's balloting and all of those votes were thrown out. In that case, someone created dozens of very similar e-mail addresses and voted for the minimum five categories. One category was in common, however, and all votes were for the same business. Disqualifying those votes resulted in the business not winning the category.

Posted by impatient
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 30, 2007 at 5:39 pm

Yeah, but how about the prizes. I suspect a ruse. I've filled out my ballot EACH year since the inception of the Best Of and have never won. Still waiting!!

Posted by Tyler Hanley
digital editor of Palo Alto Online
on Aug 30, 2007 at 6:24 pm

Tyler Hanley is a registered user.

Names of prize winners were published in the paper yesterday along with the Best Of Palo Alto winners. There really are prizes given!

Posted by Joanna
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 31, 2007 at 7:20 am

I gave an account of a business that did practice ballot stuffing. It was taken down for some reason. If I had time, I'd write about it again.

Basically, it exists. To what extent I don't know.

Posted by Joanna
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 31, 2007 at 7:23 am

Er, never mind. I see it up there.

I'm glad that the newspaper is on the up and up. I'm glad that they are keeping a sharp eye.

Oh, if you are curious about the winners, check out I went to a "winning restaurant" last night and was very very impressed. I wouldn't have gone to it were it not for this contest.

Posted by impatient
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 4, 2007 at 6:21 pm

I know, Tyler. I was just joking about the prizes. I enjoyed the photos of Jessie Cool and Rick's Rather Rich.

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