From Mike Wise, the journalist who organized the CBC’s Wish List contest:
The last 30 hours on the wish list have seen some pretty strange things happening on the Great Canadian Wish List. In the course of an hour, I tracked one wish getting more than 900 votes. In fifteen minutes, another wish got another 400.
While I know many people are hard at work trying to build support for their wishes, clearly something was going on. Some honest group members alerted everyone there was a software glitch that allowed people to “cheat” by voting for a wish more than once. Several wishers took advantage of this exploit to inflate their numbers: we are not pointing fingers at anyone.
So what was the problem? It all comes down to how Facebook calculates “support” for a wish. When you click the “join” button, you become part of the sub-group for the wish. Popularity is based on membership. The more people in the sub-group, the more popular the wish. Facebook found that their counter had a problem – it was advancing every time someone simply clicked the join button. We had a situation, as described in the discussion boards, where someone could join a wish, and then continue to join and re-join it as a way to inflate the numbers.
Thankfully, Facebook had another counter that was still keeping track of the wishes based on their actual membership. Late Friday afternoon, they switched to that back-up source, and re-freshed the levels of support for all the wishes. That explains why you would have seen many of the top wishes drop by several thousand votes. Facebook is continuing to sort this out. In the meantime, thank you for your patience and participation. I work in live TV every day. I’m used to technical glitches, bad audio, poor quality video, unpredictable live hits – but in my journalistic career, I’ve never had to deal with a software glitch before. We’re trying our best with an experiment in trying something different.
Let me thank all of you for taking part in this with us so-far. This is your wish list – your sounding board – your chance to talk up whatever you want with the rest of the country.As we enter the final week, please keep it lively, keep it intelligent, and please, try to keep it polite (it is the Great CANADIAN Wish List after all).
Apologies for the error in the email note at the top of yesterday’s news. Contrary to information we were previously given, the CBC Great Canadian Wish List contest is open only to Canadians. Foreign entries will be removed. However if you are Canadian and have not yet entered your vote in favour of the pro-life wish there is still time to do so. – LifeSite.
It’s all fair and square now, and shock of all shocks, we are back in the saddle again!
Festus, get my horse.