Some Mumme Poll notes

I thought I might provide you with a few updates as Tidefan and I do some offseason tweaking to the Mumme Poll.

  • I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but the site has been taken down temporarily so that Tidefan can apply some judicious rejiggering.  He’s excited about what he’s doing, so I am as well.
  • I’ve hinted at it previously, but the expansion of the voting pool gives us the chance to modify the ballot process.  My goals are (1) to simplify the vote and (2) to have a model that is purer from an approval voting standpoint.  Along those lines, the 2010 ballot will have ten slots instead of twelve and will only allow for a first place designation to break a tie in the top slot.  I don’t think we’ll see too many ties with the move (the most ties we saw last season came in the final post-bowl ballot, which had by far the smallest voting pool), and really, when you get down to it, how much do ties outside of the top slot matter?
  • The biggest complaint by far that we received last season was over obvious omissions from someone’s ballot of a team that should have been there by any logical explanation.  In our defense, there simply wasn’t enough time to review 200-600 ballots to check for votes like that.  So one thing we intend to implement this season is public access to all of the votes.  Sunshine and peer review will, I hope, have a positive impact on this problem.

If you’ve got any complaints or suggestions about what you’d like to see in the 2010 edition of the Mumme Poll, lay ‘em out for us in the comments.

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “Some Mumme Poll notes

  1. FourOFour

    Encourage the voters to vote more fairly by policing themselves. Since the ballets will be public and making the assumption that more generally “fair” ballots makes for a fairer poll…..you should consider adding the ability for the poll voters to promote or demote specific ballots and/or voters. Promoted ballots/voters would count slightly more and demoted ballots/voters would count slightly less than a ballot/voter with no promotion or demotion. Voters would keep their reputation from week to week which would encourage them to vote more fairly in order to improve their reputation, thus having more influence in the poll.

    • That’s a really interesting idea. The downside of it that I can see is that it inherently increases some of the negative difficulties we’re trying to discourage. Most specifically, bloc voting. If a small group of voters all decide to cast a uniform ballot (which may or may not be “fair”), then this gives them the added power of having each member of the bloc promote every other ballot that is like-minded, which creates an artificial shift in the votes.

      • Lee

        Well maybe instead of just promoting or demoting ballots, voters checking other ballots can have a sort of “whistle blower” option to flag obviously bias ballots designed to scew the poll. If a ballot gets a certain number of “flags”, the ballot gets sent to you guys for review. That way, you aren’t checking more than 15-20 ballots each week.

  2. Like the sunshine provisions. If we can vote, we can stand to have the light of day on our ballots. Many of us post our ballots in various places for review, many do not. I’d love to be able to see the votes and how people got where they did.

    Great work and thanks. The Mumme Poll is a great part of the football firmament, imho.

  3. Macallanlover

    I am afraid that restricting the votes to ten teams will limit the diversity needed to get the bottom teams right. Except for the kooks with agendas, who while not numerous were visible last year, the top 10 teams were pretty easy to pick and fairly universal. Couldn’t this have the effect of amplifying the significance of those ballots where folks intend to distort if fewer voters are casting votes for teams outside the Top 10? It was the last one or two teams that every one struggled with and the bottom teams were the ones that varied the most from the traditional polls. Regardless, I applaud the effort to improve and upgrade.

    • If you go back and look at my very first posts on the subject, you’ll find that I wasn’t that concerned with generating a top 25. The reason I went with a twelve-school ballot in the first place was because the size of the voting pool was small. Last year’s pool was both larger and more diverse and after analyzing the weekly results, I’m not worried dropping the ballot size to ten.

      The good thing is that if I’m wrong about that, we can always revert back in 2011 to a twelve team vote.

      • Just to expand on what the Senator is saying here, we considered that the last two votes would be the ones with the most variation, thus creating the most flex in the polls. Based on the way we kept the data from last year, we were able to do a review of the votes based on what position everyone slotted their teams. Now, because teams could be slotted anywhere after the top five, this isn’t definitive, but assuming that the vast majority of voters put the votes in in the order with which they had the easiest decision for inclusion (basically filling out the first ten picks and then struggling with the last two before adding them), we found that we lost a significant number of votes, but not so many that we would very often fail to have a top 25, and at worst, we would still have enough to include a top 20 with significant vote variation. In my mind, there is very little significance between a top 20 (or 16.7% of the total pool) and a top 25 (20.1%). Even less so in the case of the Mumme Poll, which is not designed to reward teams for a season in which they finished ranked, but to come up with an alternative means of determining an overall winner.

      • Macallanlover

        I realize a Top 25 was never the purpose but one of the best by-products of the Mumme Poll to me is people legitmately picking teams they feel deserve to be in the Top 12 actually populate the balance of the Top 25.

        Too many teams end up in the Top 25 in the traditional polls because because they get “slotted” into the lower positions by someone rationalizing “there aren’t 22 teams better than” a particular team, or we need to throw a few teams in from the Big East/PAC10, MWC, etc. to be polically correct. This format makes for a better Top 25 even while not differing that much in the Top 5.

  4. I’ll try not and completely echo Exile‘s sentiments, but I as well applaud the transparency addition. After casting my first ballot this past season, I wanted to remove any appearance of impropriety so I began posting mine for my loyal reader to see. From then on I felt like I was deliberating a lot more. Which is a good thing.

    One other thing. What can we do to make this upcoming season even more diverse than the last? Message board virus…billboards in the midwest, Pacific rim…poster board sign that follows College Gameday…

    • What can we do to make this upcoming season even more diverse than the last? Message board virus…billboards in the midwest, Pacific rim…poster board sign that follows College Gameday…

      Good question. I’ll be the first to admit that self-promotion isn’t one of my strengths. I’ll probably try notifying more bloggers this year about the MP.

      Any suggestions anybody has about this would be welcome.

      • Sanford222View

        I say make use of Twitter as a viral marketing tool. You can spread things like wild fire with it.

        I also agree with the “flagging” sentiment mentioned by others above. The second suggestion to simply allow flags to notify the administrators should help you out immensely with policing for bogus ballots.

        I am sure “Andy” would be proud to see a benchmark set for transparency. (Just a friendly jab. Not trying to get everyone all riled up.)

        • Good idea on the Twitter. It really could spread pretty easily that way. Just need to keep the URL away from that Justin Beaver kid. Don’t want 3 trillion 12 year old girls corrupting the analytics.

          • I don’t use Twitter.

            Are you guys suggesting that we set up a Twitter account for the MP? How would that work, promotionally speaking?

            Forgive my generational ignorance here. I continue to be amazed that my visitor stats at GTP have increased as much as they have.

            • If you set up a MummePoll acct I think it would definitely help. Bloggers could publicize it on their sites and twitter users could suggest other college football fans to follow MP.

              Plus you could remind MP followers to vote each week and even tweet out results with a link to them each week. More than anything it could help widen the pool I think.

              Let us know if you need help.

            • Sanford222View

              I am not sure how but there is a way to create a Twitter Bot that would make things somewhat automated too. Maybe some of the more technically inclined Dawgs out there could help in this area.