It’s funny how things take off sometimes.
Last year, when I started the Mumme Poll, I wasn’t sure where things would wind up. I was interested to see if I could find out a couple of things: (1) whether a viable college football poll could be constructed on the basis of approval voting and (2) what sort of efficiencies in the voting would result from a 12-team ballot that didn’t involve ranking each team individually.
My perception at season’s end was that we got positive results on both. Our rankings seemed as credible as any other poll’s, with the added benefit of reducing the perception of bias by means of approval voting. And with the average MP ballot taking around 30 minutes to put together, it looked to require a level of attention that a typical college football coach should be able to manage on his own.
The only downside to the experience was that we lost about half of our initial pool of voters (in large part, I suspect, because the Georgia season turned out to be disappointing) by the time the last ballots were cast. On the other hand, those that stayed on through the end enjoyed themselves tremendously, as did I.
So I was pretty convinced that I was going back to the well for more this year. That being said, I recognized that there were some shortcomings that would need to be addressed. A larger group of voters would reduce the chance for ties and would likely generate a longer list of top teams. A more diversified group of voters would reduce the perception of bias even further, and would also be a hedge against a discouraged group of voters dropping out due to apathy.
It’s also fair to recognize a limit with me as chief, cook and bottle washer of this joint. There’s only so much one person can do running a poll like the MP out of a standard WordPress blog like GTP, which means that there’s a limit on how many voters I can keep track of each week and how much attention I can generate with it.
And if I can get delusional with you for a minute, I want the Mumme Poll’s visibility raised for a reason. College football fans may argue vehemently about the BCS and playoffs, but if there’s one thing we’re all pretty much in agreement on (unless you’re Grant Teaff), it’s that the Coaches’ Poll is seriously flawed. It needs a fix badly. So, humor me in my fever dream that there’s a one-in-a-million chance that someday the Mumme Poll catches the right eyes and generates a useful debate on a higher level.
In order to start down that road, though, I recognized the need to make some changes on my end. It’s something I’ve been considering for the last couple of months or so, without much success. However, in the last week or so, spurred on by one of my commenters here, I was approached by the guys at the terrifically named 3rd Saturday in Blogtober with an offer I simply couldn’t refuse: a dedicated web site for the poll that they would host and a web interface/poll engine that they would construct to handle the voting.
Which means I’ve got some partners now. And since they know something about how these here interwebs work, that’s a plus. (Trust me on this.)
Speaking of which, please welcome one of your new Mumme Poll overlords:
Hello loyal Get the Picture readers. This is Tidefan from Third Saturday in Blogtober. I followed the Mumme Poll closely last season, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to partner with the good Senator on it this season. In particular, we at 3SiB will be providing a new interface for the poll to make voting easier and offer multiple ways in which you can be a part of the MP experiment. Senator Blutarsky will still provide his excellent analysis (and this season, so will we…the analysis, if not so much the excellence), but we’re hoping we can take the number-crunching burden and not just lighten it but explode it so that any level of detail the voters want will be transparent to them and immediately accessible. As the season goes on we’ll be adding new features as well, but we don’t want to give away too much too soon. In the next few weeks we’ll update you on how you can register as a voter and get a little more specific on the toys and tools we are planning. In the meantime, sit back, get excited and pay attention.
Really, this is all good. For one thing, since I can ditch the yellow legal pad and #2 pencil that served as my spreadsheet program last season in return for a poll engine that will assemble the results, there’s no reasonable limit on the number of participants we can accept as voters. If you want in, sign up. That’s all there is to it. For another, you get to junk the rather clunky way I had of collecting your votes by e-mail and replace it with what should be a much more user friendly method of casting your ballot each week. (Which means I can stop spending bandwidth chastising some of you for not getting your votes in on time.)
I’ve got plans for that freed-up time. It’ll be used to do more analysis and commentary related to the poll and polling in general. As Tidefan mentioned, two of my cohorts at 3SiB will be pitching in with this, as well. In fact, I’m going to get fairly ambitious with this, as I’m inviting several other bloggers with various allegiances and backgrounds to contribute to the MP blog commentary with us.
Needless to say, your contributions are still highly valued. I’m not sure what the final format will look like, but there will be some platform for your comments and observations.
There will be much more to come on this, obviously. In the meantime, any suggestions you have about what you’d like to see happen with this would be appreciated. Just stick ’em in the comments section and we’ll take a look.
In case you can’t tell, I’m excited about this. Just to let you know how serious we are, we’ve even come up with a logo:
Inspirational, yet campy, right? Anyway, thanks for playing. And stay tuned.
(3SiB announcement here.)