Thursday, January 12, 2006

A1E: The Voting Question

No matter how much we want to deny it, we're all selfish sometimes in this hobby. Even the most hardcore of angle-fedders will probably want to write the biggest match and get the most props for their writing sometimes. Not all the time, but sometimes.

And so it's natural that we always want to win our matches. Even if we don't say it, deep down inside, winning matches in RP feds, where the competitive spirit is still alive, is always going to matter a lot. And when you can have a say in whether you win or lose, it raises the pot a little.

Or at least it should.

That's why A1E has always been a little more sensitive to wins and losses than most other RP feds. We've always had the vote system, and in some way, wins and losses were more than wins and losses; they were validation from your peers.

Yet, as of right now, there has been some grumbling from the Booking Committee about removing the vote system because only BC guys have been voting. It makes sense, because if you want to keep a system in place and people aren't adhering to it, despite the fact that it's a popular system, you threaten them with the system's removal to a system that, if all else remains equal, is a much, much worse system. Right at that, a few folks (including myself) came out in defense of it, at least as opposed to the alternative.

Yet, if the voting system was gotten rid of and replaced with a single-booker system, I would be all for it. Why?

Because it's too problematic.

One, it's easily manipulated. Stanton proved that with his Cyber Title machinations. Sure, no one was proven to do that again or before, but the temptation is there, and should there be a boom in wrestling and a spike in handlers for A1E, you know someone is going to try to rig it so their character wins the Cyber Title or even more.

Two, relying on the entire body of a fed for a voting quorum isn't sensible, especially since most of us in A1E are a little older now and have a lot more on our plates. Maybe if the ideas Brunk and Dan West had to switch the voting time to a more friendly time is implemented, we'll see a spike. But still, people, as a rule, are generally unreliable.

Three, ever hear of the phrase "too many cooks spoil the broth?" To me, that exactly encapsulates A1E finish booking to a tee. Basically, you're asking about 12-15 different people to impart their vision on a fed. Usually, those 12-15 people have 12-15 directions they want to take things, and plans get muddled. It's almost impossible to do any good longterm booking, because everyone has their own ideas.

Basically, I wouldn't cry if the tyranny of the majority was thrown to the wayside, but only if a better system was put in place. That better system is to have a single booker system where that booker wasn't handling in the fed with an active competitor. There's too much of a conflict of an interest involved, no matter how impartial that person is.

Unless the party involved is jobbing their character all the time, there is no way that everyone is going to trust them to be objective in judging their own matches. If they had an outside person judging their matches, it could work. It works in AWC, where Pierre Hyde runs Tim Shipley with great success and no backlash. And it could work in A1E should Roger want to continue running his characters but not give up head booking duties. (And let's be honest here... to ask Roger to choose between giving up the reigns in A1E or taking out any of his characters would be unreasonable at this point) Let Jarret or Phil judge his matches (as long as they aren't involved either). But get to one person setting the tone with everyone else sort of falling in line. To me, that's the best recipe for success.

And it would help bring some new blood into A1E. I know I've talked to a few people who are staying away from A1E because of the vote system. I know we have a good amount of handlers now, but we could always use more.

What would be the worst scenario though? Going to a full BC vote system. Just the pall it casts over the fed that a group of handlers in the fed control everyone... it keeps people away and it causes mistrust within the fed. Even if the BC is not deciding matches in a cliquish manner (and I truly believe they wouldn't), the percepption would be there. I know when the old system of BC override was in place, most of the people I talked to that weren't on the BC didn't like it and thought it was being misused at most and a bit screwy at least.

Now, when you ask someone who is on the BC, they'll say that things weren't screwy and they were doing a good job. They'll defend it to the death. But what do you expect them to do? Say they weren't doing a good job? I don't blame them one bit for defending their tenure overall, although I do think the reversion to the pure vote system was a small admission that the BC override system wasn't working.

But still, no matter what happens in any walk of life, the true gauge of how somethign works is never through how those who implement the system see it, it's always through the eyes of whom it effects that's correct. And if those who aren't on the BC think that there's a giant conflict of interest with five guys who handle nine characters in the fed are the ones deciding the matches for everyone, then it probably is a giant conflict of interest and shouldn't be implemented. It wouldn't matter if in reality the BC was being ultimately fair. All it takes is one person to say that them losing to a BC character is questionable for there to be a firestorm.

Whether it's a firestorm or not, it's generally not good to have a system with such an inherent fatal flaw in it, and it's generally not good to give your handlers something to complain about. It's just bad practice.

Which is why if the only choice is between having a BC only vote and a totally open vote, I'd go totally open vote, even if the only folks who are voting are the BC guys. Why be for it if they're essentially the same in that situation?

Well, when a screwy result happens, the BC guys don't need to take all the flak if there's an open vote system and no one else votes. It's not their fault that the guy who's perceived as an "unjust" winner won... no one else voted, it's on them. Whereas, if the other folks couldn't vote, then there's nothing they could do about it, and they have plenty of reason to bitch.

So that's my two cents on the subject. But if you wanted a pittance more, then here it is.

If you really want to give people incentive to vote, let them vote for themselves again. That way, they can vote to make up a vote. But in order to discourage irresponsible voting, make it so that you can only vote for yourself IF you give reasons for all your other votes. THat way, they have to read the other matches if they want to get a vote for themselves.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tommy,
As usual you have addressed a situation professionally and sanely. If only everyone would take the time to do that...myself included.

Let's take a look at this week. We had only two non BC member vote this week. WOW. That just doesn't seem to me like there is enough interest in the fed to warrent the voting system. On the face of it.

Let's look at the people in A1E shall we. We have a great mix of handlers right now. I mean we are talking "legends" of the business. Dan West, Bill, Dave Brunk, Roger, Jarrett, Tommy, Lindsey, Phil...look at that list of handlers. These are guys that are respected up and down the e-fed world. We have old timers that compete for their love of it and have sucess like Andy, Justin and Jean. We have hobbiest like myself. We have newcomers like Elim who are trying to establish an identity in the e-fed world. What a wonderful mix. I think if you asked each of them they would tell you that they inteded to vote that they care about the federation that they would do anything they could to help. So why did we only have 2 votes?

Real life. You hit it on the head. So many of us are older now with real jobs, families and obligations. It's tough to vote on a "schedule".

I don't think we should abandon the voting system yet. It's what sets A1E apart and makes it unique. I know that it scares some people off. I know that we could have more handlers if we just ran it like UCW or EPW. But we don't. Like it's predecessor MBE A1E strives to be a fed for the handlers. I like to think that A1E more then any other fed is open to ideas and storylines from it's handlers. I think that is because of the open system.

We need to expand the voting time. A1 as a board is dead on the weekends. I think many of our handlers hit the computer at work and then go home and are busy with life. So why not go until Monday at noon? Why not give people a chance.

I think we owe it to the system to tweak it one last time and see what kind of results we get.

That's my two cents for ya Tommy.

Oh yeah...I am 100% against voting for ourselves. I think it is just a wasted vote. My opinion only. But I am in favor of an open voting thread where people defend their votes. Let me tell you why quickly. I think it actually benefits every handler if they see what their peers thought they did right or wrong. I think it helps everyone. Of course this could also get way personal and cause hard feelings...but what the hell you know I love contreversy!!!

That's all I got Tommy.


Joshua C. Ray said...

I'm into hip hop and I write lyrics, Tom... and what Shane is talking about (open voting/defending your vote) is an idea that is used in internet battle threads among other music related critical forums. It works for the most part, but arguing and group mentalities begin to develop if not monitored heavily.

What most music forums do is set restrictions on whose votes count and they post it on each voting thread... ie. 100 or more posts, must detail reason behind the vote, etc. The booking committee would need to be ready to disqualify and delete votes that incite vote stacking or unfair voting, or just don't meet requirements (not enough posts).

The post minimum would ensure that most voters have some sort of desire to stay a part of the forum, too. That way if they were banned or punished they would actually feel disciplined.

This is just a thought to add to the conversation. I'll probably post this at A1E as well.

Joshua C. Ray said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.