This is why we can’t have nice things.
As long as I’ve been in the craft beer community, there’s been a saying I’ve heard most places I go: “Craft beer people are good people”. I’ve always believed that saying, and with a few very notable exceptions, I’ve found it to be true. Today is one of those exceptions.
I woke up this morning to see the polls in our March Madness-style bracket had been tampered with. Matches that had been close yesterday were suddenly a landslide. I found out one IP address voted between 2000 and 3000 times in each poll. In some cases it voted for a specific beer and in others it voted randomly. I don’t know if it was a bot or a person, but either way someone tried to ruin the bracket for everyone. What’s truly pitiful is that the bracket’s only prize is bragging rights. No money, no trophy, not even a plaque.
We’ve upgraded our account with the polling website we are using for this bracket. This lets us do 2 things:
1) We are able to access the raw voting data, which includes IP addresses. We filtered that data so each IP address gets one vote. Whether you played fairly, you voted a few times more than you were supposed to, or you were the person who cast 2000 votes, you get one vote. We’re going to call the winners of the Elite 8 round based on this data.
2) The free polling account we were using only restricted votes based on cookies. The upgraded account restricts votes by IP address. Going forward, the polls should be more fair.
To the bot guy:
Haha. You did it. You ruined it for everyone.
What you don’t know is that we’re running this website out of our own pockets. The web hosting, the beers we review, the event tickets, and the gas to drive across town is almost exclusively paid for by our staff and writers. We’re trying to gain enough of an audience that we can approach advertisers and be able to pay our writers, and you’ve put a giant asterisk on all of our analytics data. Speaking of analytics, your actions put us over the page view limit for our free analytics software, so now we have to upgrade that too.
You owe us $80.