The vote for the March POTM, post-mortem

The SourceForge March Project of the Month is Scribus, a document layout tool.

Those of you who were following the vote for the March POTM may find that a little surprising, given that other projects had more votes. So I thought it would be worthwhile taking a moment to explain what happened.

We conducted the vote on TwtPoll. Polls there have a number of different settings, and it became very obvious, fairly early on, that I had selected the wrong ones, and the vote was being tampered with. With the help of the fine folks at TwtPoll we’ve done something of a post-mortem, but because I had set the vote up in a particular way, it wasn’t possible, after the fact, to go back and figure out which were the “good” and “bad” votes.

My wife suggested the obvious solution – throw out the projects that had fraudulent votes, and select the winner from the other projects. That’s what we did.

This is extremely frustrating to me on several levels. I tend to have, even after all these years, something of a wide-eyed optimism about people in the Open Source community. I tend to think that we believe the mantras about community before code, and altruism being more important than “winning.”

And I still think that’s probably true about most of us.

It’s a shame that a handful of people took it upon themselves to ruin this for everyone else. I’m very sorry to have to penalize those of you on those project who were playing by the rules.

However, as it turns out, the Scribus project is an amazingly cool project, and I’m glad they’ve won. The product is professionally executed, and I greatly enjoyed discussing it with Peter. (Listen to our interview in the SourceForge Podcast.)

After discussing the situation with the admins of the projects that were affected, I’m persuaded that they had nothing to do with it, but that it was over-zealous fans of the project. So, we’re going to give them another chance. for the April POTM, we will again be conducting the vote on TwtPoll, along with some additional safeguards to try to prevent this kind of thing happening again. The side effect, of course, is that it makes it that much less convenient for everyone who was already playing by the rules. C’est la vie.

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