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No Surprise There

This article in Editor & Publisher not only reveals the results of the Doonesbury poll (MIT cleaned up with 48%, RIT came in second with 32%, and Cornell languished last, with a measly 19%), but clarifies what I'd suspected: Those geeky pranksters at MIT hacked their way to glory, at least until the Slate web folks caught on.

This of course begs the question: Why didn't Cornellians see it necessary to cheat their way to comic-strip infamy? Is it because we have lives? Maybe, but I don't see Cornell engineers having significantly more free time than MIT students. (Or RIT, which also mounted an online hack campaign.) Is it because we don't care as much about our funny-page fate? No. Judging by the alumni office's campaign and the 10,000 e-mails I received urging me to vote (again), Cornell seems to have taken the strip more seriously than either of its competitors, probably because of our image-infused perspective and the perception that we had more riding on a victory. Are Cornell students busier, less competent, or just lazy? Some of the cited excuses, from the Doonesbury page:

Cornell blogage shows that students there were watching the fray ("Me thinks the site is being bombarded by a script war between Troy and Cambridge..."), but a higher, or more urgent, course was taken. ("We're at a disadvantage, because we've got finals now and presumably no one has the free time to write a Cornell spamming script.") The Cornell alumni office had early-on taken an above-board interest, alerting alums to the situation and urging them to vote, but this effort did not bring Cornellians to the poll in numbers sufficient for Big Red to catch up. "We're obviously not trying hard enough to cheat," lamented a dismayed blogger. However, students and alums managed to post many passionate, articulate, humorous, and convincing posts on our Blowback page, all making the case that Alex should head to Ithaca. In acknowledgement of this impressive and moving effort, the Doonesbury Town Hall is pleased to award Cornell the Doonesbury Straw Poll Congeniality Award.

I would conduct a poll to find out the real reason, but I'd rather wallow in the blow to my self-esteem this loss has caused me.

Andy Guess | Posted on May 27, 2006 (#)


I thought about it, and then it occured to me that spamming their form with visits from random people (I could provide on the order of 30,000 a day) wouldn't be ethical. MIT may have the poll, but we Cornell students have our Ethics.

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