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Shameless Propaganda

ComicMixMarchMadnessFeatured2015-6 We're down to the Final Four! Shotgun Shuffle VS Girl Genius First of all, thanks to everyone who donated in the last round. Check out the donations to Hero's Initiative: Donations Even the admin did a double take. He wasn't the only one who was shocked. I was as well. That was incredible guys. Now for anyone under a rock, Girl Genius is a mega-popular comic with an incredibly loyal, and much larger fanbase. So how are we going to win? Well, it's not going to be easy. Out of all the comics we've gone head to head with, Girl Genius is the one I have received more emails, comments, and Facebook messages concerning. Anything from "This is going to be a tough decision" to "I'm literally going to jump ship on you, Chris." While I'm perfectly happy not knowing that, and living in my own ignorance, it did bring me to the realization we have to pull out all the stops. At Shotgun Shuffle we run positive campaigns. I can't in good conscience say anything demeaning or negative about our competition. It's a great comic, with a great creator, and great fans. I share many of those same fans. Fans who, like previously stated, may be a bit torn right now. I understand. Who do you vote for? Who deserves it more? Obviously I'm going to be biased right? How can I help you make this choice? I'd easily tell you to vote for me. You know what's not biased? FACTS. Spurrious Correlation graphs to be more specific.  If you're not familiar, these are charts that show trends between two SEEMINGLY unrelated events. Some of them can be incredibly shocking. Here are a few I've found involving our current competition: True Facts Oh believe me, there are more where that came from. Corruption... mob ties... anything trending upward, really. Does this implicate Girl Genius in any way. No. No I can't legally say that. But doesn't it make you think?? After that, if you're still not convinced, I'm not sure what else I can do to sway you. So.. here are some harmless, fun optical illusions. Pick your favorite. Eye-1 Eye-2 Eye-3 Eye-4 Eye Eye-5 Eye-6 So cast your vote for Shotgun Shuffle at the ComicMix voting page NOW!

499 thoughts on “Shameless Propaganda

  1. Alright I’ve voted via iPhone, other iPhone, iPad, iPod, and my Mac. I’ll see if I can get the old Dell up and running and abduct my mom’s computer. I’d use the school computers but voting is banned there (which I find completely ironic given that our school is supposed to promote democracy). Does the site work on Nintendo 3dses? I’ll vote using that too if I can. And possibly my Wii too. Is that enough or do I need to raid the neighbor’s house?

    1. You might need to raid your neighbor’s house for entirely unrelated reasons. I don’t know you or your neighbor well enough to guess.

  2. Yeah, it will take a miracle.
    Just got home and logged in on a different computer to keep it fresh. No idea how they are tabulating their votes.

    Not A Villain 1855 (31%)
    Stand Still. Stay Silent 1775 (30%)
    Girl Genius 1304 (22%)
    Shotgun Shuffle 994 (17%)

    I’m blaming Chad. Let’s Hang Chad!!!

    (after all – this IS Florida, right?)

    1. That’s going to be the real part of the question/problem. Hard telling which of the sets of numbers they’ll happen to look at and decide is probably correct to tabulate the final votes from. Luck there will change the winners entirely.

      1. This is insane. I just checked via my phone and confirmed it with a work desktop: Shotgun Shuffle shows 1014 votes.

        How is it possible for there to be such differences in vote tabulation? Are these votes being tabulated by SmartTECH?

  3. One thing that might help. Taking screen shots of the poll data on the minute for the ten minutes prior to scheduled end of voting. The deadline of the vote, and then for the next ten minutes in that fashion for the most die hard F5-ers. Some can muster for the five minute F5-ers whole others take ten, fifteen and thirty minute blocks with hourly reports starting at 21:00 EST.

    1. Mr. Blue has some numbers.

      Not A Villain – 2117 vs. Stand Still. Stay Silent – 2033
      Girl Genius – 1465 vs. Shotgun Shuffle – 1173
      More stats to follow.

  4. right now we are 400 votes behind so every one vote on every device you have i voted on my phone my desktop my laptop and every computer i could get on at work last night

  5. The site must be getting hammered, the response timeline, pie-chart, and geographical dispersion aren’t even displaying for me at this point…

  6. I think I have a decent guess as to the cause of the variability, and there’s not really anything to do about it now.

    See http://www.poll-maker.com/Guides . They mention various levels and methods for getting rid of fraudulent votes. However, the trend for ISPs to put more and more people behind a NAT for IPv4 and security and privacy settings limit browser fingerprinting, there isn’t any real good/certain way for them to do that, so they allow the poll creator to set their own balance for detecting fraudulent votes vs losing real votes.

    They also mention a claim that no votes are lost. That almost has to mean they’ve got multiple systems in a load balanced setup (that or they’re making a very easily noticed false claim and aren’t concerned about being called on it because accounts are free so a terms of service of being entitled only to the money you paid would keep them out of trouble).

    I’m guessing that each server is doing some of its own filtering to attempt to determine faulty votes. They eventually likely converge, but during heavy periods they probably don’t all get all of the same data at the same time in the same order, and training it in different orders may produce slightly different results anyway.

    I don’t think I have the whole thing backsolved, but this would make sense to me as the basis of the behavior we’re seeing. I’d say the late voting might be convergence, but I recall last round that there were fluctuations at that time too, so it’s not completely the case.

    1. Regardless, I don’t think we’re taking the popular vote this time. Hard to compete against the significantly larger fanbases of these other comics.

        1. Just so you know, I’ve abstained from voting for Girl Genius this round just for you (and my kids have loved your shameless propaganda posts). Unfortunately, I didn’t think of the 20-some computers at the library until 10 minutes after they closed. Though it would likely take everyone’s library computers to narrow their 300+ vote lead.

          Get busy, you west coast fans!

        2. Don’t feel too bad, more likely than not they are all routed thru a single public IP address which (as TOG points out) would likely be blocked by their anti-fraud measures.

        3. Depends. The library near where I grew up has public IPs for all staff and patron computers.

          Also I suspect they pay more attention to browser fingerprint than IP (unless it looks like a weird/suspicious traffic pattern from the IP, such as 1000 votes for the same thing each initiated exactly a second apart with slightly different browser versions or something like that).

      1. I think Gravatarless knows web stuff better than I do. I’m more likely to be able to set up the basics and walk away, as I’ve rarely had to touch the internals of a production site and have supported development more. Not sure about Larathiel’s background, and we do always have the occasional non-regular commenter that will pipe in if Rusche is having computer problems, and it’s not unlikely for one of them to know more than me.

        The FAQ pointer was to try to give anyone else who might be watching the contest who wanted another piece of info to poke around with a bit too.

        1. I’m the System/Network Admin for my company, so I’m well-versed in hardware, networking, VMware, and general break/fix, but my dev and web skills are close to nil. I’d actually experimented with using 1-to-1 nat to cycle my laptop thru what unassigned public IPs we have remaining, but while that seems to clear TopWebComics, poll-maker didn’t seem to increment unless I altered the public IP of a VM or some such.

          At any rate, I determined that it was more productive to simply make a donation rather than risk causing a mess that I’d have to fix if I slipped up on ye olde router. ;-)

        2. I guess I did volunteer for the red teaming position…

          So that’s not surprising when you consider their differences in organization.

          TWC wants people to set up accounts, in fact they encourage it when your IP has shown up previously. They may get the occasional fan who will vote once logged out and then log in and vote again to double their vote, but that’s probably fairly rare and more likely people would sign up with multiple e-mails instead.

          Poll-maker doesn’t appear to want to use accounts, which would be a discouragement for voting, and they do want people to be confident in the results. Discriminating by IP will stop multiple people in the same family from having their votes register, and that’s likely to be a frequent and desired demographic (also a test case), and some companies will do NAT for either security or cost (biggest company I worked for that did that was ~450 people) plus companies that proxy all their traffic for security reasons (so large or more security-conscious organizations). They certainly use a standard browser cookie to identify people, but there are lots of plugins or settings people use to get rid of those for privacy reasons, so that would never work as the only method. There are flash objects that will be persistent per system (even between IE and Firefox), but once again those are ineffective for both privacy and security minded people. They can do the 1 pixel transparent image that the server checks if it’s already cached, but that can be defeated in an overcounting manner by caching web proxies (which ISPs use and like to not admit, not just companies) and in an undercounting manner by private browsing sessions. They can use the type of browser fingerprinting that the EFF showed publicly in panopticlick.eff.org , but then again the second search result for that was the EFF’s page on how to make that less effective. Advertisers of the web have been trying to find ways to distinguish definitely a specific person or definitely a specific browser for a long time, and privacy-minded people publish ways to get around that or plugins to screw it up. So it’s really a game they can’t hope to win. That makes the better strategy to very explicitly NOT tell anyone if a vote counted or not (or if it got stripped later by their fraud algorithms) to avoid letting people know if a cheating attempt worked and avoid pissing off a valid person from being incorrectly flagged by an algorithm. Then allow the human in the loop to make a call on what to allow or what to disallow, even to the point of letting it change things at the end (which is what their FAQ states they do). That would allow the organizer to do things like say, “Well, I sent this out to 50 people at work, where we all use the same browser setup from the IT dept, and we’re all going through the same IP to the Internet, and people care about it, so 40 votes in the 5 minutes after I announced it is probably kosher.”

          Seeing as how I’ve spotted “voting optimization” comments on the three of the four comics with comment sections, I think I’ll stop my red teaming at that.

  7. Okay, I’m sneaking in really quick during my 3 minutes to breathe as the latecomers register for the tournament. I may or may not be here at Midnight EST, but as a quick reminder the BracketMaster site for the Finals is http://www.bracketmaker.com/tmenu.cfm?tid=458046&tclass=ComicMix%20April%20Armageddon%20Webcomics%202015
    It may or may not be accurate for the first capture, as we’ve seen, but we did have the final results after donations before they posted those numbers on the ComicMix site, so it’s still worth watching.

    1. Wait, what’s this about… *comics* you say? (No wonder those fantasy football team names looked so goofy…)
       
       
       
       
       
      ;-)

      1. I see 1502 – 1504 in our favor. The problem is the question of what the person who records it will see/use. We’ve got at least three different sets of vote numbers floating around.

  8. 22:08 EST posting.
    Not A Villain – 2117 vs. Stand Still. Stay Silent – 2033
    Girl Genius – 1465 vs. Shotgun Shuffle – 1173

    22:31 EST.
    Not A Villain – 2266 vs. Stand Still. Stay Silent – 2188
    Girl Genius – 1501 vs. Shotgun Shuffle – 1481
    NAV +149, SSSS +155, GG +36, SS +308.

    1. 23:01 EST

      Not A Villain – 2330 vs. Stand Still. Stay Silent – 2257
      Girl Genius – 1528 vs. Shotgun Shuffle – 1541
      NAV +64, SSSS +69, GG +27, SS +60.

      1. 23:16 EST
        Not A Villain – 2299 vs. Stand Still. Stay Silent – 2181
        Girl Genius – 1497 vs. Shotgun Shuffle – 1373
        The numbers have dropped.
        NAV (-31), SSSS (-76), GG (-31), SS (-168)
        Will refresh the page at 23:20.

        1. 23:20 EST

          Not A Villain – 2338 vs. Stand Still. Stay Silent – 2310
          Girl Genius – 1531 vs. Shotgun Shuffle – 1560
          based on 23:01 EST:
          NAV +8, SSSS +53, GG +3, SS +19

        2. 23:30 update.

          Not A Villain – 2339 vs. Stand Still. Stay Silent – 2344
          Girl Genius – 1533 vs. Shotgun Shuffle – 1574
          NAV +1, SSSS +34, GG +2, SS +14

        3. 23:45 update;

          Not A Villain – 2301 vs. Stand Still. Stay Silent – 2283
          Girl Genius – 1507 vs. Shotgun Shuffle – 1402
          NAV (-38), SSSS (-64), GG (-26), SS (-172)

        4. 00:01 5/7/2015
          Not A Villain – 2480 vs. Stand Still. Stay Silent – 2329
          Girl Genius – 1527 vs. Shotgun Shuffle – 1510

        5. 00:10
          No change.
          Not A Villain – 2480 vs. Stand Still. Stay Silent – 2329
          Girl Genius – 1527 vs. Shotgun Shuffle – 1510.

          If these are the numbers that were captured if the poll results were unstable, then?? who knows. Back at 00:15.

        6. Okay, the numbers above are the ones reported by the poll site. However, the bracket site (Thanks to Stoirm (I can’t remember the rest of her name off of the top of my head (DON’T HIT ME))) shows a different story.
          Not A Villain – 2480 vs. Stand Still. Stay Silent – 3049
          Girl Genius – 1527 vs. Shotgun Shuffle – 1595.

        7. Well, sweet baby Cthulhu.

          It looks like we are ahead of Girl Genius, 1622 to 1542.

          Time to go to sleep.

  9. Good night all and good luck to us. I’ll check back in the morning and post an anonymous post from my phone if I find info that’s not mentioned already in comments.

      1. Children are tucked all snug in their beds,
        Brackets and donation votes dance in their heads?

  10. As of 11:30 pm EST the scores are as follows:
    Stay Silent: 2344
    Not a Villain: 2339
    Shotgun Shuffle: 1574
    Girl Genius: 1533

    KEEP IT UP EVERYONE!!

    1. 23:47
      SSSS: 2408
      NAV: 2340

      Possibility of a comeback, improbable

      SS: 1594
      GG: 1542

      Possibility of comeback, improbable but not impossible

    2. Actually managed to get the GF to vote SS from her phone. And yes, puppy-dog eyes *may* have been involved…

      1. I humbly requested two friends who aren’t into webcomics vote from as many devices as possible.

        Hell, Pat could vote about two dozen times if he pulled out every chromebook and all his old phones.

        1. Mr. Blue thinks about it, and….

          “Hey baby, do this for me, I’ve got puppy dog eyes, and the whining is getting to me.”

        2. Good question, but I’m not sure. In my case, I accosted her on the sofa in the other room. Sadly, the friend she was Skyping with refused to help because web comics aren’t her thing.

          My response *might* have been the evil monkey glare from Family Guy.

  11. DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES!!!
    5 minutes to go:

    Stand Still. Stay Silent 2419 (30%)
    Not A Villain 2401 (30%)
    Shotgun Shuffle 1657 (21%)
    Girl Genius 1544 (19%)

    Still have to see what the bought off (aka legal bribes) votes will take these totals to.

  12. Hmm, the refresh I’m seeing looks like we finished close behind GG:

    Not A Villain
    2480
    32%
    Stand Still. Stay Silent
    2329
    30%

    Girl Genius
    1527
    19%
    Shotgun Shuffle
    1510
    19%

    Gonna try refreshing a few times and checking from elsewhere too…

    1. @ 11:15 the numbers have not changed from above
      Not A Villain – 2480 vs. Stand Still. Stay Silent – 2329
      Girl Genius – 1527 vs. Shotgun Shuffle – 1510
      @23:57
      Not A Villain – 2493 vs. Stand Still. Stay Silent – 2437
      Girl Genius – 1554 vs. Shotgun Shuffle – 1695
      The differences: NAV (-13), SSSS (-108), GG (-27), SS (-185)

  13. Ok something is very wrong because SS was above 1510 for a while there and suddenly we got dropped back down. What happened?

    1. The FAQ that TOG linked to earlier mentioned that sometimes votes will be removed if their algorithms determine them to be fraudulent. So it could be that their “fingerprint” technology was still deliberating.

      At any rate, I’ve checked from home, phone, work, and a satellite office and the totals haven’t changed in 10 minutes now. It looks like they may have actually cut it off on time this round. Guess we’ll have to see where donations put us…

  14. Quick whats 40/.25 I need this for science reasons and not for paid bribes I can neither confirm nor deny making, at 10pm CST

    1. Whoa, they’ve got them added-up already?! Guess everyone’s enthusiasm got to old Glenn, huh? :D

      Cogratssssss Chrissssss!

      1. He could also have people chomping at the bit to start the NSFW contest. Personally I think Jonathan Coulton’s song “First of May” would be a good background for that.

        (in case you didn’t guess from the context, if you aren’t familiar with that song, it is absolutely NOT safe for work)

        1. If so SSSS have over 700 vote more than in Poll Maker list. Seems a bit too much.

        2. They could have taken the numbers from a screen shot just a nano second before the algorithms kicked in full gear.

          And they may have been making the final poll for a few days already.

        3. Probably too late to be noticed, but the FAQ stated that the poll creator could adjust the fraudulent vote detection when finishing. Glenn might’ve tweaked that somewhat grabbing the data but not bothered to make the public bit show after he tweaked.

    2. Huzzah! I say, that was quite a thrill! I thought that we were defeated for the longest time, but we managed. Our charge was glorious! Even though we were pressed hard from the front we held our line amidst shot and shell. When our resources seemed low a fellow stood and cried, “Give them rocks, officers your blade, men your bayonets, and all your blood!” A litany of furies it was as we pierced the lines and scattered them from their hills. Today our banner raises high and our spirits even higher. The stars themselves will look upon us tonight in envy with our brilliance. Well done you all!

  15. Okay, now that I can get back on Shotgun Shuffle, they have changed the votes in the Bracketmaker in a way that will make everyone smile:

    Not a Villain 2480
    Stand Still. Stay Silent 2329 + 1044 = 3049 $260

    Girl Genius 1527
    Shotgun Shuffle 1595 (yes, 85 higher than Poll Master shows) + 3824 = 5419 $956

    If this stands, you guys are crazy awesome!

    1. I saw the same thing, however I think the ‘+’ number is a combined total… it doesn’t make sense that two of the comics got 0 donations… does it?

    2. CONGRATULATIONS RUSCHE!! :)

      And all the community, you really kicked the board out to space this time :P

  16. I’d think that if SSSS’s + number on BracketMaster wasn’t smaller than their total click votes… That can’t be a total. It does still look like there’s an error in there (SS’s click votes is the only one that doesn’t match the totals showing at Poll Master), but the original number that popped up right after the polls closed did seem awful low.

    As for the other two not having any donations- GG hasn’t donated at all during this tournament, and NAV has donated a whole dollar before now, and had someone in the comments during this round telling folks to give their money to Aneeka directly rather than to the charity in her name…. It’s not what I expected, but it is consistent with what they have done up until now.

    1. Hmmmm I didn’t bother to check the other comics donations before making that comment, I just assumed they had some as well. Interesting, considering Chris has not ever asked for donations. I wonder what the difference is.

      1. I’d think they’d have a few, but then again last round GG had $5 and NAV had $1, so maybe not? Would seem surprising, at least for NAV (I could see GG fans not being too concerned about it, and as they are my 2nd choice comic in the bracket of 64, I can say my attitude is that with multiple Hugos there’s no reason to be worried about a contest like this).

      2. Well, one difference is that just a few short months ago, all of Chris’ readers pretty much BEGGED him to keep making the comic. It sorta looked like the whole “Shut up and take my money!” meme around here when we finally convinced him to give Patreon a try. In otherwords, there’s already a predisposition among many of us to try to solve problems for him by contributing financially.

        While in the case of Patreon that generosity helps to support his bottom line, I think a lot of us who donated to this charity/tourney saw it as a way to help him drum up greater visibility. Essentially, the line of thought being that “advertising” might help attract others who might in turn join the community and contribute on Patreon.

  17. Early in the morning on the day after the elections….WHAAAAAAAaaaaaa!!!! Holy Smolie!!!! People’s wallets have been throwing up all over the place. Look at all that Green!!! Awesome job everyone. On to the Finals!!!!

  18. Rusche – Is the next post going to be titled, “And if you thought that LAST bit of propaganda was shameless…” ?

  19. First!!!! ……to vote?

    The finals are up and we only have one vote so far. Let’s go folks! All hands on deck!!!

      1. OK, I see it.

        The blue block where you actually vote still has four choices in it, that is what confused me.

        Voted.

        1. Yea, the second block is for the bronze voting. Which means now I can vote for GG and not take votes away from Chris.

        2. Early exit polling is not looking favorable. Time to resort to operation “Puppy dog eyes.” That always works.

        3. I’ve put the plea out on Facebook, even PM’ing many of my friends and calling in favors. This is it. STAY ON TARGET!

        4. You’re all clear, kid! Now let’s blow this thing and go home. My back’s acting up and “Matlock”‘s on in 20 minutes.

  20. At this time.
    Stand Still. Stay Silent – 127 vs. Shotgun Shuffle – 29
    ============================================
    _______Not A Villain – 11 vs. Girl Genius – 61

  21. Make that…
    Stand Still. Stay Silent 134 30%
    Shotgun Shuffle 134 30%
    Not A Villain 110 25%
    Girl Genius 66 15%

      1. I’m confused. Did SS beat GG or not? When I go to the vote page it still looks like it’s going…

        1. Yes, we beat GG. The site took a vote snapshot at midnight and SS not only held the popular vote but also maintained it after the donation votes were calculated.

          Here’s the link to the final voting bracket.

          http://www.comicmix.com/2015/05/07/mix-march-madness-2015-webcomics-tournament-championship/

          GG still appears on this voting page because they are fighting it out for third place with Not a Villain which may appear confusing at first. One bracket is SS vs SSSS the second is GG vs NAV. Voting for either GG or NAV will have no impact on the SS vs SSSS bracket.

    1. I haven’t seen that many “S”s in I don’t know how long. I am impressed. Here is your award!! (Hands over the slippery serpent “S” award)
      Applause…clap, clap, clap

  22. Binge facility…accessing. Can’t make avatar, no matter, will figure out later. Coming over to have a nosey from the SSSS fandom.
    This page is a hoot, and I am very glad the voting is now over, because otherwise this strange twitching I seem to have developed might have directed me to put my votes, uh *looks around at large community of SS supporters surrounding me* somewhere PERFECT. *heh, got away with it*

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