Yesterday, a reader (“Guest”) commented extensively in the comments section of yesterday’s post about what he perceived as cheating in the Giller Reader’s Choice. His comments, which you can see below yesterday’s blog, included a description of how he had voted (I’m guessing) hundreds of times for a book ranked at the bottom of the votes to see what would happen. (“Guest” referred to this as a “test.” Ironically, I think his own actions are what resulted in comments being posted on the CBC website raising concerns about cheating. One referred to an “obscure” author without any significant social media presence suddenly “rallying the troops.” )
I told “Guest” this morning that I would pass his comments onto Adrian Ma, the producer at CBC Books who is responsible for the contest.
As always, Adrian responded right away. Because of the nature of his response, I asked if I could post his entire email. Apparently that requires the permission of CBC Communications (who knew?), but he did say it was okay to mention our discussion.
(He also invited “Guest” to contact him directly so he can try to address his concerns. You can email me, “Guest,” if you would like me to forward Adrian’s email address to you: I don’t want to post it here, for fear he’ll be spammed.)
Essentially, Adrian said that they have found no evidence of anyone trying to “game” this contest, other than a few times when some over-zealous fans (and this applies to all the authors) tried to vote multiple times. Apparently, they have had over 10,000 votes so far, including votes from other countries.
Adrian expressed his disappointment that people had lost sight of the spirit of this competition. It was intended, as I said yesterday, to get people talking about books. Since it has no trophy or award, CBC Books never expected it to get quite this big.
All that said, they are going to get together at CBC Books to see how they can do things better next time around. That may include more stringent ID requirements, even if that poses a higher barrier to voting.
Anyway, I hope that assures readers that there has been no massive fraud, as alleged by “Guest” yesterday, and that CBC does in fact pay attention to what’s going on, and will continue to do so.
As for “Guest’s” assertion that I couldn’t possibly have the lead unless there were multiple persons voting for my book simultaneously or some kind of computer programme churning out votes, Adrian pointed out that The Beggar’s Opera had been either number one or two throughout the nominations, (which had all kinds of requirements, such as registration and comments required) as well as throughout the voting process.
Obviously, I was pleased to hear this and I hope this addresses some of “Guest’s” concerns, too.
That said, I have yet to vote myself today (or get dressed for that matter) so must run — the noon deadline is only ten minutes away! Good luck again to all the nominees and congratulations to all of you on the list! And thanks to all of you who have voted for me in this contest — love you all!