Multiple Voting vs. Single Voting – Mission Madness

I want to address the notion of multiple voting versus single voting.  Many of you are upset that users are allowed to vote multiple times.  As you know, one of the negatives to multiple voting is that an aggressive group can skew the results.  Unfortunately, NASA HQ is not able to put controls in place that would only allow each computer to register one vote as it would violate NASA’s privacy policy.  This is out of our (NASA EDGE) hands.  For some the controversy makes the contest rather interesting and for others a sour taste in his/her mouth.  From our standpoint, we felt that we at least needed to be upfront about the rules of the contest.  We had planned to explain the rational after the contest was finished, but after several folks expressed their concern, we thought we should clear the air.

I still think this tournament is very fun to watch and hope that you continue to vote until the end.
All the best,

41 thoughts on “Multiple Voting vs. Single Voting – Mission Madness”

  1. Thanks for the honesty. At least we now know why the multiple voting was allowed. It is a shame that the contest- supposedly a fun diversion- has been dominated by one group. Without doubt, the SPB mission will win. Is it the “greatest mission of all time”? I doubt it, but C’est La Vie!

    I’ll continue to watch the results for the other three leagues, and even vote a few times.

    On a different subject, I can’t believe that Apollo 11 is not a fore-gone conclusion! Now THIS really is an interesting part of the contest.

  2. I previously had a suggestion that would require that the ENTIRE ballot be filled out in order for it to be accepted. Would this be possible for any future iterations?

    It might still have the same effect on the one particular program, but it might minimize the effect and give some additional insight into the other match-ups.

  3. The votes are in effect a “cheer” for your team. Who ever only cheered once for their team… and who would attend if you were only allowed to cheer once?

    There are some elitists who feel that SPB is not deserving enough to be in a winning position. SPB is in the lead not due to some form of underhandness, but because they are the epitomy of the small underfunded, behind the scenes program, that rarely sees any of the spotlight and glory of the big NASA programs. The SPB supporters are all the little guys, banding together to get their one chance to shine.. one chance to make a name for themselves. A vote for SPB is a vote for the underdog. Go ahead and vote for SPB and see if it does not make you feel good that you finally gave the little guy a chance to feel a just a little bit of the glloy and pride that some of the big high visability programs have seen. You will feel good about yourself in the morning!

  4. I can’t say i am happy that SPB will probably win, but i have to admit it is fantastic for SPB and the people who work on it, i would not have any idea what SPB was if they were not doing so well. I have learned a lot about this mission, and i consider that the whole point of this tournament. So congrats to SPB and to all the people that are working on it and for all those people that will maybe someday work on it because this tournament spark interest in it.

    -Austyn Hughes

  5. If nothing can or will be done about the multiple voting how about making the test questions easier. These hard questions give SPB an unfair advantage.

  6. How do hard questions give an advantage for the SPB voters? If anything having a large number of possible answers actually makes it harder for repeat voters compared to the first round which only had 3 possible answers (4, 2, edge). As someone who voted a lot in rounds one and two from my experience having a good number of possible answers makes repeat voting harder than having only a few possible answers.

  7. Sometimes we must acknowledge that the tiny seed is responsible for the mighty oak>>>>> God Speed…. SPB!

  8. What is sad is that this contest was likely developed with the idea that NASA might find which mission was truly the most popular. As much as the inflated voting has propped up the balloon which the public really didn’t ever know about (and I am not so sure that an unknown balloon winning the “Greatest Ever Mission” vote is really going to help NASA at all), the true tragedy here is that most of the votes in this entire contest are probably from insiders, and this is a very strong indicator of how poorly the word has gotten out to the public. Let’s face it, very few outsiders care. The NASA family should be a little embarrassed, and should vow to find a way to spark a wider public interest in the NASA missions and how they relate to the public as a whole. Now, if we could tap into the balloon voting power as an outreach effort for NASA missions, maybe some real gains could be had. I also believe that many NASA centers have both the reach and the resources to affect just about any vote outcome they wish to happen (as long as 2000-5000 votes is typical), but they probably look at their involvement in this contest as an ethics issue, and they have chosen not to rally the troops in hopes that the true public opinion be counted. As long as this contest is really a fight amongst missions and not a poll of the public, it should probably be restricted to being viewed and voted on by NASA insiders. There is mention of privacy issues that prevent visitors from multiple votes, but I recall seeing a registration link on the NASA EDGE site. It sure seems pretty simple that voting could be restricted to one vote per registered user. If registration were required for voting, then we might actually find out what the public really cares about. Feel free to delete this comment if it offends everyone by making too much sense.

  9. Online polls like Mission Madness are fun, but as Slashdot likes to put it:
    “This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you’re using these numbers to do anything important, you’re insane.”

    To do it accurately, you need a Gallup poll, random sampling, etc. But Gallup is expensive and not as much fun.

  10. Its truly sad to see this happen. As a NASA outsider (ie Public) it takes any joy out of watching this unfold as I had hoped. I am also amazed to see that public funding is being used to click buttons instead of being used for research. It is by the admission of several people in this blog, that they are spending their time at their desks clicking buttons.

    It is wit great remorse that I have brought this to the attention of media outlets in my area. I would expect NASA Edge to be contact by public media shortly as well as some of the groups who have admitted to ‘clicking’ their jobs away.

  11. To Embarrassed NASA Family

    The registration link is not ours but a general registration link to receive updates on NASA. This is email driven. In order to have single voting, NASA will have to track IP addresses and that’s against the NASA privacy policy.


  12. Rumor has it that the SPB team has been flying their football sized balloon along the Eastern seaboard campaigning for votes. They have a flashing lighted sign the size of a house with the website listed and instruction to vote for them. Unconfirmed reports say it looks like Las Vegas carried by a big silver pumpkin. This is unfair… they are the only program that has this type of long duration low altitude payload capability. They are also offering free balloon rides to kids for every 100 votes…this just is not right.

  13. Although there is some dissapointment reguarding ballot box stuffing, and NASA employees sitting around “clicking” all day. I still feel that mission madness has been a success in the fact that it’s alot of fun and a great learning tool. As a NASA outsider I will continue to follow the missions and pull for my favorites. Thank you NASA EDGE for bringing some excietment to my otherwise drone like workday.

    All the TRASH TALK just goes to show that your show has effected our lives. Keep up the good work.

  14. I am really surprised that there are so many negative comments about SPB. As I understand it, they are a rather small branch of NASA (balloon science) that is focused on doing what they can with a very small budget (anti-matter, cosmic ray, solar studies….) and the super pressure balloon is just the latest improvement that adds even more bang for the buck.

    While I have voted for the programs that I like (some won.. some lost) I thought the whole idea was to have some fun. If they did a one vote program, why waste time. Just give the awards to the largest programs (by manpower or by budget).

    Just a thought.

  15. This is to “Official complaint from Manned Space Flight”. The lighter than air craft you mention has been determined to be a hoax in an effort to discredit the SPB supporters. It is actually a Mylar birthday balloon purchased from Walmart with a silver pumkin painted on the side. It has a string of battery powered Christmas lights hanging below it. Finally, it has a large magnifying lens connected to it to make it appear to be really BIG.

    Also, just to set the record straight. We had to stop the free balloon flights after the first batch of kids returned from 120,000 feet and were “…a funny color and didn’t move much…”. For some reason this bothered their parents. It seems that there is a lack of air at that altitude, and apparently the human body has issues when the pressure drops below 5 mbars. Go figure.

  16. We can argue all day on how SPB is pulling this upset off but as many of us know there is not enough of them to create this much of an up set on their own. There must be closet SPB supporters out there.
    Probably only a few of us know about the Ballon Program Office at Wallops and fewer of us know about the esprit de corps that exists in this tiny group. You will see their modest offices lined with pictures and little known facts about balloon history. Few of us think about the history of ballooning and its importance in the beginnings of exploration. The balloon has a rich, two-century old history. From its invention in 1783 in France to its present, international use, the concept of a contained quantity of a lighter than air gas or hot air has undergone many revisions and tests. Aeronauts have used this oldest form of assisted flight first to cross Paris and eventually the world.

    The first hot air balloon rose 1,800 m (6,000 ft) on June 5, 1783. It was made of linen and paper and built by two brothers, Joseph and �tienne Montgolfier in Annonay, France. A few months later, on August 27, 1783, Jacques A. C. Charles released a balloon made of varnished silk that covered 43 km (27 mi.) and was filled with hydrogen. Later that same year, a Montgolfier balloon became the first balloon to carry living passengers (assorted farm animals) and then in November, two men, Jean-Fran�ois P. Roziere and Fran�ois Laurent, made the first official manned flight across Paris in a Montgolfier balloon.

    These are the facts you learn when spending time in the hallowed halls of the Balloon Program Office

    When you talk with the SPB team you feel their love and passion for the program. The great thing is, they know they get little recognition for the great work they do but they continue on, and they feel like they are working on the “Greatest Mission Ever”.

    My team was trounced in the first round, but I have just dusted myself off and am now supporting a team that some true NASA spirit.

  17. The big guns came out today in an effort to shut down the SPB machine. There are stories all over the web calling for investigations. Congress has put the ecomomic recovery work on hold to look into the matter. So far SPB is looking squeeky clean. They are getting their votes the same way the politicians do… through trickery and bloviating. Investigations revealed that the Balloon program has far reaching connections into pockets of the scientific community that most people do not know even exist. Networking on a wide scale is keeping SPB in the lead. Congress itself takes pride that the balloons can utilize their hot air for scientific uses. The President may address the nation tonight about the importance of supporting this low carbon footprint program. He is impressed with the science that will lead to understanding global climate change.. which may just save all humanity… it may truly be the the “Greatest Mission Ever”

  18. So where’s all the whining about the fact that Apollo 11, undoubtedly NASA’s greatest achievement, is being beaten by a project that is barely a twinkle in its’ creator’s eyes…. Could it be that LRO is stuffing the ballot box?

  19. guest 21, after SPB I don’t think that people are that surprised anymore at the idea that employees are voting their missions up. I suspect that is why LRO and New Horizons are beating Apollo 11 and Voyager 1/2.

  20. Wow. Apollo 11 minutes from being downed by a ‘mission’ that isn’t even a mission yet. I could buy this if it had even accomplished as much as surviving its launch, but it hasn’t even done that yet.

    Because of the games NASA employees are playing with this contest, a small, sinister part of me hopes that LRO goes off course and pops the SPB.

    I really thought NASA employees had more to do than crap on something that was designed for the rest of us to enjoy. Maybe they need to absorb a hefty budget cut to ‘encourage’ them to focus on their real jobs?

  21. It’s a GAME, folks!

    One of my missions lost (to you-know-who) and one of them won, upsetting the assumed leader. If we really take these rankings seriously, that’s just ridiculous.

    Thanks, NASA Edge, for bringing this provocative game to both mission staff and to the public. At least it’s clear now how much people care about space missions!

  22. Just a thought (which will probably be shot down by people who know more about this than I do) but what about having TWO competitions in the future. One for NASA employees, who can multiple-vote to their heart’s content for the mission that they are working on. Another for the general public.

    Personally, as a member of the “great unwashed”, I would be more interested in finding out which mission attracts the most attention from people who do not have a vested interest.

    I fully understand WHY NASA employees would want to push their own missions. In their position, it’s exactly what I would do. But does that make it the “greatest mission of all time”, or just the mission that people feel the most strongly about?

    Perhaps this is just one of those things. If NASA EDGE’s aim was to get people talking about NASA, then they’ve acheived their aim. There’s a really annoying advert on UK TV for a window company. It gets people talking because it is so annoying. Does that make it a good advert? That’s open to debate!

    At the end of the day, what was this competition for? Harmless fun or promoting little-known missions? It quickly became unfunny when the block voting started. BUT… Of course I keep playing!! It’s so frustratingly addictive!!

  23. In the spirit of NASA EDGE’s goals to promote all of NASA’s wonderful missions to the public, do you think SPBers informed friends, family, and others of the contest? Duh. Oh yes, and they were encouraged to vote for SPB, but also any other missions they chose…and vote early and often as directed in the rules. Who could have foreseen the ramifications of SPB’s contacts’ enthusiasm for the contest?

    SPB supporters are awesome! Keep up the good work.

  24. SPB…. I hope someone pops that balloon……. How can they beat MER?…. I hope LRO takes them down!!!!!

  25. This is fun regardless of the multiple voting skewing the results.
    Apollo 11 is the historical, definitive icon of NASA; a more than just significant success. Apollo 13 is as well known by becoming a significent failure that became a triumph of human ingenuity and perserverance.
    The “multiple” voters will get their way, for whatever it is worth to them; a hollow victory at best. So there!! 🙂

  26. This is fun, regardless of the multiple votes issue.
    Apollo 11 is the definitive and historical icon of NASA; more than JUST a significant success. Apollo 13 is as well known as a failure that became a success due to human ingenuity and perseverance.
    The “multiple” voters here can have their way, for what it is worth to them; a hollow victory. So there!! 🙂

  27. A few teenagers in spain could put a balloon up and take pictures of the earth with less than a hundred dollars. SPB is an epic fail and should have never even made it into the bracket. Apollo 11 should have won,but we all know a giant weather balloon is far more important than the first time man set foot on the moon.

  28. Guest 31,

    Last time I checked, SPB didn’t beat Apollo 11, so I’m not really sure why you are upset at SPB for that? This is just another example of people picking on the little guy. The target of most’s frustrations and anger in this tournament seem to still be with SPB, when OBVIOUSLY almost everyone still on the bracket is practicing the same multiple voting tactics as SPB. So, it seems to me that people are not really upset that SPB is doing what they are doing, it is that they themselves didn’t think of it first!

  29. Guest 32 said:
    “This is just another example of people picking on the little guy. The target of most’s frustrations and anger in this tournament seem to still be with SPB, when OBVIOUSLY almost everyone still on the bracket is practicing the same multiple voting tactics as SPB. So, it seems to me that people are not really upset that SPB is doing what they are doing, it is that they themselves didn’t think of it first! “

    Just to make it clear, I never had a problem with the “Big Pumpkin”, it is the issue of multiple voting which I had a problem with. The hosts have explained why this was allowed so, personally, I don’t have any issues with it.

    I AM SAD that Apollo 11 and the MERs didn’t make it through, but that’s just a personal thing and no critisism of the Balloon mission. I certainly never intended any of my comments to be a case of “picking on the little guy” or even voting against the “underdog” (as another poster once said).
    After all, I’m from England where we’re famous for supporting the “little guy”. How much do you know about the UK’s space programme, for example? Not much? Exactly my point! (Yes, we do have one… just… last time I checked. Beagle 2- remember that?)

    I love this competition! It’s the most addictive thing since the first Sims!

  30. One recommendation for the builders of the Mission Madness website. Put the big VOTE button on the bottom of the page also. Having it only at the top gives a disadvantage to the missions at the bottom of the page as with those missions, voters have to scroll up while missions at the top of the page have to do nothing. In single voting, this would not be a problem, but with multiple votes allowed, this gives an unfair advantage.

  31. To Larry O. (Post 34)

    Buttons? We don’t need no stinkin’ buttons!!!

    PFC, Silver Pumpkin Zombie Army

  32. God bless you.
    WAKATA san are you all right?
    I worry about you very much.

    from tokyo by flora

  33. “Very interesting subject, thanks for putting up.”

    Note – We are unable use external links (ads, spam, etc…) due to NASA rules and regulations.


    The Co-Host

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