"Whoa....how did The Human Squirrel get zero votes? I definitely voted for Ben Stoves. And I even voted for Zook. That's really strange..."It's really not, and I'll explain why.
I started using Google's poll option on the blog fairly early on, and can't recall having any cause for alarm. I had no qualms about using the option for the first series of March Madness posts in 2011. Toward the end of that inaugural season though, things got suspicious, and I had to run the final polls twice before calling Malefic the winner with any confidence. At the time, I thought overzealous fans were doing some ballot stuffing, called shenanigans, and moved on. Unfortunately, while Despero won 2012 with fewer questions, there were still glitches throughout that season that irked me. I continued to have problems here and there with SurVILEvor Island, but the real smoking gun was when results left over from 2012 disappeared for a while in a crash. I'd initially thought that part of the problem with the 2012 season was my leaving too many old poll results in the sidebar until I could begin recording "player stats" for posterity. Thankfully, I had done that before the crash, because when the numbers were reinstated, they were flat-out wrong. I don't think the winners of any contests were incorrect, but the numerical values/margins were totally bogus. Thankfully, I'd already gone over most/all of them to feel okay with the stats offered in The Vile Menagerie versus the Legions of Doom matches.
The truth is, the number of polls in the sidebar, and especially the number of completed ones, should not be an issue. We've never had a poll that went past even forty responses, so we're hardly taking a toll on Google's network. I watched that Zook versus Scorch match suddenly, randomly, go from 50/50 to a 2-to-1 win for Scorch, and other poll results fluctuated in an unseemly manner. Quite simply, as much as I appreciate Google hosting this blog, their poll mechanism is a consistently unreliable turd. I'll use it to finish out March Madness 2013, but I'll be employing other poll resources when "Legions of Doom" restarts in April. Recommendations would be appreciated, though I intend to test drive a few in hopes of avoiding this crap in 2014.