Attempt to skew Star poll futile
THE NORTHERN Star wishes to assure readers that attempts by vested interests to corrupt an online poll on a coal seam gas story last Friday were always going to be futile.
Readers expressed concern that coal seam gas shareholders were gloating about such activity on an online stock market forum, and providing instructions on how to skew poll results.
While it is clearly stated on our website that the polls are not scientific, The Northern Star provides them in good faith for the benefit of the community and takes reports of any interference very seriously.
The poll in question was kept open by moderators over the weekend in order to determine what interference was occurring, and to gather information on the particular accounts responsible.
An exorbitant number of votes well outside the realm of possibility were registered, confirming such interference.
Online polls can be run in two ways: firstly by cookies (downloaded information stored on individual computers), allowing multiple users in any household to vote, though it is well known that this method can be manipulated by individuals multiple times if they clear their cookies each vote.
When evidence of cookie clearing is apparent we can switch to filtering polls by IP addresses instead, preventing duplicate voting, but also preventing votes by multiple users in a single household.
The reason we continue to use cookie-based polls is that when they are conducted in good faith (and we believe the majority of our readers will conduct themselves this way), the polls will provide a broader base of voters and therefore a more accurate result.