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TitleTown voting pushes online polls into spotlight

July 25, 2008 - Art Smith
ESPN’s TitleTown project has generated a lot of talk about polls this week. The Disney-owned broadcast giant is trying to determine what community in the nation deserves to be called TitleTown. They are using an online poll to pick the community. Parkersburg is among the cities in the running.

Most online polls use a variety of ways to keep from voting more than once.

There are two popular methods.

A lot of sites use a what’s called a cookie to determine if you have voted on a poll. A cookie is a small file that is stored on your computer. It is what tells a web page to display the “thank you for voting” message, or in some cases the current results of the poll.

Other sites watch to see what IP address a user is coming from. An IP address is your location on the web. A site can limit the number of times a user can vote from a single IP address, since multiple users can share an IP number, many sites use this method, but only limit the number of times people can vote with in a given amount of time.

Other sites use a combination of the two. We use two methods on our polls to make it both an enjoyable experience for readers as well as scientifically, the most exact measure of an opinion as you can get with an online poll.

The Titletown poll appears to at times, allow people to vote multiple times within a fairly short period of time. If this is the case, communities with more people voting more often will stand a better chance.  ESPN seems to have changed the way the poll operates since the voting opened.

Regardless, the country will know at 6 p.m. Monday which community deserves the title of TitleTown USA — or at least who deserves it based on a non-scientific online poll that allows multiple voting.  Let your voice be heard. Click at the link at right to cast a vote for your favorite community. You have until noon Sunday to vote as many times as the system will allow you. Good luck Parkersburg.


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