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City, News Flash

Like what we do? Vote us "best website" and "best podcast" in The Cult's Best of MTL!

Posted by Greg / May 6, 2013

20130506-CultMTL.jpgOne of the many tough things to swallow about The Mirror's demise last year was the disappearance of their annual Best of Montreal Poll. It always fell somewhere between a high school popularity contest and genuine roundup of our city's best offerings, but either way, it was something Montrealers enjoyed, even rallied around, and certainly debated over once it dropped in newsstands. Anyone who has lived here more than a year has fond memories of picking up a copy and weeding through the list to see if their friend's band made it, if any burger joints finally beat McDonald's, and/or if anyone had found out about their favourite place to have sex in public.

Thank goodness, those days are not over. The Cult MTL has (somewhat expectedly) held on to the BOM, changing the logo and adding a hashtag to the MTL part. The premise remains the same: go to their website and fill in all of your Montreal favourites. If the number of categories scares you (don't have a favourite drag queen?), don't worry, you can skip stuff.

But what you shouldn't skip, if you like what we do, is voting for us in the "best website" and "best podcast" categories. We're always doing our best to bring you news on where to get brunch, where to have the dirtiest poutine, where to see the best shows, and much more. We've also debuted albums by some of Montreal's best artists and even hosted a Christmas show. We're pretty into you, Montreal, and we hope you'll remember us when it comes time to vote.

There are lots of other great websites in Montreal and we hope you check them out, too (though the editor of this blog specifically asks that you do not vote for him.)

Stay classy, Montreal. We'll see you around town.

Discussion

76 Comments

Michael BLack / May 10, 2013 at 09:39 am
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And you've just done what they don't want done, ballot stuffing.

In the early days, you could vote for the things that mattered to you, just checking the categories that you were interested in. It was an odd time, in 1998 the Fringe Festival got an honorable mention in "best pickup spot" because I voted it that way. There wasn't a Best Fest category that year. I hardly dealt with any categories, but if I voted for whatever the dance category was, at least I'd seen a lot of dance.

But then there was outright ballot stuffing, and the rules got harder, and then harder again. A minimum number of categories, then that bar raised higher, and then only voting online.

It became way harder to vote, since I had no opinion on a lot of categories, but had to fill out a bunch of things that didn't matter to me, in order to speak up on the things that did matter.

So I might as well go with the flow, vote for people I know in film and spoken word and music, rather than a real evaluation.

It was that sort of thing, from early on, that caused the uproar about Harvey's french fries, winning. People had no opinion, or depth in many categories, so they filled in what they knew. So Margie Gillis won in dance endlessly, the other winners in the category being the most obvious dancers or choreographers, simply because they were most visible.

I can't remember if it was published, but I know I wrote to the Mirror about 20 years ago about how so many of the categories just reflected "most obvious" rather than best.

Once a specific number of categories had to be voted on, it became useless. And then the websites came along, wanting to be voted for.
It got even worse, some of those websites would point to the previous year's list, and urge people to fill out using that as the form, just reinforce last year's voting for the sake of getting votes for their own site.

If you're so good, then surely people will vote for you anyway? Be something useful, don't tell people to vote for you.

I stopped voting because of that website junk, added to the year when some guy put up posters wanting to be voted "best kook".

It backfires. I got that honorable mention for the Fringe in 1998, but years later they urged people to vote for them, and the Fringe was lowest in ranking that it had been seen "best Fest" category had been added. That's some of the problem with the Fringe these days, instead of being something, it pretends to be something.

No, I won't vote for you, and I won't vote for anyone else.It's dishonest when I have to fill out categories I don't care about, it's dishonest when groups and websites like yours actively campaign for the vote. Let your regular actions speak.

Retract this post, you might then help to get honest or more realistic voting.

Michael

Greg / May 12, 2013 at 11:32 am
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Hi Michael,

I appreciate your take on this and share some of your concerns. You'll see that I even raised similar issues in my post (esp. the re: BOM being a popularity contest, how silly it is when McDonald's wins best fries, and having to vote in unfamiliar categories - which, due to the number of categories and low minimum entries, can largely be avoided anyway). For these reasons, it's always difficult deciding whether put a note about the BOM on our site. I did it this year primarily to remind readers that the BOM is happening. With the shift from The Mirror to The Cult, the BOM isn't as visible as it was before and many people I've talked to in recent weeks did not know it still existed. Many of them also thanked me for the reminder so they could make sure to support their favourite stuff (which, in some cases, included this website, but not always).

Ballot stuffing is a different thing. It involves an organized effort to manipulate the results, whether through spamming all your friends or creating a Facebook event or hacking the website. That's a far cry from encouraging people to vote for us IF they like what we do - and you'll notice I directed readers to other options if they don't.

On their BOM website, The Cult encourages self-promotion. They even supplied a poster that businesses can print and display in their windows and a "vote for us" hashtag for social media posts. Given that The Cult's own vision for BOM campaigning goes much farther than a post like this one, I hope you can't blame us for throwing our hat in the ring.

Take care & keep on riding that 1998 "best pick up spot" honourable mention. I'm glad you got it when the BOM - at least, according to you - actually meant something.

Greg
Nathan / May 12, 2013 at 03:14 pm
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Hey Michael,
Something was unclear from your post: did you and the Fringe get an honorable mention in 1998 in the BOM? Was the win honorable? Please let me know; this information is important. Thanks in advance.
Best wishes,
Nathan
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