All That Glitters is Gold

Feb 12 • Arts & Entertainment 2013, BEST OF WILMINGTON2 Comments

Best of Awards 2013 boasts winners and community support

The 2013 Best of Awards Party featured not only a glittery “e” ice sculpture by Ice Sensations but lots of jumping up and down by hosts (Sandy Vaughan above() and winners (like Michael’s Seafood, above). Photo by Charles Cothran

The 2013 Best of Awards Party featured not only a glittery “e” ice sculpture by Ice Sensations but lots of jumping up and down by hosts (Sandy Vaughan above() and winners (like Michael’s Seafood, above). Photo by Charles Cothran

When the lights go down, the afterparty begins. In encore’s case, it lasts four whole weeks as we write about every winner on our annual Best Of poll—yep, that’s 130 categories, folks!

We first announced the 2013 wins on Saturday, February 2nd, at our annual Best Of Party, held at downtown’s Brooklyn Arts Center. For the first year, the party became a fund-raiser for the Carousel Center for Abused Children, wherein almost $7,000 was netted from ticket sales, many raffle items and our inaugural Battle of the Bands. Folks voted with dollars to choose the winners from L Shape Lot, Mike Blair and the Stonewalls and Bibis Ellison.

Our wonderfully kooky hosts—Sandy Vaughan, Jef Pollock, Brandi Laney, Cullen Moss and Valerie Watkins of Changing Channels, along with Steve Rassin, Jason Hatfield, Zach Hanner and Randy Davis from Comically Impaired and our “Vannas” Janna Murray, Kyra Tebo, Madison Moss—shuffled through the lengthy list in side-splitting laughter. With a slew of food donations from the top-three contenders in every category (thank you, everyone, who added to the spread), folks were fed and tons of super prizes were bid on throughout the evening!

POWER TO THE PEOPLE: MC Zach Hanner and funny guy Jef Pollock introduce one of 130 award winners on February 2nd at the Best Of Awards Party at Brooklyn Arts Center. Photo by Jim Booth

POWER TO THE PEOPLE: MC Zach Hanner and funny guy Jef Pollock introduce one of 130 award winners on February 2nd at the Best Of Awards Party at Brooklyn Arts Center. Photo by Jim Booth

All of you who missed out on the action can see the full list of winners on page 17. As we do annually, we want to clarify some of our Best Of ground-rules so everyone understands how we endure this four-month process annually—from scouring and revising the ballot, programming the online voting system, monitoring the process (we got our eyes and ears peeled for cheaters!), designing and hand-building all awards, and pulling together the party and talent to no avail! It’s work, people. And we thank the Carousel Center; Rich Leder of Brooklyn Arts; Justin Denning, Best-Of web dude; Chuck Cothran, award-builder; our hosts, bands and every volunteer and donator for making it a success.

Here is how we play:

  1. Nominations for the top-three contenders were taken in the first round of voting in November, which ended at the beginning of December.
  2. The official ballot with top-three nominees went live on December 19th. Votes were taken through January 9th.
  3. encore employees never determined the winners (despite what many assume or accuse); the readers of encore determined the outcome, plain and simple!
  4. encore reserves the right to secure all voting information, including percentages and amounts of votes per category. However, the final tally of all nominations and votes came to 10,000. With over 130 categories and weekly deadlines, we do not divulge individual numbers—not because we have something to hide but because 10 people run this paper and, well, time is of the essence to produce it weekly.
  5. Only one ballot per e-mail address was allowed to vote. When canceled e-mail addresses were attempted for use, they automatically were rejected. We did not allow more than six ballots per IP address, either.
  6. Voters were required to fill out at least 25 categories to have their votes counted; this prevents from “stuffing” the ballot box simply to see one business wins everything.
  7. We encouraged businesses to campaign; though, we did not accept bribery for votes. We also secured the right to disqualify votes we felt were misrepresented or falsified in any way (not following above rules). Though we are not the NC Board of Elections, we try our best to play fairly!

BEST OF WINNERS 2013

GOODS & SERVICES
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
FOOD & DRINK
HUMANITARIAN
COMPLETE WINNERS LIST

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2 Responses to All That Glitters is Gold

  1. Brian Heer says:

    The biggest problem with the new voting process is that in years past, people needed to know the name of an actual business in order to cast a vote, making random voting a non-issue. This year, with the Dropbox giving three options, the people who wanted to vote for one or two of their favorite businesses were forced to fill out 25 total items, and with there being three options, many people told us that they just clicked the first box or a random selection to get through the voting as fast as possible. They said that they may have never voted for, say the best car dealer, but because they were able to just randomly click on one, it made it easier to just fill in anything so that it would count toward the 25 needed to finish it. Had they had to actually know and have experience with a particular business(as in all years past), they wouldn’t be able to cast random votes. This was the first concern I had when you announced the new voting system.

    Many of our patients said they had voted, but they had only voted during the nomination process, thinking they were done after the very first time-consuming nomination ballot. Many of them said they didn’t realize they had to vote second time for it to count.

    Lastly, you mentioned above that you negated any votes over 6 from the same IP address, but we had around one hundred of our patients vote while they were in the office on our lobby computer kiosk. Encore never mentioned that there was a limit to the number of votes registered on a single computer IP address, so these same people could have just as easily voted at home and their votes would have counted.

    My only fear in all of this is that there are people who read your magazine and assume that the BEST OF winner is the person or business who actually received the most votes, but that clearly isn’t the case considering the new criteria you used this year, and there may be dozens of people who use the BEST OF voting to make decisions about who to do business with, even though the voting process it isn’t as legitimate as it used to be.

    It would be interesting to go back to the old system that worked so well in the past to see what happens with the voting next year. I know there were several big upsets that probably wouldn’t have occurred if these criteria and rules hadn’t been changed. One thing is for sure, if a person had to physically type in a name for a business rather than pick from a list of three possibilities, there would be a whole lot less chance for random voting that is done just to help people get through the ballot quickly.

  2. encore says:

    Hi Brian
    Thanks for sharing your concerns. The IP address mandate was listed on the very first page of the voting forms under “rules” during our entire voting process. We did this because last year we found someone simply taking a client list and filling in the categories they wanted for not only their win but EVERY category rather than letting the client do the voting. That’s one reason why we changed the IP addy rule and why we changed the system from nomination into final tally.

    While you may praise the old system, it, too, had holes. Imagine if 500 votes could be submitted on same IP addy by the same person simply filling in ballots for their clients (’cause they have their email addresses) and all the ballots looked the same. This means they’re not just winning their category but throwing every other category toward their preferences.

    In essence, there are ups and downs to every system. We’ve heard them from all angles; the old and the new. Mainly, we can’t confirm people’s intention on votes whether we give them options or not; we can monitor on our end how these votes come in and that’s all. But if a person’s intention is just to choose at random, whether we offer them someone to choose from or they choose it from memory (just type in who won last year), it remains the same—random.

    I’d like to point out: We received more votes this year overall than we ever have in the past. That was our goal—to get a larger spectrum of voters. And making people do 25 has always been our regulation from the days when we hand-counted ballots to ensure folks didn’t “stuff” the ballot box simply by filling in the same business over and over and over again.

    While we take every complaint into consideration for next year, I promise we will continue to make the system as legit as possible. Giving people a month to choose their top three contenders is very legitimate. How people vote and their intention on the final ballot (again, which we publicized to no end) is their own. —Shea

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