Friday 12/03/2021 by Lemuria


Decades ago, Rolling Stone had a web-based poll for best guitarist ever, with a long list of choices. For a younger guy eager both to spread love for Phish and to explore the developing web, well... that was just an open challenge.

It was difficult to vote for anyone (such as Trey) more than once, because submitting a vote went to another page, so you'd have to go back to the voting page, argh. The web then was simpler and mostly static, but bandwidth was smaller and slower, so moving forward and backward, well... that was just wasting time.

But I soon realized that I could copy the source code of that page, to create a page that instead directed back to itself. And voted for Trey by default, rather than needing to make a choice. And had no graphics, very little other text, and only one choice in the voting list (Trey, already selected) so was much simpler and so quicker to load. But... I still had to click a button, sigh.

Then I discovered that, instead of submitting by mouse action, I could have it automatically submit after a few seconds. And I learned that it worked for only a single second. And even 0.5 seconds. I eventually settled on 0.25 seconds, arbitrarily. Voting more than four times per second seemed excessive, regardless of His Crimsonness' greatness, amirite?

That didn't last long. I realized that the page could have two frames, each auto-submitting/refreshing on their own. Four frames worked, too. So did 16. If that had worked flawlessly, I would be voting for Trey 16 times every 0.25 seconds, 64 times per second, 3840 times per minute, and over 230,000 times every hour, just by opening a web page. Leave the browser open 24 hours, and Trey gets potentially 5,529,600 votes... with zero effort.

It wasn't flawless. The frames got out of sync. Some went awry. I'd lose a connection. The browser crashed. Windows crashed. At several points, I think the server crashed (oops?). But... for several windows of time, Trey was topping the rankings. I don't remember where he settled in the list. And it was an inconsequential lark, his destiny already developing, unaffected by a goofy web poll and unassisted by a nerdy web experiment. But, yeah... we may have moved him up a bit.

Oh, "we" caught your attention? ... I shared the HTML file on, and have no idea how many other people also voted thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of times.

If you liked this blog post, one way you could "like" it is to make a donation to The Mockingbird Foundation, the sponsor of Support music education for children, and you just might change the world.


, comment by A_Buddhist_Prodigy
A_Buddhist_Prodigy This is exactly why I love this site and this community! Great read on a Friday afternoon!
, comment by vinniebart
vinniebart My favorite philosopher once said, “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’!”
, comment by SigmaOasis17
SigmaOasis17 Did you build this same algorithm for phish lotto, ticketmaster, and CorT? If so, please provide link. Thx.
, comment by The_Ghost
The_Ghost Is this how Lushington won as well?
, comment by TheFuckinBook_Man
TheFuckinBook_Man And then you became a writer on Silicon Valley? That'd be awesome if so!
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