NPF: WHAT DID YOU EXPECT

Posted in No Politics Friday on February 5th, 2016 by Ed

The Internet has been a part of our culture for long enough and is sufficiently well-understood that I no longer feel any sympathy for people who violate its most basic rules or social dynamics and end up being embarrassed. It is 2016. Everyone knows that if you let people vote for something online, especially in an open ended fashion, people on the internet are going to identify quickly the most ridiculous possible outcome and swarm to it. The NHL just learned this the hard way when its online voting for the All-Star game resulted in a 6'9" oaf-pugilist-Ent named John Scott, a man who has played on every team in organized hockey for about 5 minutes while possessing no skill other than throwing punches at small Canadian men, being voted Captain of the All-Star squad. This embarrassed the league inasmuch as he 1) is terrible, 2) has been cut three times already this season alone, and 3) Scott was not even in the league at the time of the game, having been demoted to his natural environment in the minors.

The same scenario unfolds every time this happens. The entity in question refuses to honor the online vote, which inevitably makes them look even worse. Waves of approbation and indignation crash over them until finally they relent, embarrassing themselves yet again by backtracking and attempting to insist that, no, really, we get the joke ha ha ha. (Hockey enthusiasts with a sense of humor shamed the league into letting Scott into the game, in which he played to the great glee of everyone involved and, to rub it in, fans voted him All-Star MVP as a write-in.)

My favorite example of this phenomenon happened a few years ago when the City of Austin allowed internet voting to choose the name of its new solid waste facility. Either they were shocking naive or they were in the mood for comedy, because when you ask the internet to name a building where human feces fills giant tanks and is chemically processed you are just begging for trouble. The winning entry – Fred Durst Center for the Performing Arts, if I recall – was ultimately vetoed by the city management. Boooooooo.

What are some other good examples?