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Gaming American Idol: Sanjaya

Ratings, reputation, recommendations, etc. all have problems when it comes to trying to discover the most accurate/helpful/interesting/compelling content. One of the biggest problems is "gaming" which means working to produce results that diverge from the results the system was designed to produce.

Well, it appears that some are on a mission to game American Idol and actually try to enable one of the lesser-talented performers to, as the BBC reports win the whole thing. Enter: Sunjaya.


Now, I have seen American Idol, but not this season. What I know of Sunjaya comes from the Seattlest blog, that is head over heels in love. He is from Federal Way, a Seattle suburb.

Two resources are leading the charge to game the system:

Howard Stern is an advocate for Sanjaya and hoping to make it easier to vote for him and a website called "vote for the worst" is on a mission to disrupt the results. They would love to see him win simply because he shouldn't and his winning would bring into question the already controversial American Idol system.

I think this highlights what makes rating systems so hard - they are often popularity contests when the goal is quality/accuracy. Popularity and quality are not the same thing and people are motivated by a variety of things. American Idol wants to create the next big recording star, but the voters might actually give them a joke instead. Wouldn't that be funny.

Speaking of funny, if you want a Friday laugh, check out Sanjaya Gonna Set You on Fire.