2009 Niblets Results — Analysis

February 8, 2010
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There were 1058 ballots cast in this year’s Niblets voting (counting a ballot as an IP address from which at least one vote was received). This represents a substantial decrease (21%) compared to last year’s 1347 ballots. On the bright side, I only found one minor case of likely ballot stuffing, so I just ignored it in looking at the results.

I’ll get to the actual results in a moment, but first I have just a few preliminary notes. First, here’s a figure showing how many ballots voted on each of the 22 questions. (Up to three responses were allowed on Question 22; I counted a ballot as answering it if at least one response was chosen.)

I’ve put the topic of each question in the figure. It looks like the big four questions people were interested in were best big blog, best group blog, best blogger, and best commenter. I guess this is not unlike the Academy Awards, where everyone sits through awards like best portrayal of a Martian podiatrist in a supporting role so they can find out who won the biggies like best actor and best picture.

This next figure shows how many ballots answered how many total questions (from 1 to 22). For example, at the left end of the figure, nearly 300 ballots answered exactly one question.

Just like last year, by far the most common number of questions a ballot was used to answer was one: 296 of the 1058 ballots did this. At the other end, only 66 die-hards submitted a ballot answering all 19 questions.

This last figure shows how many total questions, on average, a ballot answering each question answered. Sorry–I know that’s a bit to unpack. What I’m saying is that for each question, I looked at all the ballots answering that question and then checked those ballots to see how many total questions each one had answered. Then I took the average of that total. For example, 680 ballots were used to answer the first question about best big blog. Those 680 ballots were used to answer a total of 6651 questions, or about 9.78 per ballot. Why do this? My hope was that this would show, at least to some degree, which questions were most likely to attract voters who were interested in only a single question (or a small number of questions).

It looks like the most frequently voted on questions were most likely to draw ballots from single or few question voters.

Okay, let’s get on to the main voting results. For each question, I’ll put up a figure showing votes for each of the alternatives. I’ll also put up a figure showing how many total questions, on average, a ballot voting for each alternative answered. Like with the third (green bar) figure above, with this I’m trying to find whether voters who voted on a small number of questions disproportionately voted for some alternatives over others.

Q1: Best big blog

Past winners:

  • 2005: Times and Seasons, By Common Consent (shared)
  • 2006: By Common Consent
  • 2007: By Common Consent
  • 2008: By Common Consent

BCC beat fMh by a very narrow margin: 271-267. This was such a small margin that I thought it might be interesting to look back over the week of voting to see how the margin evolved. Given that the vote totals were available for viewing throughout the vote, it seems likely that any back-and-forth between the blogs was not a coincidence, but rather reflected deliberate attempts by voters for each blog to push their favorite ahead.

Here are the cumulative vote totals, hour-by-hour, across the week of voting.

It looks like BCC took a fairly large early lead, while fMh lagged and did not even overtake Mormon Matters for second place until noon on Monday. BCC led by 21 votes at the end of the day Monday, but fMh overtook it completely on Tuesday and even held a one-vote lead for two hours between 4 and 6pm. But BCC then regained the lead and steadily pushed the margin up for a couple of days, getting it all the way to 30 votes by the end of the day Thursday. fMh had a big push on Friday, completely erasing BCC’s lead, and going up by 8 votes by the end of the day. Saturday was huge for BCC, though, as it outpolled fMh, 32-7 to retake the lead and go up by 17 by the end of the day. And in spite of one last push on Sunday, fMh never got the margin below 3 again.

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

fMh was generally voted for by voters who answered fewer questions.

Q2: Best group blog

Past winners:

  • 2005: Nine Moons
  • 2006: Zelophehad’s Daughters
  • 2007: Zelophehad’s Daughters (best small blog)
  • 2008: Segullah

Segullah wins for the second year in a row!

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

Segullah was generally voted for by voters who answered fewer questions.

Q3: Best humorous blog

This category hasn’t been used in previous years.

My Religious Blog takes the Niblet!

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

There wasn’t much variation in how many questions voters for the different blogs answered.

Q4: Best solo blog

Past winners:

  • 2005: Dave’s Mormon Inquiry
  • 2006: Dave’s Mormon Inquiry
  • 2007: Category not used; Dave’s Mormon Inquiry received more votes than any other solo blog in the “Best small blog” category
  • 2008: Keepapitchinin

Keepapitchinin takes the Niblet for the second year in a row!

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

There wasn’t much variation in how many questions voters for the different blogs answered.

Q5: Best new blog

Past winners:

  • 2005: Snarkernacle
  • 2006: Mormon Mentality
  • 2007: Juvenile Instructor, Mormon Matters (tie)
  • 2008: Keepapitchinin

As Sistas in Zion wins in a landslide!

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

It looks like a couple of the less-voted-for blogs in this category were generally voted for by voters who answered fewer questions. This should be taken with a grain of salt, though, because with few voters to base the average on, one voter voting for an extreme number of questions–whether 1 or 22–can push the average around quite easily.

Q6: Best blog layout/graphics

Past winners:

  • 2008: My Religious Blog / Nine Moons

Times and Seasons takes the Niblet! I guess this means voters gave a thumbs up to their new look.

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

There wasn’t much variation in how many questions voters for the different blogs answered.

Q7: Best overall blogger

Past winners:

  • 2005: Wilfried Decoo
  • 2006: Wilfried Decoo
  • 2007: Kevin Barney
  • 2008: Ardis Parshall

Tracy M. takes the Niblet! An interesting pattern I noticed is that this list was dominated by women. Kevin Barney was the highest-ranked man at #4, and the highest-ranked man who did not fall below at least one woman blogging at the same blog was Andrew Ainsworth at #14. So I now have a new theory about why women are not given the priesthood. It’s because you all are such better bloggers than we are, and we don’t want to interfere with that. ;)

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

There’s a lot of variation here, but not much of a pattern. Well, MCQ’s high total sticks out. Clearly he had the support of the most engaged voters. Bloggers who knowTM choose MCQ.

Q8: Best commenter

Past winners:

Congratulations to MikeInWeHo on taking the Niblet! Here a point of interest is that three of the top four commenters are not even Mormons. So is this an extension of the general Mormon inability to produce great artists at a lower rate than the rest of the world (considering commenting as an art form)? Or is it just a manifestation of the fact that sometimes people outside an organization can see it most clearly? Or perhaps is it just a fortunate accident that Mike, Jack, and CWC are all around to bless us with their words of wisdom at pretty much the same time?

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

Chris H. and Brian Duffin were generally voted for by voters who answered fewer questions.

Q9: Most memorable comment

Past winners:

  • 2008: DKL, on taking it on the jaw from Jesus to protect a troll from His wrath

Failing to take the top commenter spot, Bridget Jack Meyers wins for most memorable comment.

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

There is very little variation here.

Q10: Funniest thread

This category was not used in previous years.

Congratulations to Karen H. for her creation of the thread that was voted the funniest.

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

There is very little variation here.

Q11: Best post title

This category was not used in previous years. In 2008, Kris Wright’s “I Was Naked, and Ye Shot Me” was nominated in the write-in category for funniest post title and took 5th.

Congratulations to Kaimi for taking the funniest title Niblet. Note also that the subject of Kaimi’s title was none other than author of the most memorable comment, Bridget Jack Meyers. Coincidence?

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

There is not much variation here.

Q12: Best humorous post

Past winners:

BCC’s Police Beat Roundtables take the Niblet for the second year in a row!

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

“A Screwtape Letter” and “Deserving Charity” were generally voted for by voters who answered fewer questions.

Q13: Best historical post

Past winners:

Congratulations to John Hamer for taking the Niblet for best historical post!

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

The Patriarch series and “Joseph Smith’s Cane” were generally voted for by voters who answered fewer questions.

Q14: Best personal post

This category hasn’t been used in previous years, but the “best post” winners in both 2005—Wilfried Decoo’s “Coffee“—and 2006—Ardis Parshall’s “Dressing the Dead“—fit well into it.

Tracy M. takes the Niblet!

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

All ballots cast for David had all 22 questions answered.

Q15: Best spiritual post

Past winners:

Congratulations to JA Benson for taking the Niblet for best spiritual post.

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

“Tears in Heaven” was generally voted for by voters who answered fewer questions.

Q16: Best doctrinal post

Past winners:

Brad takes the Niblet for best doctrinal post!

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

“Compassion for the Unworthy” was generally voted for by voters who answered fewer questions.

Q17: Best current events post

Past winners:

Brad takes the Niblet for best current events post! Wait! Is there an echo in here? Never mind: congratulations on winning Niblets in two “best post” categories, Brad!

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

There is not much variation here.

Q18: Best Mormon-themed podcast

This category hasn’t been used in previous years. However, in 2006, Mormon Stories as best podcast won the write-in category.


BCC wins the Niblet for best Mormon-themed podcast! (This category will be fun to watch for in 2010, with John Dehlin recently deciding to bring Mormon Stories back, thus expanding the field again.)

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

Mormon Expression was generally voted for by voters who answered fewer questions.

Q19: Best book/article review

This category hasn’t been used in previous years.

Congratulations to Amri Brown for taking the best article or book review Niblet!

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

The two least voted for choices were generally voted for by people who answered nearly all the questions.

Q20: Best contribution to or post about the Bloggernacle

Past winners:

  • 2008: Tracy M., chronicling the struggle of her husband’s unemployment

Congratulations to Tracy M. for taking a third Niblet! (I’m sure nobody would blame you, Tracy, if you’d rather have an easier life and fewer Niblets. But given that you were going through so many difficult experiences anyway, I think we all appreciate that you’ve chosen to write about them so movingly.)

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

Tracy M. was generally voted for by voters who answered fewer questions.

Q21: Best contribution to interfaith dialog

This category hasn’t been used in previous years. In 2008, Bridget Jack Meyers won for “Nicest ‘Evil Villain’ / Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing,” which might be thought of as a tongue-in-cheek version of this category.

Congratulations to Bridget Jack Meyers for taking a second Niblet! Also for taking the same category (kind of) as last year.

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

Mark Cares Weblog was voted for by people who answered nearly all the questions.

Q22: Write-in category

Past winners:

Congratulations to fMh for taking the write-in Niblet for best community! (Now does this make up for losing to BCC in the best big blog category?)

This figure shows average number of questions answered by ballots voting for each blog.

There is a fair amount of variation here, but I’m not sure it’s all that interesting.

Okay, that’s it. Thanks again to everyone at Mormon Matters–particularly Bored in Vernal– for inviting me to look through these entertaining results and write this up!

23 Responses to 2009 Niblets Results — Analysis

  1. February 8, 2010 at 7:35 am

    I just wanted to say, thank you everyone who voted for me in any of the categories where I was nominated. I was truly stunned by all the support.

    Best commenter was close, but it looks to me like the best person won. Congratulations MikeInWeHo!

  2. February 8, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Ziff, a fantastic summary, as we have come to expect from you!!
    Deserves a Niblet award in itself.

  3. February 8, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Zff, just curious: is the JA Benson post the one that looks like Ballot-Stuffing?

    Thanks to you BiV as well, and I am sure that many otehrs will shower laurels upon you for your work with this.

  4. mh
    February 8, 2010 at 10:17 am

    I agree. a niblet should go to biv and ziff for putting together the past 2 year’s niblets.

  5. Kevin Barney
    February 8, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Thanks Ziff. I agree with BiV that you deserve an honorary lifetime achievemet Niblet for your continuing work analyzing the Bloggernacle.

    I didn’t even notice that the three folks who came in ahead of me for best overall blogger were all female until I read it in your analysis. I agree we have a surfeit of amazing women bloggers. You just have a knack of noticing small things like that.

  6. February 8, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    I never thought I’d be nominated for anything this year, let alone come in second place. Thanks, everyone, for all your votes. I’m in some great company and I’d just like to congratulate everyone for a job well done. Great posting and great commenting. And great job, Ziff!

  7. Enna
    February 8, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Ziff, wonderful stats and commentary!

    Is this too much to ask? Can we get links to the nominated comments/posts? Or at least the top three? At the very least the winners?

  8. February 8, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Enna, right here for links to all nominations, as well as winners.
    Separate winner post with links is here.

  9. February 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Thanks, BiV, mh, Kevin, FaithfulDissident, and Enna.

    Rico, the one small bit of ballot stuffing I saw was for one of Brad’s posts, but it was less than 5 ballots and wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

  10. Enna
    February 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks BiV!

  11. hawkgrrrl
    February 8, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Ziff – great job!

  12. February 8, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Mwahahaha — it looks like even Ziff didn’t detect my nefarious ballot stuffing scheme.

  13. February 8, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    As always, it’s fun to see your graphs, Ziff! Though it’s too bad you’re too honest to sneak in some kind of bonus Niblet for ZD. ;)

  14. February 8, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Wow, Ziff — love the graphs, especially the race to best group blog nibblet (I was checking in during voting and caught an inkling of this pattern, but it’s cool to see the replay). Great job MM for hosting again this year — you guys have set a high bar for these. And thanks much to everyone for the votes.

  15. February 9, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Can you do this sort of analysis for the Brodies? Or does Poll Daddy not allow for this kind of detail?

  16. February 9, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Thanks, Hawkgrrrl, Lynnette, and John.

    chanson, unfortunately I think the limitation is that I can’t link an answer a person gives to one question with answers the same person gives to other questions. But I could be wrong. Is there more data stored than what’s displayed in the polls?

  17. February 9, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Excellent work on this analysis. Wow.

  18. CarlosJC
    February 10, 2010 at 3:03 am

    Impressive work! Interesting. Congrats.

    (counting a ballot as an IP address from which .. one vote was received) , note that this can work within the US but in some countries privacy laws stop all tracing at the ISP server so then many voters will end up with the same IP address on your side.

  19. February 10, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Thanks for the Niblet everyone! And thanks to MM for hosting, you guys rock (but seriously I do kinda miss the drama.)

  20. Ray
    February 10, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Thanks, Ziff. The surplus of female greatness is impressive.

    I’m looking forward to seeing this at BCC next year.

  21. February 15, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    I wonder if I could have qualified as a candidate for the best Mormon themed solo blog by a Finn?

    Yah, sure… too square.

    But really, I think this is building up the community where things can be discussed — we don’t have to agree about every detail to be on friendly terms. I don’t much care what others decide to do as long as they don’t try to force it on me. Why, I’ve had people scold me for drinking diet cola, and I’m totally square! But as my son said, when he spoke at Sacrament Meeting yesterday, that “we must learn to love our brothers like Jesus loves us.”

    Good luck for all of you. At least nobody has pulled a plug on me yet.

  22. February 15, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Ziff, I’m late weighing in with my thanks, but really, Thank You. Stellar job, and great statistics.

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