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"Idiot of the Month" award

Subject: Classic Repost: Original IOM rules, and followups
Author: Bill R <>
Date: 2000.01.24

To clarify what IOM is about, these are the original rules rom the 9/17/97 post launching the election. Since the technical details of voting have been changed, I omit that section. In December of that year, voting was changed to the current "anywhere from -100 to +100 on each of as many candidates as desired" system.

It should be noted that later discussions clarified that matters of opinion, such as some merits-of-HIT issues, are not subject in and of themselves for IOM nomination, although if the manner in which such a thing was argued was suitably idiotic and persistent, than the nomination could be made over that point. (E.g., Richard Eastwood achieved his genetic potential and won IOM August 1998 in precisely this manner.)


With all due respect to Rob Schuh's invention of AOM -- which I continue to wholeheartedly support -- there are many people who really are not AOM-type material at all, but, because of their persistent stupidity, truly deserve their own kind of recognition.

So, I announce the new Idiot of the Month award. Whether it succeeds or not is up to the group. If it gets no support, I will drop it, but, maybe it will become popular. There seems to be a need for it. We certainly have a bumper crop of idiots this month, so it seems a good time to start the award.

These are the requirements for someone to be nominated for IOM:

  • Must be an idiot. Educated perhaps, but still an idiot.
  • Must post material which we all know to be wrong, and we know reasons why it is wrong. Or, must post idiocy concerning a technical matter, which is unsupported, wrong, and argued without paying any attention to facts presented by others.
  • Or, must consistently post stupid nonsense.
  • Must be persistent: a repeat offender.

In short: Idiocy, preferably arrogant I-know-it-all idiocy from ignoramuses or loud-mouthed fools, is what we are looking for.

What are we NOT looking for?

Votes should not be cast in favor of a person for IOM simply because he or she holds political opinions with which one personally disagrees. However, votes for IOM could appropriately be cast because of the MANNER in which the poster argues the matter.

And what about "newbie" questions?

People who simply do not know something, even if it is to us "common knowledge," should not have these questions counted against them. The award should not to be given to novice trainers who are asking questions which to them are very legitimate and who don't argue back why they are right and everyone else is wrong.

[snip: technical details that don't apply anymore, such as having to "budget" out your votes so as to total only 100; allowing of voting by e-mail; and a rather long period for votes to arrive, since Usenet was slower in those days. For historical interest, though, I include discussion of the then-current voting system. The philosophic points still apply though the details of execution are since improved:]
I know that may sound complicated and unfamiliar but it is the best way that I know of to handle multi-candidate elections. Here is an example, with five people voting, and three candidates. (Of course, I would hope that we'll have far more than five voters each month.)

For example:
Voter #1Joe:YES50John:YES20Jack:NO30
Voter #2Joe:NO50John:YES30Jack:NO20
Voter #3Joe:(no vote)John:YES30Jack:YES70
Voter #4Joe:YES50.John:YES30Jack:YES20
Voter #5Joe:(no vote)John:YES40Jack:YES60

Totals Joe: 50 votes John: 150 votes Jack: 100 votes

- John is the winner!

Note that he would NOT have won if each voter had only been allowed to vote for the one person he thought was the biggest idiot. No one thought John was the worst idiot, but, he wins and he deserves to win because there is general agreement that he is a serious idiot. There was no such agreement with the other candidates, so they do not deserve to win. And under this system they don't.

The system of just being allowed to vote "yes" (never "no") on just one candidate, and being denied the opporunity to express one's opinion on the other candidates, is a truly bad voting system when there are more than two candidates. So I do not think IOM should use that system. (Neither should political elections, but that system serves the interest of those in power. A side note.)

-- At present, I will serve to count and receive votes. Other mfw regulars who volunteer are invited to do so, which would help prevent claims of me rigging the elections (which I wouldn't do, but I am sure some people would claim it.) If others serve, then all e-mail votes should be sent to ALL persons serving.

-- There will also be a gala end-of-year Idiot of the Year celebration, as well as an Idiot Hall of Fame. [comment: no, no such thing. Instead we have the Sullivan and MTK Awards for those "special" idiots. However we will get around to the Top Ten IOMs election before January is up, I promise.]

I hope this all sounds good!

There are already some obvious idiots this month; let the nominations begin!

-- Bill
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