29 Sept 2008

To cookie or not to cookie

NOW, a public affairs program on the Public Broadcast Service (PBS) in the United States has become a hotbed of debate not only in politics, but internet ethics. It all started with a web poll asking: Do you think Sarah Palin is qualified to serve as Vice President of the United States?

The poll was posted on September 5 and by September 22 PBS had changed its cookie strategy. The poll started without cookies, so while hundreds of thousands of votes were cast, it’s impossible to say how many people have actually voted.

The viral spread of information about the poll and the potential “damage” by PBS reporting the results caused people across the political spectrum to encourage their friends to vote. Emails were, and still are, flying.

Today the link is hidden, and thousands are still voting by arriving at the link from emails. But now cookies are enabled and each vote will be counted just once.

Politics aside, is the poll more accurate without cookies or now?

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