Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Continuous #votermedia relaunched!

UBC AMS has reactivated funding for its Continuous VoterMedia (CVM) contest at votermedia.org/ubc. The blog award pool is now $40/day; they plan to continue this through April 30, then lower it to $10/day through August 31. You can track the award series at votermedia.org/ubc/horserace.

The contest is also reopened for new entries -- see votermedia.org/ubcentry. AMS Council has approved these new contest rules, including:
  • Minimum 40% UBC-related content.
  • Council members may not participate in the contest.
  • Blog Editor's name must be submitted but need not be made public.
  • "The SAC Vice-Chair may also impose penalties up to and including removal from the contest for the publication of content that the Vice-Chair deems to be libellous, offensive, a violation of personal privacy, or a violation of Society policies on confidentiality."
  • Funding shall be established each year in the AMS budget [likewise for 1-time VoterMedia].

To encourage more competition and diversity among blogs, the SAC Vice-Chair has approved the following implementation of proposals I made in this post:
  • Raise the cap on votable shares from 30% to 40% (effective today).
  • Raise the "spread" parameter from 1 to 4 (effective Feb. 8).
  • Raise the "spread" parameter from 4 to 8 (effective Feb. 15).

This will smooth out the "progressive tax rate" on blog votes as a function of share%. There's more detail in my earlier post, but below is a brief comparison. [Remember that each blog is supported by the number of (interpolated) votes above their current share%, and the required number of supporting votes is chosen so that share%'s total 100%.]

With the previous 30% cap and 10% interpolation interval, UBC Insiders at their recent 30% share has a tax rate of 50% (being half way through the interpolation) -- only half of their votes for 30% are being counted; AMS Confidential at 31% is taxed at 60% -- only 40% of their votes for 30% are being counted.

Now that the votable cap is 40%, let's suppose that all the 30% voters change their votes to 40%. [Actually some may not, and those that do change will take some time to do so.] So suppose there are no votes for 30%. Consider a blog with a current share of 33.333%. A spread parameter of 8 would discount the votes (for 40%) by dividing the number of votes by 8 to the power 0.33333, which is 2 -- so a tax rate of 50%, the same rate UBC Insiders are facing now. The interim (Feb. 8 through Feb. 14) spread parameter of 4 would discount votes by 4 to the power 0.33333, or about 1.6 -- a tax rate of about 37%.

The idea is to give the top blogs more upside potential if they work harder, while still facing tax rates progressive enough to give opportunity to several other blogs working their way up to becoming known. The new tax rates phase in much more gradually than before.

Unlike the "floating cap" system I outlined in my ealier post, the UBC AMS ballot will keep its cap at 40% for now. That will mean double taxation if a share goes above 35%. But I will probably recommend letting the cap float in the summer, when funding drops to $10/day and there may only be enough news to justify a couple of active blogs.

I thank everyone at the AMS who helped get CVM going again, especially Legislative Procedures Committee Chair Iggy Rodriguez and Student Activities Committee Vice-Chair Alannah Johnston. Let's keep monitoring and improving VoterMedia to maximize the benefit to UBC students!

Your comments are invited as always...

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