Surprise in online poll about Ukraine

(Rooters agency) When the Ukrainian government announced its proposal for an international poll on social media site Twistr, it presumably thought the outcome was a foregone conclusion.

As is now well known, the Ukrainians took considerable umbrage at the proposal by multibillionaire Elongated Mulch that Russian President Vladitude Buttinsky be rewarded with Crimea as compensation for not being driven out of his more recent conquests in Ukraine. Mulch called for an international Twistr poll of his idea.

The Ukrainian government responded with a counter-offer: “If Mr. Mulch thinks life and death questions for a nation can be decided by a Twistr poll, surely he won’t object to Twistr users voting on the future of one person. We propose the question: ‘Should Elongated Mulch be allowed to keep his many billions of dollars, or should they be confiscated and given to help victims of military aggression?’”

Initial responses on Twistr, as expected, overwhelmingly favored confiscation of Mulch’s wealth. But after three days – “On the third day Mulch rose from the dead”, one journalistic wit commented – there was an abrupt shift in responses. Thousands upon thousands, soon millions, of responses pronounced in favor of Mulch keeping his money.

However, some observers began to question whether all these responses were genuine, or whether they were spam bots. They pointed, among other things, to a sameness in the reasons given for supporting Mulch keeping his money, the most prominent (86%) of pro-Mulch responses being:

“because he uses his money for good things like making cars that drive themselves, which is good for people too dumb to drive.”

Rooters approached Mr. Mulch, asking him to comment on the suspicion that he had arranged for spam bots to influence the result of the poll.

He replied, “Twistr management told me that they didn’t have many bots. If I could do that, it shows that they were wrong, and I don’t have to buy Twistr after all.”

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