Opinion

Michel: 'Best of' times

Exploring the new process for Best of Madison

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change, physicist Stephen Hawking once said. And because our readers are sharp and engaging, they’re sure to see the merit in the new approach to our hugely popular Best of Madison reader poll.

We’re moving to a two-step voting process for the 2018 poll, which includes a one-month nomination period in August and a four-week final voting period from mid-September to mid-October. This change minimizes the potential for electronic ballot stuffing—voting as many times as you want for the same business—which historically has created an unfair advantage in cases where fans repeatedly vote for the same business.

I bring this to your attention in July because the first round begins Aug. 1, and I want to make sure readers know well in advance that this nomination period runs through Aug. 31. In round one, you can nominate any business in each category and vote once per day. Go to madisonmagazine.com/bom to see a list of categories. Up to six top vote getters in each category will move on to the second (and final) round.

Round two begins Sept. 18 and goes through Oct. 15. Fans vote for their favorite among the finalists in each category. Please be aware that in this final round, you can vote only once per category. If you vote for Best Fish Fry on Sept. 18, for example, you cannot vote again in that category for the remainder of the 2018 polling process. The winners will be published in the March 2018 issue.

This process is modeled after a similar “Best of” poll in Lafayette, Louisiana, where I was the executive editor of the local newspaper. It’s a proven practice that levels the playing field and creates buzz for businesses and the poll over a longer period of time.

One other change is that suburbs are also part of the Best of Madison poll in categories that include the word “destination.” We will no longer be conducting a Best of the ’Burbs reader poll. But that doesn’t mean we won’t cover the suburbs, as evidenced by our “Mad About the ’Burbs” cover story this month, beginning on page 46, and our “Bike the ’Burbs” feature starting on page 56.

There’s much to absorb with the upcoming changes to our annual reader poll. Give it a chance. I’m sure you’ll see it’s a smart move.

Karen Lincoln Michel is the editor of Madison Magazine.


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