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Voting Closed: Agnosticism / Atheism 2011 Readers' Choice Award for Best Atheist Blog of 2010

By February 11, 2011

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Note: Voting has closed for this Readers' Choice Poll. Winners for all the polls will be announced on March 15. We have internal checks in place to detect fraudulent voting activity, and in some cases the poll results shown during voting may not reflect the accurate final counts used to determine winners.

Blogs seem to have become the primary means by which people communicate on the web, so of course there are lots of atheist blogs out there. You readers nominated these five atheist blogs the most. Click on the links below to see them and vote in the poll to choose which blog was the best in 2010.



Finalists:

Other Agnosticism / Atheism 2011 Readers' Choice Awards Polls:

Comments
February 11, 2011 at 11:49 am
(1) Steven Mading says:

You do realize, I hope, that PZ Myers makes it his personal mission to prove a point about how bad online polling is by asking regulars on his blog Pharyngula to stuff polls.

Sometimes they find ways to cheat the “one vote per visitor” measures, and other times they don’t even have to – just the fact that more of them are aware of the poll because he advertises it to them is enough on its own to skew the results. (He doesn’t view this as being dishonest, but as proving the point that a public online poll should never have been trusted in the first place. The selection bias of which subset of the internet’s users are even aware that the poll exists because of which sites posted linkes to it is already a huge factor throwing the results off even if people don’t find ways to cheat and vote multiple times per person.)

This is why I predict the winner will be PZ Myers and Pharyngula. His blog followers have gotten skillful at doing this, and he has posted a blog post about this very poll, so expect a sudden flood of PZ and Pharyngula supporters in the votes.

February 11, 2011 at 12:28 pm
(2) Austin Cline says:

You do realize, I hope, that PZ Myers makes it his personal mission to prove a point about how bad online polling is by asking regulars on his blog Pharyngula to stuff polls.

Evidence of cheating will disqualify anyone the cheating is done for — but I don’t think PZ would endorse that generally, and certainly not in a situation like this. I also don’t think he would endorse non-cheating “vote stuffing” in a situation like this.

Finalists are more than welcome to ask people to vote for them — it is “Readers’ Choice” after all — and that includes finalists with a large following of people who can be expected to cast votes. He’s not egotistical, so I wouldn’t expect him to even tell people to come and vote for him.

That said, other Guides in the past have found that the “little guy” can beat the “big guy” if they do a better job at mobilizing online support. Just because lots of people think a blog is good enough to read regularly doesn’t mean they all agree that it’s the “best”.

All of the finalists here got a lot of nominations so they are all contenders — and if all those who nominated a blog that didn’t make it here voted for the same finalist, they’d easily win by a landslide. There were a lot of nominations for blogs other than Pharyngula.

February 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm
(3) Tom says:

If you look at the votes as of 2:20 PM EST, PZ is winning by over 2,000 votes. Once again PZ has proven that online polling is simply a matter of who can stir up their hoard.

PZ does this a lot on polls that involve creationism to drive the people running the poll crazy. :)

February 11, 2011 at 3:46 pm
(4) Jinx Mchue says:

“Evidence of cheating will disqualify anyone the cheating is done for”

Time to put your money where your mouth is and DQ PZ PDQ!

February 11, 2011 at 1:29 pm
(5) opposablethumbs says:

I would have nominated Greta Christina if I’d known about this …. but I didn’t. Oh well.

Lots of great atheist blogs to choose from!

February 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm
(6) Aquaria says:

Evidence of cheating will disqualify anyone the cheating is done for ó but I donít think PZ would endorse that generally, and certainly not in a situation like this. I also donít think he would endorse non-cheating ďvote stuffingĒ in a situation like this.

:::SNORT::::

Pharyngula’s hordes not Pharyngulating an online poll? HAHAHAHAHAH

I thought we atheists were supposed to be reality based, and careful to avoid resorting to wishful thinking.

The Pharyngula horde is gonna hammer you. Why did you even bother?

February 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm
(7) Steven Mading says:

Whoosh! – right over your head the point went.

This was not advertised as “vote for the most influential blog”. If it was then (and only then) would Pharyngula-style poll stuffing be giving correct results – as the ability TO stuff polls would be evidence of being influential.

But this was not asking that question. It was asking which was “best”, which is a different question. Consider the position of a person who agrees with PZ that online polls aren’t worth anything and is part of his “stuffing” horde. Such a person would vote for his blog to help prove that point even if that person has another blog they like even more.

Also, the other blogs don’t have this special feature of having a population of participants who vote in online polls just to prove a point about online polls. With other blogs you’re only going to get people voting who are voting because they’re motivated to support their blog in the poll. With Pharyngula you’re going to BOTH be getting the people who would normally do that anyway for the blog, PLUS the people who are participating only as part of the “stuff a poll” campaign, and to enjoy the irony of someone including in an online poll a group who explicitly try to throw off online polls on general principles..

February 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm
(8) Austin Cline says:

This was not advertised as “vote for the most influential blog”.

Nothing I wrote suggested otherwise.

But this was not asking that question. It was asking which was “best”, which is a different question.

And as long as those voting for Pharyngula like it better than the other finalists, then they are answering that question.

Consider the position of a person who agrees with PZ that online polls aren’t worth anything and is part of his “stuffing” horde. Such a person would vote for his blog to help prove that point even if that person has another blog they like even more.

If they actually like another one of the finalists more and aren’t voting that way, then they’re just pathetic. But, as I stated, I doubt that there are very many of them. Do you think otherwise? Do you honestly believe that a significant percentage of those voting for Pharyngula actually consider another finalist to be the best atheist blog out there but also happen to be members of the horde which delights in skewing online polls (so are voting against their first choice)?

With Pharyngula you’re going to BOTH be getting the people who would normally do that anyway for the blog, PLUS the people who are participating only as part of the “stuff a poll” campaign

But the only people in the latter group who could remotely qualify as “problem” are those who actually like one of the other finalists more. Anyone who likes Pharyngula best among the finalists and votes for Pharyngula can’t be described as “stuffing a poll,” no mater what their immediate motive for voting.

enjoy the irony of someone including in an online poll a group who explicitly try to throw off online polls on general principles.

Once again, the only people who could remotely qualify as “throwing off” the poll are people who actually think one finalist is better but are voting for a different one. Anyone who actually likes Pharyngula better than the other four and votes for Pharyngula isn’t “throwing off” anything.

The only way for a “horde” to “throw off” the poll is to vote for someone they didn’t truly support. Instead, they’re all voting for someone they do support and do follow. No matter how many of them thought they were throwing things off, they (nearly) all actually contributed to providing accurate results — i.e., whose blog is best liked and supported by its readers.

I know very well what Pharyngula readers do to and with online polls. In this case, though, (just about) any supporter of Pharyngula who thought they were “throwing off” the results by voting for Pharyngula did the exact opposite. Ooops.

February 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm
(9) Pachyaena says:

PZ Meyers is not egotistical?? Surely you jest.

He’s one of the most egotistical jerks on Earth.

February 11, 2011 at 4:06 pm
(10) blankfrank says:

Please provide evidence. Otherwise your comment can be regarded as nothing more than personal opinion be disregarded as a baseless assertion. Thx.

February 11, 2011 at 4:18 pm
(11) blankfrank says:

Oops! There should be an “and” between ‘opinion’ and ‘be disregarded.’

February 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm
(12) Mackrelmint says:

It would have been nice to have an “other” category that we could have filled in. As it didn’t, I didn’t vote at all. My vote would have gone to Daylight Atheism.

February 11, 2011 at 5:36 pm
(13) Austin Cline says:

It would have been nice to have an “other” category that we could have filled in. As it didn’t, I didn’t vote at all. My vote would have gone to Daylight Atheism.

This isn’t a regular poll. This is a vote on the top five recipients of nominations during the nomination period. So an “other” category wouldn’t be appropriate.

February 11, 2011 at 6:54 pm
(14) Ol'Froth says:

Congrats Austin! You’ve been Pharyngulated! Personally, I’d consider it an honor.

February 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm
(15) storkk says:

While I agree with a few commenters that this will be a relatively pointless exercise in pharyngulation, it is only pointless if regarded in the context of choosing the best blog. The fact that this poll exists has been entirely a good thing for me, a lurking pharyngulite, to expose me to blogs that I would not otherwise have come accross.

February 11, 2011 at 8:58 pm
(16) JG says:

Any final that excludes Tom Rees’s Epiphenom is a waste of time. I have a lot of time for all the finalists, but consistently the most interesting of all the atheist blogs — because science-based — is Rees’s.

No, I’m not his mom.

February 11, 2011 at 11:04 pm
(17) Austin Cline says:

Any final that excludes Tom Rees’s Epiphenom is a waste of time.

I read his blog regularly and have in fact written many blog posts myself that draw directly on what he has written. Unfortunately, not enough people nominated him. I’d have nominated him, if I could have – but the finalists aren’t up to me. They were up to people like you.

February 11, 2011 at 9:23 pm
(18) Jinx McHue says:

Geez, Austin. You really aren’t familiar with PZ and his PZombies, are you? Many of his slavish, bleating followers know how to vote multiple times and PZ knows this. Seriously, think about this. PZ’s blog has a few dozen regulars. After he posted about this poll with a wink and a nudge, his votes skyrocketed from a handful to thousands. Try taking that rational, skeptical, reason-filled brain of yours and put 2 and 2 together.

February 12, 2011 at 12:54 am
(19) pulseteresa says:

Jinx,

It would appear that it is you who aren’t familiar with PZ (calling his regulars zombies was your first giveaway). Pharyngula has far, far more than a few dozen regulars and there are plenty of regular readers who are not regular posters. It is thus far from unbelievable that Pharyngula’s numbers are an accurate reflection of those who voted for his blog. If you have any information to the contrary about this particular poll, them I’m sure we’d all love to see the evidence.

February 12, 2011 at 2:56 am
(20) Cheng Vang says:

Jeez Jinx, why don’t you try taking that rational, skeptical, reason-filled brain of yours and put 2 and 2 together. A few dozen regulars? Check the site meter available at the bottom of his blog, he averages 600,000+ views/visits a week.

February 12, 2011 at 9:16 am
(21) Zombie #785546 says:

Geez, Austin. You really arenít familiar with PZ and his PZombies, are you? Many of his slavish, bleating followers know how to vote multiple times and PZ knows this.

Or, it could be that he just has lots and lots of readers.

February 12, 2011 at 11:56 am
(22) Aquaria says:

Geez, Austin. You really arenít familiar with PZ and his PZombies, are you?

Do you have evidence that any of Pharyngula’s regulars are among the undead, or are you just being nasty for no reason at all in your virulent hatred of anything PZ? What, didums not get enough attention when her visited?

Many of his slavish, bleating followers know how to vote multiple times and PZ knows this.

No, that’s not what they do, and it’s not slavish, contrary to your hysterical sniveling. PZ and his regulars seek to show that online polling is UNSCIENTIFIC, because there are not proper controls and standards, to remove biases, or to have a representative sample. I’m sorry that your paranoia and venomous hatred of PZ renders you too stupid to get that key point.

Seriously, think about this.

When you say something cogent, people will listen to you. You haven’t done that yet, but you certainly have revealed that you have some serious psychological problems, like obsession, paranoia and pathological lying.

PZís blog has a few dozen regulars.

It’s considerably more than that. Not all of them post. You’d know that, if you had a brain.

After he posted about this poll with a wink and a nudge, his votes skyrocketed from a handful to thousands.

He has the right to inform people about the poll, and they have the right to take part in it. Or are you the kind of fascist who thinks that only the people you want to vote can vote on something, and even them must vote the way you want them to?

Certainly seems that way to anyone who is rational.

Try taking that rational, skeptical, reason-filled brain of yours and put 2 and 2 together.

You first, cupcake.

February 12, 2011 at 4:07 am
(23) Theo says:

@ Jinx McHue

Hi Jinx!
We meet again. What is it that you have against PZ Meyers? Can’t you read what Austin has written with regards to this poll? If you don’t like the rules start your own poll. Why not along the lines of the “best” evangelist of all time: Eric Hovind, Marjoe Gortner, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart,… All of them oozing honesty and integrity I’m sure. You are spoiled for choice so why are you even interested in this poll then?
And, puleez…. we are PZbots and not PZombies! Zombies are dead people (like your jeesus) that have risen from the grave and feed off the brains of the living (like yourself).
Theo

February 12, 2011 at 10:16 am
(24) Epinephrine says:

Gotta LOL at Jinx McHue. A few dozen regulars? They must be refreshing like mad, if he averages nearly 90,000 visits and 100,000 page views per day.

And the criticism of being “PZombies” really hurts coming from a guy who blogged about his inability to understand why 0.999… is equal to 1. It’s ok, you can leave the thinking to us.

February 12, 2011 at 2:02 pm
(25) Pharyngulite says:

Pharyngulated.

I actually had a hard time deciding between Pharyngula and the Friendly Atheist. Voted for PZ in the end, though, as his is the blog of the two that I read every day (as opposed to once or twice a week for the other).

February 12, 2011 at 5:58 pm
(26) echidna says:

PZís blog has more than 100,000 page views, on average, per day, according to the site-meter on the blog. You’d have to be a right twerp to say that he has a few dozen regulars. The number of regular readers would measure in the thousands.

February 12, 2011 at 6:58 pm
(27) echidna says:

In other words, what Epinephrine said. Whoops.

February 12, 2011 at 6:27 pm
(28) Steve twigg says:

Pz is far to agressive and full of his own self importance for me, you get my vote every time :) (four years reading and first ever response lol)

February 14, 2011 at 2:39 am
(29) echidna says:

This comment baffles me. Any examples to illuminate how PZ is aggressive and full of his own self-importance?

February 12, 2011 at 7:49 pm
(30) tracieh says:

PZ has a huge following, because he runs a great blog. The comment section alone demonstrates how much action it gets daily. Seeing PZ sweep it wouldn’t surprise me at all, and the numbers being this large doesn’t strike me as evidence of cheating. And I don’t say that to disparage the competitors in this category in any way. But he’s an atheist celebrity. I mean, I have no clue if people are “cheating” by voting more than once as different users. But I hardly believe PZ would require that sort of cheating to take the best blog category.
Oh, and I say this as part of The Atheist Experience team, which runs an unofficial atheist blog. We aren’t even among the choices–so, I say that as a person who could be bitter, but I just know our blog isn’t Pharyngula.

And just reiterate what Austin is saying–as a Reader’s Choice vote, if you can get your readers to vote for you over the other material they read–you win…fair and square.

February 14, 2011 at 6:00 am
(31) Dan Hall says:

I am a regular reader of Pharyngula and I opted to not vote simply because I do not have enough experience with the other options to judge a “favorite”. I know I like PZ’s blog but if I haven’t read all the others I did not feel it would be fair to vote. Is that Pharyngulating?

February 15, 2011 at 8:04 pm
(32) crystalspin says:

PZ reminded me of the poll, and I voted for Mehta. I read both on a Kindle so I do not regularly comment on either. Silent Majority, anyone?

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