This morning, I woke to see that a Code Geass character popularity poll by BANDAI had closed and that the results reflected the collective efforts of /a/. The #3-5 slots would have probably been the real crowning victors of the poll, but due to the Zergling rush, #2 belonged to Rivalz, an incredibly minor and arguably irrelevant character, and #1 belonged to Clovis who (spoiler!?) is dead by episode three. It amused me greatly, but I’m usually amused by the poll-sabotaging antics of /a/. Earlier last month, a similar Japanese poll for Code Geass containing many more characters (since it spanned both seasons), was also “influenced” by /a/ — the poll came right on the heels of a five second scene in episode 13 of R2 that became an insta-meme by everyone who saw it (seriously, even if you’ve never seen Code Geass before, if you watched this one episode, you would know which moment it was or maybe not… the entire episode is full of crack and insta-memes). As such, the meme’s central character was rushed to the top. As far as I know, the results of this poll haven’t been released yet, but the /a/ rush might be why…
But even though these instances are always highly amusing and full of lulz, and even though I usually participate myself, I kind of wonder about the effects of it all. Poll-sabotaging seems innocent enough, especially when compared to the sometimes very questionable activities of neighboring /b/, but polls are usually highly informative. There’s always a general public interest in the popularity rankings of characters, but I also can’t help but think that the companies that put out these polls intend to use their results for something. The BANDAI poll, for example, I wonder if they had wanted to use the results to decide what sort of merchandise to put out? Or what kind of character-centric extras to include with DVD releases? The Japanese poll could have had similar goals, though theirs might also expand to include possible characters to have in future voice actor radio shows and drama CD releases.
Do we really want merchandise with Clovis on it? Or of “NANI, MAI HANI” Miya? (That’s largely a rhetorical question.) Of course, I don’t think the companies behind the polls are stupid enough to think that Clovis or Miya are actually the most popular Code Geass characters — a quick glance around the Internet can easily pick out the real winners — but what’s the point of polling at all if all their attempts are thwarted by /a/tards’ quest for the lulz? There are still magazine polls, I guess, and it’d be much harder to coordinate a sabotage of those since they require much more effort to respond to. (That said, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if it happened.)
We’ve clearly demonstrated the power of the swarm. We’ve done it over and over again. /b/ organizes DDOS attacks. /a/ breaks anime polls. We’ve gotten plenty of lulz. The series themselves provide us with plenty of lulz. Now what?
I dunno. I don’t really think I’m against the poll-sabotage (like I said, I often participate myself), but I guess sometimes, I’m actually really curious about real poll results, at least for the real rankings of characters that don’t make up the top five.