Tonight is the TV3 Goff-Key leaders’ debate 7pm – 8:30pm. Remember “the worm”? It’s back. Sigh.
Yes folks, once again we’re going to be subjected to this controversial feedback mechanism driven by an “uncommitted” panel. But, in a move aimed much more at “wow” factor than at validity or utility, there will also be a second worm driven by the TV audience via smartphone apps.
The smartphone worm has a huge and obvious bias, National’s demographic is much more likely to own a smartphone than Labour’s. This bias seemed to have lead to the idea being dropped back in October:
Election 2011: Worm won’t use iPhone
A war of the worm is heating up as subterfuge, technophobia and low-income voters have cancelled plans for an iPhone-only rating of TV3’s election debate.
The worm is a line on the bottom of TV screens which tracks responses to party leaders from undecided voters during debates. It is officially known as “the reactor”.
Marcus Tarrant of Roy Morgan Research said the worm would return to screens next month after six years away following a controversial appearance in 2005. However, Tarrant’s plan to roll out new technology for the device has had to be dropped for fear of inaccurate readings and “sneaky” interference.
Tarrant initially wanted all worm respondents to vote using their personal iPhones. But smartphone use in New Zealand is so low, and limited mostly to the wealthy, that an old-fashioned dial system has been brought back to represent a wider spread of voters. Barely 5 per cent of New Zealanders own smartphones.
He said another problem was sneaky users “can get all their mates to connect and give the result they want. …
Those problems haven’t been solved, but TV3 has obviously decided to go ahead anyway. That makes the whole thing a gimmick, and a trivialisation of democracy. But what’s a Leftie to do? There doesn’t seem to any alternative to taking part in the flawed process. So, smartphone lefties, if you feel so inclined, you might as well grab the app and take part (instructions below). You’ll be heavily outnumbered by astroturfing righties from [insert region here] – but what else is new.
Update: From John Pagani’s blog
you have to switch off home wifi to make it work. It only goes on 3G.
It actually has Red as the colour for negative/disapprove, and Blue as the colour for good/approve.
Fail again. That’s three strikes.