Crowd sourcing overwhelms SXSW panel voting?

Got this email just now:

Dear Dave Taylor,
Apologies for the form letter and for any cross-posting.
We want to thank you again for being a part of the Panel Picker process for the 2009 South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival.
We are overwhelmed by the tremendous response we have received on this year’s interface and very excited by the overall quality of the ideas submitted. Again, we thank you so much for your participation!
We wanted to take this opportunity to pass along a few helpful tools and reminders to allow you to make the most of the Panel Picker interface.
— We have now created a couple of “Vote for My Idea” buttons that you can place on your blog or website (to drive more traffic to your proposal). These buttons are attached below. Feel free to modify to your liking.
— In addition to using this button, we encourage you to make full use of the “comments” section of the interface for your proposal. What do we mean by full use? For example, you can use this space to tell readers what other speakers might be on this session, or why you are qualified to lead this panel. You can also give readers more information about what you want to cover in this session. The more information you can give users of the Panel Picker about your proposal, the more likely you are to catch their attention.
— Voting for the 2009 Panel Picker will end at 11:59 pm central time on Friday, August 29. We hope to make the first batch of programming announcements in early October.
— If your programming idea is accepted to be part of the 2009 SXSW Interactive Festival, you will be given a complimentary Gold badge to the event. However, if you know that you are going to attend SXSW whether or not your panel is accepted and are concerned about getting a downtown hotel, we recommend that you go ahead and register now. SXSW does NOT grant refunds — so please do not buy a registration unless you are absolutely sure that you will attend the event. If your programming idea is accepted and you have already bought a badge, we will allow you to transfer your badge to another person at no charge.
— If this registration stuff is too confusing (and it probably is), please e-mail us at and we will try to explain it in greater detail. You can also e-mail us at this address if you have any other SXSW-related questions.
Thanks again for being part of the Panel Picker process for 2009!
Best regards,
Hugh Forrest
Kathryn Lasater

Very interesting, but what struck me was the sentence We are overwhelmed by the tremendous response we have received on this year’s interface, which doesn’t surprise me because when they first opened voting the system couldn’t keep up and people complained that they couldn’t vote.
They’ve fixed things since then, but still it’d be darn interesting to know the raw numbers: how many votes have they received to date, what’s the average number of votes/panel, and how many panels have received more than 5x the average vote count and how many have received less than 1/5th. I imagine there are still some at zero or close to it.
Fortunately, the entire conference isn’t going to be decided based on the virtual popularity contest of the panel picker: in fact, that’s only going to factor in as 30% of the total decision making process.
Now, it would only be fair if I ended this by asking that you vote for my panel too, right? Here, click on one of these spiffo new buttons:

Panel Picker Vote!     Panel Picker Pickme!

Or… don’t. 🙂

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