Stepping on a Rake, or “Votes? What Votes?”

We should have known things were going too smoothly.

The RRHOF fan vote was down to what was to have been its final eight days when on Tuesday (November 28) the announcement was made that the voting period had been extended through December 15. This actually makes more sense; this way it’s back in sync with the official vote instead of leaving a 10-day gap that would allow fans’ attention to wander before the announcement. It seemed a little haphazard, but this is the RRHOF after all.

But within a couple of hours of that, THIS happened:

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(For the complete thread, see twitter.com/futurerocklegends).

It’s even more interesting when you consider this, from Journey’s official Twitter account:

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(This is a perfect example of the sometimes-hilarious nature of fan bias, coming from an official page. Even now there are Journey fans online maintaining that their lead suddenly and suspiciously evaporated, when those of us watching the numbers could see it eroding over the 10 days prior to this and were wondering if an unprecedented switch was going to happen. Other bands do have fans, and when they outvote you by around 200 votes per day, it adds up).

But personally, I’m intrigued by this: What issue? And why is everything is being framed in terms of this one nominee?

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-1-50-49-pm

None of this is intended to imply wrongdoing on the part of the RRHOF, Votem, or anyone else. But it is a textbook PR screw-up. A new voting deadline was announced and more than half a million votes were dumped into the system on a random afternoon just before the prior deadline with no explanation, changing the standings and giving one act an essentially insurmountable lead. When pressed about it, it was clear the RRHOF hadn’t thought of a response, although it should know that by now it’s forfeited the right to the benefit of the doubt in these situations. The fact that someone even noticed seemed to be a surprise.  If the vote dump were done at the very end with a press release, it would still look bizarre, but not as sketchy and unprepared as this. If the Hall were a person strolling in a football field with a single rake lying in it, it would manage to step on that rake.

But maybe therre’s a method in the madness; the voting numbers are roughly double what they were before Tuesday, ast least for certain nominees. It’s mostly the already highly motivated classic rock acts–Journey, ELO, Yes and the Cars–but Pearl Jam’s numbers have also jumped dramatically, and Janet Jackson’s have almost tripled to over 1000 per day in the two days since the adjustment.

(Speaking as a Cars fan, I’m actually not all that upset about the drop from a weakening third to a solid fifth place. I’d rather be in third, but as long as it’s top five, it’s all good for that one extra vote, which is all that can be asked for. The group that really got the proverbial rug pulled out from under it is the ELO fans. I think they’re going to do fine though—at this point my prediction is Journey/Pearl Jam/ELO/Baez/2Pac or Yes. Still hoping for a class of at least six but not holding my breath).

I’m on record as not supporting a bigger role for fans in the RRHOF selection process, but even so, the way this was handled was disrespectful of the fans that have taken the time to vote. It’s another example of the Hall not putting a great stake on professionalism. In taking this attitude, it not only undercuts its own relevance, but also disrespects fans and the artists it purports to honor. The RRHOF cannot continue to consider itself, or even aspire to be, a prestigious institution until it decides to be professional.

(Thanks to Future Rock Legends for permission to reproduce the relevant Twitter thread).

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7 thoughts on “Stepping on a Rake, or “Votes? What Votes?”

  1. The election is rigged! 🙂 I too am not a fan, so to speak, of fans voting. Too susceptible to this sort of crap. Get a bunch of good, knowledgeable critics, musicians and of course, bloggers (!) and let them vote.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, the weirdness wasn’t the fans’ fault. But it is weirdness. There are some really knowledgeable fans out there (Not putting myself in that category) who can see the big picture, but I’ve no idea how they could play a part. Very few HOF’s give fans a role, at least not subjective ones-I don’t know of another, so at least rock fans have this.

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      1. Yeah, I don’t blame the fans for the shenanigans. But I guess what bugs me is that under this system, the most mobilized fans can get a band into the HOF. So, ‘most mobilized crazed fans’ doesn’t necessarily translate into most-deserving band.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I wish they’d be upfront about the winner of the fan vote being inducted (transparency again). But if the NomCom has put an act on the ballot in good faith, then OK, although again, a larger class around that would be nice. And in all honesty, the official voters are at times not that much better. They vote out of sentiment and prejudice too. The NomCom gets a lot of heat but I don’t think they’re necessarily the weak link.

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          1. Point taken. One wonders if there’s any good way to do this short of feeding data into computers and letting them make an unemotional, unbiased decision. “Based on our calculations,” Computer A says to Computer B, “Yes should have been in a long time ago. And Justin Bieber must never be allowed in.” 😀

            Liked by 1 person

  2. The rise of ELO nearing Journey is not unprecedented either. SRV was trailing in second place for awhile until they managed to overtake the top spot for the fan vote in the class of 2015. Maybe that’s why Journey panicked the way they did. That doesn’t justify accusations of rigging though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d been tallying up the top five and a couple of other acts just out of curiosity for about a month and I’d been saying for a few days that Journey was going to lose it. The Cars were just about to drop to fourth place as well. I guess everyone has a goofy pastime.

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