World Charts Foundation is Fixed!

Due to Jurgen Appelo's refusal to listen to reason, I will be posting this response to Appelo's editorial everywhere he posts an Internet Top 100 chart.

The entire point of this protest is that Jurgen Appelo has admitted to rigging the Internet Video Games Top 100 chart. I and many others find this action absolutely unacceptable. In Appelo's response to people's complaints he posted his editorial explaining that he is trying to reflect the "true" worldwide popularity of a title, and then links to a page of algorithms designed to address varying issues of statistical anomalies. And I find it even more despicable that he is hiding behind these very valid algorithms because they are not the algorithms he is using. This is the algorithm Appelo is using:

if(title == "Sakura Taisen") rank != 1;

Statistical algorithms or no, if Sakura Taisen does come out number 1, Appelo has ADMITTED to simply CHOPPING OFF the extra votes. Why? Because he, *HE* does not believe that the game, some unknown, obscure game as he considers it, deserves the number one position. Never mind the fact that the series has sold over a million copies and is one of the biggest crazes ever in the video game industry. Nah, it's a little-known, obscure title because *HE* says so.

Appelo claims that people who don't like the fact that titles are penalized are completely disjoint from people who don't like ridiculous results, and that he is siding on the side of reasonable results. I say that the two sets are NOT disjoint, that I am one person on both of the supposedly opposite sides of a spectrum. And I say that he has FAILED in avoiding ridiculous results.

I say that penalizing titles, at least the way Appelo does so, inherently destroys any meaning within his charts, inherently makes them ridiculous. This is because he is not filtering all votes for every game with the same process. He is penalizing SPECIFIC games because HE wants to. So, then, what is the point of voting? Why bother putting up a voter-based chart if the most important slots are based SOLELY on HIS discretion? Why isn't it illegal for him to post a chart supposedly based on worldwide voters, carrying with it the assumed validity of a pool of intellects, if he's the only one arranging the order of the most important slots?

You want to talk about ridiculous results? 1996, the 32 bit generation is a bit more than a year into its life. As always with consoles, near the beginning of a hardware generation the home of video games, Japan, dominates the industry even more so than usual. The installed userbase for consoles is nearly 6 times that in America, Europe with an even smaller slice of the pie. Along comes a game with sells half a million copies, most likely better than any 32 bit game has sold in the U.S. by that time, and creates a frenzy of fandom. That game is Sakura Taisen. Where was Sakura Taisen in the World Chart in 1996? Nowhere.

1996 continues, Sakura Taisen still dominates all Japanese popularity charts as well as the Japanese conscience. 1996 comes to a close and Sakura Taisen claims the coveted CESA Game of the Year award at Winter TGS. Where was Sakura Taisen in the World Chart the beginning of 1997? Nowhere.

Final Fantasy 7 gets released the end of January and sells some 2.1 million copies the first week. Who wins in Famitsu's reader poll? Sakura Taisen. For at least two weeks guaranteed, and I would not be surprised if it won more weeks in addition. Where was Sakura Taisen in the World Chart? Nowhere.

Meanwhile, Final Fantasy 7 manages to make it to the World Chart more than EIGHT MONTHS before it is released ANYWHERE, not even in Japan. The world chart has FF7's entry date listed as 6 May 1996. The game was released in the end of January 1997. With 74 weeks under its belt by the week of 15 June 1998, the absolute latest FF7 could have broken into the video game chart was still two months prior to it even existing. How is that for ridiculous results?

Never minding the fact that it is wrong of Appelo to presume that because he thinks Sakura Taisen is an obscure title that the rest of the world agrees with him, it still boggles my mind that Appelo considers Sakura Taisen an obscure title to begin with. Was it the financial failure of Sakura Taisen? One million copies somehow suggests otherwise. Lack of critical acclaim? CESA disagrees. Apathy from the public? The fact that Sakura is one of the most popular characters to cos-play at conventions is an, albeit scary, indication that Sakura Taisen is quite forefront in people's minds. So what then, Jurgen? What is it? Is it because you don't like Japan? The Japanese? Asians in general? Stuff that's only in Japan isn't good enough for you? I couldn't help but notice that FF7 wasn't good enough to hit #1 until the very week it got released in the U.S., either. Neither were Tekken 3 or Gran Turismo. Everything else on the World Chart seems to be dominated by American and European products as well. The countries people are voting from are vastly European, too. Are you weighing Asian votes less by any chance, either intentionally or accidentally because most Asian votes are going to come from fewer countries than the border-ridden Europe, thus getting squeezed with the spatial locality algorithm that you supposedly might be using? Remember, this is the WORLD Charts Foundation. Asia is part of the WORLD.

But don't take my word for it, readers. That's just me thinking out loud. That's all I can do now since nothing else is going to sway Appelo. All I have to work with is what Appelo has said and what he has done, and I'm just trying to come up with some way to explain his behavior. Feel free to think out loud for yourselves. Maybe you'll come up with a theory more robust. More importantly, maybe you'll come up with a way to change Appelo's mind.

Because as it stands now, I can have no faith whatsoever in Appelo's chart, and anyone else's faith is misdirected. If he is free to arbitrarily rank games as he desires regardless of voter input, the entire point of a vote is completely useless. And the reason why I post this message to every recipient of any of the World Charts Foundation's charts is because if Appelo is willing to fix the video games chart, there is no reason why he wouldn't fix any other chart as he (I certainly have been saying "he" a lot about a voting process that should be talking about "they") sees fit.

Jurgen, take every single vote, and feed it through the exact same algorithm, one that does not take into consideration the name of the game, feed it through any combination of the ones you have listed on your page, and whatever comes out, comes out. Faking results is just that, fake. Things fake have no meaning. If your chart has a few anomalies here and there, so be it. It is a weekly chart. Things on a weekly basis are SUPPOSED to fluctuate. And strange as the results may seem now and then, at least they're BASED on something REAL, something you can guarantee to have SUBSTANCE. And who knows, maybe they're NOT strange. Maybe it's YOUR IDEA of things that's strange to begin with.

"The existence of the world as I came to know it was a result of this: idea of thing over here, reality of thing way, way over there... That the idea of something and its reality are often two completely different things is something no one ever remembers; and so when they meet and find that they are not compatible, the weaker of the two, idea or reality, dies." - Jamaica Kincaid

    Written by M.
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