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A surprising result

Posted on April 29, 2013 by

Our survey of Scottish political website readership closed last night, and the results are in. And we must admit, we really didn’t see this one coming.

pollfix

Remarkably, the winner of the poll – excellent news resource BBC Scotlandshire – was on 0 votes the day before voting closed, largely because we’d forgotten to include it. But to our surprise, in the small hours of the morning a whopping 1,011 votes arrived out of nowhere – or more specifically, according to our IP tracking, from a single building close to the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood.

When we checked, we found that it was the headquarters of a smaller and more amateurish news-reporting organisation, so we assume that lots of employees working the late shift had all decided to vote to express their admiration for a respected rival at once. (Curiously all from the same computer, and now we come to think about it, several hours after the poll had in fact closed.)

It’s quite the mystery.

So that’s enough with the arch political satire. We apologise once again to BBC Scotlandshire for their omission from the poll, and the real results are below.

Which Scottish political websites do you visit regularly (at least once a week)?

  • Newsnet Scotland (83%, 666 Votes)
  • Bella Caledonia (71%, 569 Votes)
  • National Collective (61%, 492 Votes)
  • Lallands Peat Worrier (35%, 285 Votes)
  • Iain Macwhirter (23%, 189 Votes)
  • (The) Jimmy Reid Foundation (21%, 169 Votes)
  • Peter A. Bell (21%, 168 Votes)
  • Munguin's Republic (20%, 162 Votes)
  • Moridura (20%, 157 Votes)
  • Scot Goes Pop! (19%, 155 Votes)
  • Labour For Independence (16%, 129 Votes)
  • Business For Scotland (14%, 113 Votes)
  • Referendum 2014 (14%, 111 Votes)
  • Better Nation (14%, 111 Votes)
  • A Burdz Eye View (14%, 110 Votes)
  • Gerry Hassan (11%, 86 Votes)
  • Witterings Of A Weegiewarbler (10%, 82 Votes)
  • Subrosa (9%, 70 Votes)
  • Alex Massie (Spectator) (8%, 61 Votes)
  • Thoughtland (Pat Kane) (6%, 45 Votes)
  • Holyrood Magazine (6%, 45 Votes)
  • A Sair Fecht (5%, 40 Votes)
  • A Scottish Liberal (3%, 25 Votes)
  • ThinkScotland (2%, 18 Votes)
  • Ian S Smart (2%, 13 Votes)
  • LabourHame (2%, 13 Votes)
  • Caron's Musings (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Open Unionism (0%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 805

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Which is your FAVOURITE Scottish political site (apart from this one, obv)?

  • Newsnet Scotland (50%, 428 Votes)
  • Bella Caledonia (13%, 114 Votes)
  • National Collective (13%, 109 Votes)
  • Lallands Peat Worrier (4%, 31 Votes)
  • Munguin's Republic (3%, 26 Votes)
  • Iain Macwhirter (3%, 22 Votes)
  • Referendum 2014 (2%, 20 Votes)
  • Scot Goes Pop! (2%, 18 Votes)
  • (The) Jimmy Reid Foundation (2%, 15 Votes)
  • Peter A. Bell (2%, 13 Votes)
  • Moridura (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Witterings Of A Weegiewarbler (1%, 10 Votes)
  • Better Nation (1%, 8 Votes)
  • A Burdz Eye View (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Business For Scotland (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Gerry Hassan (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Labour For Independence (0%, 3 Votes)
  • ThinkScotland (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Subrosa (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Alex Massie (Spectator) (0%, 2 Votes)
  • A Sair Fecht (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Ian S Smart (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Thoughtland (Pat Kane) (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Open Unionism (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Caron's Musings (0%, 0 Votes)
  • A Scottish Liberal (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Holyrood Magazine (0%, 0 Votes)
  • LabourHame (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 852

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Alert readers will recall that we ran the vote as a comparison with a similar one on Scot Goes Pop! a year ago, and the differences are intriguing. They left out Newsnet Scotland, which we could see no reason to do, and as a result it topped both polls by a comfortable margin. The site announced yesterday that it had exceeded 100,000 unique visitors in April, a remarkable figure which we salute here.

Second place in both polls was a hard-fought tussle between the venerable Bella Caledonia (no.3 in last year’s SGP! vote) and fresh-faced upstart newcomer National Collective, recently thrust into prominence by legal threats from “Better Together” donor Ian Taylor. The old stager came out on top by a hair’s breadth in the “favourite” vote, and was also read by around 10% more WingsLand viewers than the young pups.

The other big player was the estimable and erudite Lallands Peat Worrier, which recorded a very respectable 4th in both polls despite a marked decrease in post frequency of late, for a variety of reasons doubtless including directing more of its focus towards the “For A’That” podcast.

Of the other sites which featured in both polls, movement was as follows, based on the more comparable “read regularly” vote rather than the “favourite” one (we also only counted sites from the top 29 of the SGP poll, as ours only had 29 places):

A Burdz Eye Viewdown 11 places (4th to 15th)
Moriduradown 4 (5th to 9th)
Gerry Hassandown 11 (joint 5th to 16th)
Better Nationdown 7 (7th to 14th)
Iain Macwhirter Now And Thenup 3 (8th to 5th)
Munguin’s Republicup 1 (9th to 8th)
Subrosadown 8 (10th to 18th)
Alex Massiedown 7 (12th to 19th)
Witterings Of A Weegiewarblerno change (17th)
Peter A Bellup 12 (19th to 7th)
Labour Hame down 4 (23rd to 27th)
A Scottish Liberalup 2 (26th to 24th)

The overall picture, then, is of a significant shift in favour of newer sites, with some of the old guard palpably running out of steam and relevance, while this year’s chart blooms with new entries – in addition to those already mentioned there were impressive placings for the radical-left Jimmy Reid Foundation, the brand-new economics-focused Business For Scotland and Peter Bell’s news aggregator Referendum 2014.

Our list also excluded sites which appear to be dormant, and as a result featured just over half as many entrants as the Scot Goes Pop! version. We’re not sure if that actually represents a consolidation of the blogosphere into fewer sites or if there are just a lot that have slipped under our radar, but it seems significant – there were only three sites regularly read by more than half of our respondents (compared to eight with over 50% last year), and only four read by more than a third (down from 17).

We should perhaps run a similar poll for official newspaper and broadcast outlets for comparison. But it does seem that readers are relying on fewer sites for their Scottish political comment and analysis, which puts extra responsibility on those at the top of the pile. Wings Over Scotland is going to have some pretty impressive readership stats for April. We’re sure we speak for Newsnet, Bella, NatCol and the Peat Worrier too when we say we’ll try to be worthy of your trust in the coming months.

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    34 to “A surprising result”

    1. Dan777A says:

      Are you saying that the scotsman employees tried to rig your poll? if so what would they gain from this?

    2. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      I’m saying that satirically, yes. See the link in the fourth paragraph.

    3. Douglas Gregory says:

      Interesting results and chortle chortle re BBC Scotlandshire!…however in reality the manipulation of the Scotsman poll is extremely disturbing stuff.
      This is yet another and this time, importantly, a quantitative example of the truth being manipulated. The question is how co-ordinated is this behavior?
       
      It’s like living in a tin-pot dictatorship.
       
       
       

    4. Rab o' Ruglen says:

      Hi Rev.,
      Is it possible that the Scotsman crew mistook BBC Scotlandshire for a genuine Unionist site?  After all some of the Scotsman’s own articles are merely parodies of BBC Scotlandshire’s own.
      Maybe they thought they were doing their duty by promoting a fellow Unionist’s site.
      Regards,

    5. Macart says:

      Soooooo Scotlandshire’s threat of legal action got to you eh? 😀

    6. MajorBloodnok says:

      They’re capable of anything at the Scotsman….
       
      By the way, would be interesting to do a similar poll of genuine Unionist blogs (if there are any).

    7. Tattie-boggle says:

      Nice to see you came to your senses over the Scotlandshiregate legal threat lol

    8. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Soooooo Scotlandshire’s threat of legal action got to you eh? :D”

      I caved in like an overcooked souffle.

    9. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “By the way, would be interesting to do a similar poll of genuine Unionist blogs (if there are any).”

      I already included all the active ones I knew in the poll.

    10. MajorBloodnok says:

      Rev Stu saidi: I already included all the active ones I knew in the poll.
       
      It just shows you: they didn’t even register with me (there being so few).  Makes you wonder why, if the Independence movement is (alleged) doing so badly in the polls, the pro-independence sites are so far ahead of anything else out there, on every level. 
       
      I’m beginiing to think that there must be something about this Scottish Independence lark that attracts a remarkably broad range of people….

    11. alasdair says:

      It would be more interesting for a ‘popular’ unionist site to conduct a similar survey and include votes cast.  You’re unlikely to get many unionists here, but I’d love to see a similar poll from them . . .

    12. Rod Macfarlane says:

      I note that my site (auldacquaintance) was left out…But I have no complaints over that, as I have been fairly inactive thus far this year. Difficult personal times causing disruption unfortunately.
      I do know that a fair number of my readers also regularly partake of Wings… So can I say that I will be back at some point, and most certainly in plenty time for the lead up to the referendum next year!
      It is encouraging to see a fair selection of well written sites in support of Independence….Strange that we cannot say the same for the Better Together mob…after all, there are far more in support of the union than independence, if the polls are to be believed 😉

    13. Macart says:

      I’m just worried that this crushing defeat for the cause of separatists in support of separation from the galactic empire will be all over Scotlandshire’s home page for the foreseeable future. 🙁
       
      Maybe they’ll be magnanimous and R. Slicker’s follow up statement will comprise half a dozen lines and be hidden under Rural news.

    14. Bobby McPherson says:

      Re yesterday’s SOS Poll. Ah couldnae quite get ma heid roon how that result could be….until ah read ‘a surprising result’ So now I know how these results (and the one where Johan lamont would make an effective first minister) are achieved – check out this poll by SOS
      http://www.scotsman.com/news/johann-lamont-denies-appeasing-snp-1-2904016?pollIdpoll_7_43729QuestionId0=1&optionValueBeforeVoting=5307&pollId=poll_7_43729&vote=true&pollIdpoll_7_43729=0&cookieSet=true
      and this: http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/7276-anger-at-text-stunt-as-better-together-acquires-personal-mobile-phone-info
      Pathological liars, better wi’oot them

    15. Mark says:

      As good as he is, I suspect many of your readers may mean they visit Iain McWhirter’s column in the Herald on a weekly basis, rather than his personal blog which is updated infrequently. Similarly, I read Peter A Bell’s excellent comments every day, and click on the many useful links he provides, but he doesn’t even post weekly articles never mind daily ones to his blog. So I suspect this poll is actually more of a popularity contest than an accurate reflection of browsing habits.

    16. GP Walrus says:

      Maybe there are so few unionist blogs because the MSM and in particular the BBC are already doing that job far better than they could.

    17. Doug Daniel says:

      “We’re not sure if that actually represents a consolidation of the blogosphere into fewer sites or if there are just a lot that have slipped under our radar”
       
      There certainly seems to be a bias towards group blogs that have a defined objective, whereas the earlier days of the Scottish political blogosphere was all about individuals giving their own commentary on things. I think these days, new writers are more likely to submit an article to an existing group blog, rather than start up their own. I think that’s good for two reasons. Firstly, it means there are fewer sites to try and keep track of, which makes it easier to keep track of the good stuff. Secondly – and maybe more importantly – it means there is less onus on bloggers to try and come up with new articles every day.
       
      As I say, this second point is perhaps the more important one, as not everyone who has the occasional brilliant insight is necessarily a budding professional writer/journalist. Far too many blogs descend into nothing more than someone trying to have an opinion on everything, as they fall into the trap of thinking that “keeping things fresh” means constant new articles, rather than making sure those articles are constantly good. (The same problem newspapers tend to face, in fact.)
       
      Far better, then, for those of us who occasionally think of something excellent to write to submit it to a group blog and let someone else decide if it’s worth publishing or not, thus keeping the overall quality of the blogosphere high. It also means your article reaches a wider audience, which is also helpful.
       
      (Obviously some people have the gift though, hence why some personal blogs remain consistently good.)

    18. Boorach says:

      Damn! Newsnet would have definitely got my first vote.
      Can I just say it’s good to see Rod Macfarlane posting a comment and know that he’s ok. Haste ye back Rod

    19. Rod Macfarlane says: Rod good to see back. Come on get “auldacquaintance” up an running again………Regards, The Tree

    20. Morag says:

      Chortle, chortle.  RevStu, you had me going at the start, there….

      Obviously there has been manipulation of the Hootsmon poll, but can we be sure it’s the paper itself that’s doing it?  I’d be astounded if it wasn’t possible to hack into something like that, or even just find some simple way of disabling whatever protocol they have to prevent mulitple voting from the same IP address.

    21. Alex mci says:

      Macart says Maybe they’ll be magnanimous and R. Slicker’s follow up statement will comprise half a dozen lines and be hidden under Rural news.

      come on Macart they don’t do news from the sticks, and I recon that you saying they do may well have some legal ramifications.
       

    22. Tom Hogg says:

      The so-called established blogs are largely worthy but dull. They are suffering the same fate as the printed media and are not learning lessons from that. Nobody wants to read 500 words anymore when 140 characters will do.

    23. scaredy cat. says:

      Don’t laugh but I was chatting to my hairdresser a couple of weeks ago and conversation came round to independence. I recommended WoS and NNS as a good place to find an alternative view to MSM. Anyway, although interested, my hairdresser was busy and couldn’t make a note of the websites. I wished I had a small business card with some useful web addresses on it, and not for the first time. I think it would be a good way to spread the word. They could be handed out virtually anywhere to anybody who seemed interested.

    24. Macart says:

      @Alex Mci
      😀 LOL
      S’right, nothing happens in the sticks and teuchters have their own channel in Garlic. Ideal page for a statement of this import.
       
      Back on topic – I’m with the major on this. There appears to be breadth and depth to the independence minded blogs which is almost completely missing on the opposition side of the fence. I suppose it could be argued that since the media and their resources are all batting for the other side they simply don’t see the need to express themselves to the same degree.

    25. Morag says:

      Scaredy Cat said:
      I wished I had a small business card with some useful web addresses on it, and not for the first time. I think it would be a good way to spread the word. They could be handed out virtually anywhere to anybody who seemed interested.

      Not hard to get such things made, or even make them yourself on your own computer.

    26. Tris says:

      Surely Morag, what happened was that central office emailed their faithful and asked them to vote on the paper’s poll to save incredible embarrassment.

    27. a supporter says:

      Well the Scotsman is well used to rigging its own polls. Why not try to rig others’

    28. Doug Daniel says:

      “The so-called established blogs are largely worthy but dull. They are suffering the same fate as the printed media and are not learning lessons from that. Nobody wants to read 500 words anymore when 140 characters will do.”
       
      222 characters. Must do better!

    29. Quinie frae Angus says:

      Have just caught up with this. Absolutely brilliant, Rev. Clever, clever satire, making a serious point about the incredibly cynical media manipulation we are having to bat off every day.
       
      The best of it is, of course, is that (some of, at least) the unionists and their media collaborators will be reading this – and be secretly raging that despite their best efforts there are superior and more passionate intellects abounding in the blogosphere….whose readerships are growing…and collating…..and…
       
      Roll on September 2014!!!!

    30. Morag says:

      Tris said:
      Surely Morag, what happened was that central office emailed their faithful and asked them to vote on the paper’s poll to save incredible embarrassment.
       
      Er, how many “faithful” do you think they have, who can actually work a computer?

    31. HandandShrimp says:

      The Scotsman is a joke and their board and polls seem to be permanently in a state of spam. That said their boards are hardly edifying reading even without the spam. The last refuge of the wing nut Tory in Scotland
       
      I mean that in a caring way obviously 🙂

    32. Cath says:

      The unionist crowing has started already
      http://www.bbc.scotlandshire.co.uk/index.php/shorts.html

    33. Macart says:

      @Cath
       
      Ye see? I warned him this would happen. 😀

    34. Gordon says:

      Very interesting overall, and from a personal perspective, given that Business for Scotland had only been publicly launched about two weeks before the poll I am delighted to have received any votes at all, never mind over a hundred.
      The quality of the blogs at the top of the list, Newsnet, Bella and Wings as well, set the bar high and gives us a target to aim at. thanks for putting us in the poll.
      Gordon



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