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State of Flow: Sad and Disappointing::journal

Sad and Disappointing

Channing Walton - Sunday April 30, 2006

Its sad and pathetic when people feel the need to take something fun and lighthearted and subvert it for their own commercial gain, particularly when they rely so heavily on the community they are attacking.

I wrote the SwitchUnit plugin because I thought it would be useful. I was delighted to see that a lot of people agreed, I have received a great deal of positive feedback and helpful suggestions for new features.

I published the plugin on Eclipse Plugin Central which has a simple voting system to rate plugins. After 10 votes a plugin becomes eligible for entry into the charts. This is not a serious ranking, its a bit of fun. Most people that use plugins don’t bother to vote and I suspect most plugin authors don’t really care one way or the other if people vote for their plugins. Thats how I feel, I am more interested in providing a useful tool and giving something back to Eclipse.

Obviously, when SwitchUnit went to the top of the charts after just 10 votes I was pleased, who wouldn’t be. I didn’t seriously expect it to stay at the top, its not perfect.

Imagine my disappointment then when an anonymous voter gave SwitchUnit a vote of 1/10 thus removing it from the top spot. SwitchUnit does not deserve a vote of 1/10, its a good plugin, its does what it claims to and no one has reported any bugs yet. If the voter seriously had a problem with it they could have contacted me and I would have been very happy to give assistance. But instead they chose to vote anonymously and give absolutely no reason why.

There have been accusations in the past about malicious voting which I naively hope isn’t true but its the only conclusion I can come to. In fact, I expected it before it happened which is doubly disappointing.

But there is evidence of malicious voting. The vote for 1/10 for SwitchUnit occurred on 2006-04-29 13:42:29. Another plugin, Eclipse Messenger, which would have gone straight to the top of the charts also received a 1/10 at 2006-04-29 13:39:31, a couple of minutes before my vote.

Draw your own conclusions.

  1. Fred Grott    Sunday May 7, 2006

    You are back at 10.. shssh!!

    (aka shareme)

  2. lkoe    Thursday February 22, 2007

    I see this pattern regularly too on “my” plugin, eclipse-cs.
    After getting a couple of honest 8/9/10 votes and thus moving up the ranking, once reaching a certain point I am 100% predestined to get a 1 or 2 voting next.
    See here

    The tipping point always seems to be when overtaking one of the top commercial offerings.

    Maybe it would be best to seperate commercial and non-commercial rankings…

  3. Donald Smith    Thursday February 22, 2007

    Please use the “contact us” link on EPIC if you spot any voting irregularities.

    The EPIC committers would also welcome suggestions on how to implement fair and open voting/rankings. You can open a bug or email phoenix-epic-dev which it at

    – Don
  4. Alex    Wednesday April 18, 2007

    Eclipse messenger is just cool. we use it a lot. I think the problem that it is difficult to configure, may be the programmer had no time for a simple screen :)