I’ve been experimenting with a little online voting game, loosely called Moneybutt. The idea is very simple. You are presented with pictures of two entities and choose which one you prefer. Simple, but mildly addictive (and for some people, life-destroyingly addictive). These are brief notes on the games to track some of the development.

Links to the latest games are at http://owlmelon.com/moneybutt

Ass Smackdown (Oct 7-8 2005), 27,000+ votes

Moneyball is a book about the A’s and their embrace of nontraditional logical analysis of baseball. This first version was a faux-scientific approach to figuring out the cutest A’s player. This simple hack took a couple of hours.


Response was frightening and overwhelming. I was expecting on the order of 1,000 votes, not 27,000+. Luckily, I had implemented file locking (sort of as a private joke) and there was no data loss despite many simultaneous hits.

Ass Smackdown FINALS, (Oct 8 2005) ~10,000 votes

I ran a second round among the top ten vote getters. The first round was a little unfair because I kept adding entities from suggestions at AN and diluting the pool so late entries got rated higher than the first entries who had to fight each other’s hot pictures. Watching the voting, it was clear that people were stuffing the ballot for their favorites (which is really funny). It was also clear that many people really liked contributing different pictures of their favorites.

New Features

Hinderlord Smackdown (Nov 4 - Nov 7 2005), ~70,000 votes

New Features

It’s funny how a feature that takes a ton of time to sort out (comparing voting patterns across users) can be treated with mild indifference while a feature that takes ten minutes to add (named voting levels for every 50 votes) can send the addictive quality into hyperspace. To my amazement, people were actually competing to (1) be the top voter, and (2) see how many levels they could go up. Four times I had to add a whole new bunch of levels to cope (I didn’t think I needed more than 10 levels for 500 votes, which I based on Unreal Tournament effects (voting spree! voting domination! M-M-MONSTER VOTE! etc.). I was completely wrong. Some voters exceeded 4,000 votes.

I couldn’t keep up with the volume of suggested entities and pictures, and the system for adding entities and pictures was very unwieldy.

I was very curious what would happen if I let users submit entities and pictures. This led to…

Hinder Pot Luck (Nov 11 - Nov 14 2005), 84,000+ votes

New Features

Explosion of creativity once people got the hang of it. I intended for no overlap with the last few smackdowns, but people couldn’t resist adding some A’s players, which was actually a good idea.

This was by far the most enjoyable for me as a participant, as there were cute women submitted, lots of funny surprises for me (e.g. I loved the Dancing Superheroes and the Grilled Cheese Virgin Mary) and I didn’t have to any data entry.

Fans generated two threads on AN discussing Moneybutt. When it became clear that people really enjoyed griping about tough choices, that led me to making Painful Choices come up on purpose.

I’m looking forward to the next round… I’ve got an idea for cool visualizing of how your votes relate to others, and other random ideas. I think people like chatting about how people look on pictures and of course they enjoy getting more powers as they go up levels. I have ideas for ‘bonuses’ they can use on things like attaching comments to pictures and other little rewards for voting. Etc etc. But for now, I’ll relax and enjoy how far Moneybutt has come from a little hack.