~ posted by Robert Butler, July 6th 2012
The five articles about the current Big Question—what is the best sport?—are now online: you can read the case for football, athletics, cricket, equestrianism and baseball. If you don't want to vote for one of the five suggested by our writers, you can suggest your own. Hockey, pickleball, American football, judo, rogaining, tennis, golf, hurling and ice hockey are all attracting support.
Voting began two weeks ago. For a week and a half, football was in the lead and then, at 11.18pm on Tuesday, Scott (a reader) posted a note on the discussion forum of an orienteering website called Nopesport. "'Orienteering'", he noted, "currently has one vote." Orienteers must be a loyal and nocturnal bunch because by 6.48am on Wednesday oo-wrong-way noted on the same discussion forum that "orienteering has lots of votes". But oo-wrong-way was quick to point out a tactical error: quite a few orienteers were adding their own reasons ("It combines elements of stamina with deductive reasoning through map-reading") and each reason created a new entry, which was splitting the vote. Oo-wrong-way urged his fellow orienteers: "Just enter Orienteering and our sport will climb the charts".
He was right. By 9.31am, denzil53 said "Orienteering is now up to 5th position." By 4.18pm the next day, Scott wrote, "Orienteering is now in the lead." He added a smiley face. This was an expression that Scott was keen to maintain. He went on:
It appears to be restricted to one vote per IP address. Not that I could conceive of anybody here doing anything so nefarious as voting more than once, but if you were to do so you'd need to use different computers, or the same computer on different internet connections...
Hmmm. Not everyone is convinced that orienteering is a sport. Some find it hard to imagine that deductive reasoning through map-reading could be a core skill in a sport. One reason, perhaps, why orienteering has not been included in the Olympics. And there's an argument too that orienteering should be split into four categories: foot orienteering, mountain-bike orienteering, ski orienteering and trail orienteering.
But if orienteers were to vote multiple times using different computers or the same computer on different internet connections, their sporting credentials would be even harder to prove. Every game has its rules—even when they aren't always spelt out.
Robert Butler is online editor of Intelligent Life