by Deanna Darr
We can rebuild it, we have the technology. We have the capability to make the valley's best "Best of" survey even better. Best of Boise will be that survey. Better than it was before: Better, stronger, faster.
In fact, we did rebuild the venerable Best of Boise with the help of a little technology. Don't get us wrong, BoB retains the quintessential essence that has made it Boise Weekly's most anticipated issue of the year--all that tongue-in-cheek humor, sarcasm and insight that has always set it apart from the imitators--but this year, BoB got an upgrade with a little help from the team at Urban Chalk.
While voting has been done online-only for years, this time around, the system included lists of local businesses competing in each category, the ability to vote from your smartphone by scanning a QR code and a chance for businesses to manage their own accounts and images.
This year, 3,864 readers cast their ballots--a number that would have been even higher if some voters hadn't missed the part about having to validate their accounts through their email so we could ensure they weren't robots sent to overthrow humanity. And then there were the voters who neglected to read the part in the instructions about having to answer at least 15 questions.
Regardless of what system we use, a few people always think they can beat it and do some serious ballot-stuffing. In fact, early in the BoB voting process, some locals were bragging about how easy it was to beat the system.
Sorry to burst your ballot-stuffing bubble, but we have measures in place to not only identify ballot stuffing but to eliminate those votes without the stuffers ever knowing about it.
Some businesses may think they have the inside track on the final results by looking at their account pages at Urban Chalk. Well, sorry again, but those vote totals are a little misleading. First, they do not take into account those votes that were disqualified for either ballot stuffing or for failure to validate accounts. Second, Urban Chalk is a year-round website, while we only count votes received during a specific time period for Best of Boise.
The only way to know the true winners is right here in the final results of Best of Boise.
While we have put a lot of focus on the new-and-improved aspects of BoB, we have taken a step into the past for one aspect of the edition--namely, the fact that it's one edition rather than two. For the last several years, we've split Staff Picks and Readers' Choice into two separate issues published over two consecutive weeks.
This time, though, we decided to put all the BoB goodness in a single issue. In these pages, you'll find both the winners from our readers' poll as well as a few Staff Picks selected by the BW editorial team for some special recognition.
You'll also notice the return of our awards for those winners who have landed on the top of the heap for five or 10 consecutive years. While most winners with these badges actually fall somewhere around those marks, we only dole out the awards in five-year increments.
Under all the bells and whistles, Best of Boise is ultimately an issue created by the city and its residents. And while a lot has changed in the Treasure Valley over the years, Best of Boise remains the original "best of" in the valley, and, may we humbly add, the best.