Thursday, April 08, 2010

because that's what the engineer Barbie would've done

I am amused by this Wall Street Journal article (sent to me by JKL) about the recent computer-engineer Barbie:

Barbie's maker, Mattel Inc., thought it would be interesting to ask young girls who visited the Web site to vote on what the doll's next career should be. Mattel gave them a choice of architect, anchorwoman, computer engineer, environmentalist and surgeon. All told, more than 600,000 votes were cast during a four-week period this past winter.

The voting was open to anyone, and nobody could vote more than once. But by the end of the first week, a growing flood of adult votes for computer engineer Barbie trumped the popular choice. Female computer engineers who learned about the election launched a viral campaign on the Internet to get out the vote and ensure Barbie would join their ranks.

How did they ensure that nobody could vote more than once? Only allowing one vote per IP address? Requiring registration using an email address, with a confirmation check?

I sincerely hope that the result was not due to a grass roots campaign by female computer engineers across the country. I hope that it was due to a single female computer engineer writing a script to vote 300,000 times, using tor to route the votes to come from different IP origins, and automatically submitting the registration form using throwaway mailinator accounts.


JKL said...

LOL! Great blog post title too.

Awesome, the first time I've been referenced - now I know what my anonymous Niniane pseudonym is. :)

Neoncow said...


Couldn't have been programmers finding the idea hilarious/awesome. ;)


Seriously, though. Most of us would love to have more female engineers.

Jean-Marc Liotier said...

I have no idea about a campaign by female computer engineers, but I can tell that many male computer engineers like me loved the idea and pushed it. Considering the Barbie stereotype, the idea was indeed both hilarious and awesome at the same time - if a computer engineer Barbie can even marginally nudge our daughters into believing they can be computer engineers and sexy too, that is more social progress than in Barbie's entire career so far. But a Barbie script kiddie rigging the vote is even better than that - politically incorrect grassroots girl empowerment !

Tim said...

So was it you?

Niniane said...


gih said...

ahaha. and so why it is so?

just a peasant said...

LOL! You are so funny! :)

writer said...

There was a large campaign over on Reddit there when it happened. Maybe there were simultaneous ones on Digg or something too.