Controversy Over Sketchbattle Voting Results

D.J. Coffman had been participating in SketchBattle (a site that pits artists against each other, winner by votes moving on to the next round).

Apparently he had been having issues with the administrator of SketchBattle who, while welcoming the additional traffic coming from Coffman’s popular website, did not grasp the concept that a popular artist may have a good change of winning a popular vote against lesser known entrants.

Coffman blogs today that he dropped out of SketchBattle Season 3 after the Admin of the competition admitted in an IM conversation with him to changing the vote totals during and after the contest. Coffman posts his evidence, including screenshots and transcripts, here.

UPDATE: An actual discussion of this is still up on the forums at SketchBattle. The co-administrator of the site who played around with the vote tallies (he helpfully explains how he altered the number in the MySQL database) strikes me as pretty dense about how damaging his behavior is to the integrity and reputation of his site. His other co-administrator seems to get it, although hoping there’s no hard feeling between them and Coffman seems to be far too little, far too late. Also Coffman here posts a final thought on the episode.




  1. Definitely “teh drama” but also news. Especially on the Internet, if you’re running a contest of any sort you have to be scrupulous about not only having the utmost integrity but you also have to have the appearance of having that integrity.

    Hopefully the SketchBattle folks will learn from this and take some kind of affirmative step to demonstrate to the public that it won’t and can’t happen again.

  2. X is right about that. I suspect the Sketchbattle folks are going to find out that a bad reputation is far harder to shake off once it’s been blown open.

    Even after so many years on, Sean Howard is STILL known as “the guy who tried to sue PA over sprites” even though the actual story was a lot more convoluted. Similarly, I suspect SketchBattle is going to be tagged as “The vote site where the admin tampered with the votes” for some time to come.

    It doesn’t matter whether the tampering affected the final outcome or not. The issue here is: that tampering should have never been allowed at all. Period.

    By the way, using “u r a girl” as an insult sure is a great way to alienate the female audience.

  3. I agree. It may not exactly have been handled in the best possible way. I’ll say that. But as it was just said, it’s still a fair competition, the alteration did not effect the final tally of votes. Was this test of whether DJ was cheating or not a mistake? Possibly, but certainly not one worthy of this much arguing and controversy. And it’s not as though this were a hidden thing that had been going on for some time. It was a first-time thing and all the information and reasoning behind it was admitted.

  4. oh crap! Girls read webcomics too!? Why didn’t anyone WARN ME

    *starts mass deleting comics*

  5. Oh well, my webcomic description over at the BCX top #100 was overdue for a change. Unite, senile wecomicking ladies!

    On a side note, SketchBattle is a cool idea, I wouldn’t give it for dead just because this guy was dumb and arrogant.


  6. I personally trust Sambro, but it seems some people will have trouble doing that. So, I’ll assume they’ll trust what Deemo says, since his credibility should still be untouched in most people’s eyes.

    Deemo said, “The totals of battles have never been altered before this date bar the alterations made to remove votes from antibattles.

    I’m willing to say that we fucked up in this situation. As people have said before, we weren’t used to the relatively large readership Yirmumah has been sending over. Apologies to Yirmumah, so far as I can tell he’s a cool guy. I hope there’s no hard feelings.

    In our defense though, the vote shuffling really did not make any difference to the totals. Sambro didn’t actually change the outcome of the battle, although I can understand how that could be infered.”

    I’m going to keep on believing that Sketchbattle is a perfectly fair competition, and nothing can convince me otherwise.

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