It's Back ...

It's Back ...

It's Back ...

Political commentary and more.
Jan. 1 2001 5:19 AM

It's Back ...

Just when you were least expecting it ... the Hit-Grabbing Haiku Contest is back!

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It had seemed like a good idea when it was announced, almost a year ago. Let's discover which words best attract Web surfers by staging a cheesy contest! Add a veneer of redeeming cultural merit by requiring that the words be put into classic haiku form--three lines of five, seven, and five syllables. And the contest initially seemed a success. Some 100 aspiring haiku came zipping in to kausfiles' laptop.

Then ... nothing. Months passed. The human genome was decoded. The votes were counted. And recounted. But still, silence. The editor of kausfiles was suspected of indolence, but in fact he was reeling under a barrage of technical questions. The plan had been to just post poems on separate pages on the kausfiles.com site, and see which pages got more visits. But Web experts raised suspicions about what such a contest would prove. Would the pages ever be listed on any search engines? Is kausfiles even crawled by search engine spiders? Even if it is, how many hits can you attract by being the 55 millionth link listed for "Britney Spears"? How could such a contest be staged, anyway, without allowing participants to rig the game by repeatedly hitting their own haiku? What if the number of hits is affected by something as simple as which poem appears first on the site?

The kausfiles board of directors retreated. They began to doubt themselves. And then they decided toignore the naysayers! Two factors helped change their minds: 1) The large volume of entries submitted in good faith, some of which have something approaching actual literary merit; and 2) the results of an initial test, in which two competing poems were secretly posted on the kausfiles.com site. The poems did, it turned out, attract a number of hits greater than zero. More important, they attracted different numbers of hits. One poem won.

True, neither haiku attracted many hits, but did that matter? So this is a low-scoring contest, like a baseball game! The other technical problems, too, seem to melt away with further thought.

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Is the kausfiles.com site crawled? Yes!

What does it mean if one poem attracts more hits? Who knows? It means the poem wins the contest.

How does a poem attract hits? Figuring that out is your problem, not mine.

What good does it do to be the 55 millionth Web page listed for "Britney"? It may not do much good at all. Maybe it would better to be the 25th link that pops up for "Turkish origami." This is one of the many subtle strategic choices entrants must make.

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So the contest is back on. That means each week two poems will be posted somewhere on my site. After a week, the order of the poems will be reversed, and then they'll be left up for another week. At that point I'll look at my stats program and see which haiku has been hit on more often. The winning poem will remain on the site; the losing poem will be replaced by a new challenger--and so on, in single-elimination, death-match fashion until eventually it's time to declare an overall winner.

The action so far? Kausfiles' own, proprietary entry

'N Sync sex! Linux

Operating System! Kate

Winslet nude stock tips!

was defeated, 22-19, by the forceful, if somewhat traditional, challenger submitted by kausfiles reader "S" of Alaska:

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Britney Spears naked

Pamela Anderson Lee

Free money sex teen

Next week, our new champion haiku will be matched against an evocative entry from "P" of New York:

Restaurant War: Sex

Sirens Gwyneth, Madonna

eat, drink, scream, sob, kiss.

Color commentary: The challenger's last line is actually good, but "good" may not count for beans in this league! And neither entry pursues the revolutionary "Turkish origami" strategy. But the contest isn't over till it's over!

Start your engines.