*by Sasha*

The first thing to say about this: you don’t need Facebook!

The second thing: you don’t have to be in Canada to vote!

The third thing… well, time to give you the details…

Nature’s Bounty, a long-established manufacturer of vitamins and food supplements, is running an online voting contest for Canadian charities. The National ME/FM Action Network has entered.

The Action Network is probably best-known internationally for spearheading the development of the Canadian Consensus Criteria.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of rigorous diagnostic criteria in this disease: we all owe the Action Network a debt for this contribution to diagnosis and research. The Network also hosted the 2011 IACFS/ME Conference in Ottawa. But as well as these international achievements, for the past twenty years the Action Network has supported patients through advocacy, education, information, and promoting research. It’s the main charity for the 750,000 people in Canada with ME or FM.

So it’s well worth supporting the Action Network in the contest. The top three winners will get $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 respectively. Of the remaining charities, three will be chosen at random to each win $5,000. US dollars and Canadian dollars are worth the same: $20,000 is about £13,000 or 15,000 Euros. That would be a considerable boost to any national ME/FM charity.

Voting opens on Tuesday, 26 February, and continues with one vote allowed per day until Friday, 29 March.

At the time of writing, voting instructions have not appeared but if you go to the Nature’s Bounty contest webpage, all should become clear on the day.

There’s a big push behind the Action Network for this contest: a team of supporters has already been posting widely on the net to drum up support. Let’s help them win.

**Got any questions?** We’ve got a thread for that! The competition looks straightforward but the first post in this thread will be updated with instructions and help if any problems emerge.

**Have you heard about other contests?** Many, many small prize contests are announced in local papers, on the radio, and so on. If you notice any, please message helen41 so that she and the fundraising team can look into them. Every dollar helps!

{ 328 comments… read them below or add one }

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Just voted!

Got to keep voting to be in with a chance for one of the runner up prizes!!!

REACH FOR THE RAINBOW ONTARIO 64787Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society 62526MOUNTAINAIRE AVIAN RESCUE SOCIETY 28334NATIONAL ME/FM ACTION NETWORK 27255SALTHAVEN WILDLIFE REHABILITATION AND EDUCATION CENTRE INC. 14166GGDidn't know there was a runner up prize. What is it?

GG

Last day of voting (phew!) and we're still about 1,000 behind but, fat lady etc. and I hope there will be vote-cleaning before the prizes are awarded – we have sent screenshots of people cheating so that will be interesting!

REACH FOR THE RAINBOW ONTARIO64822Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society62758MOUNTAINAIRE AVIAN RESCUE SOCIETY28460NATIONAL ME/FM ACTION NETWORK27493SALTHAVEN WILDLIFE REHABILITATION AND EDUCATION CENTRE INC.14213Once 1st, 2nd and 3rd are awarded, the remaining charities are put in a pool and three are drawn out at random to get $5,000 each. Their chances are in proportion to the votes they got and we have about 1/9 of the total vote (once you take out the top three) so we've got roughly a 1/3 chance of winning $5k even if we're not placed third.

I made my final votes earlier. Yesterday we dropped back a couple hundred votes and the birds went up a hundred, so we feel couple hundred votes farther behind them. Reach for the Rainbow went up over 1700 votes, so they must not have been voting for us too.

There is going to be a drawing for one or more additional prizes, with each vote representing and entry in the drawing. It looks like we will have about a 5% chance in that drawing.

I think it's about a 33% chance – they remove the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place votes – a few days ago when I calculated it, we had about 1/9 of the remaining votes – and then there are 3 draws so we've got a 1/9 + 1/9 + 1/9 chance = 1/3.

Last vote. Haven't voted for the RFTRO – they don't need it, don't think they've voted for us but not bothered really – its a good cause. You never know the birds may have been cheating and we could still be in the money.

I wasn't able to vote just now. The website is unresponsive. Are we supposed to be able to vote through the rest of today?

EDIT: Okay, it's fixed now. Last vote in.

Pedantic probability point: I think that's not quite the right calculation. Assuming three separate draws, with the winners on the first two draws removed from subsequent draws, the probability of winning on the second and third draws has to also include the probability of failing on the first and second. So it should be like this:

1/9 +

( 8/9 * 1/9 ) +

( 8/9 * 8/9 * 1/9 )

I make that about 0.299, or a little less than 30%

That's still not exactly right because you also have to take out the votes for the charities that win the first and second and don't get included in the next draw, so the rightmost 3 of those fractions above need to be adjusted depending on who wins. But it would be horribly complicated to include the spread of the other votes in the calculation and it probably makes only a marginal difference on the end result. It should increase the chances

veryslightly, so I think the best estimate of the chance of winning on the draw is about 30%.I used to have a mathematical mind, before ME/CFS high jacked my brain but for the subsequent 2nd and third draw wouldn't the odds be effected depending of which charity is picked and how many votes they had?

Yup, that's what I was trying to get at by saying it would be a complicated calculation, because I

thinkyou'd have to consider the distribution of the rest of the votes amongst the charities. For instance, if the 5th place charity won on the first draw, then the one in 4th now has a considerably higher proportion of the remaining votes than before, so a better chance on the next draw. Theremightbe something that cancels out here so you don't have to consider the distribution to get the correct probability, but I'm not quite sure how that part works. I suspect the effect of that is somewhere in the decimal places of the calculation anyway. Been thinking about it a bit as it's an interesting puzzle, but I should be doing other things really.Mark and Neilk o_O:eek: even when I was well maths was always my worst subject – my brain just frazzled….

Close to a one in three chance is pretty good. Lets hope for the best. I think the draw is a month from now but I read the rules a couple weeks ago so could be wrong.

Huh, 1/3 = 33%, so if you drop more groups out, shouldn't the percentage increase and not decrease?

GG

April 24th is when they announce the winners.

EACH FOR THE RAINBOW ONTARIO 71796Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society 67820MOUNTAINAIRE AVIAN RESCUE SOCIETY 29897NATIONAL ME/FM ACTION NETWORK 28408SALTHAVEN WILDLIFE REHABILITATION AND EDUCATION CENTRE INC. 14918GGNot sure when this actually ends, I think it is 3/30 and i just voted, or at least I think I did?! So lets keep voting!!Oops, :redface: I forgot to subtract out the votes for the winners. I did not know how many draws there are to be. 1/3 is much better than 1/20.

I just voted and it counted it, so, yes, keep voting.

Sushi

The Charities page says “Vote for your favourite charity between February 26th and March 29th, 2013”, yet it let me vote today (March 30th).

Voted! Maybe they extended it a bit due to the site being down a bit yesterday.

Weird – I just voted too. It's 9am in the UK and 2am in Vancouver – I wonder if their tech person is in bed and hasn't switched it off!

REACH FOR THE RAINBOW ONTARIO71804Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society67958MOUNTAINAIRE AVIAN RESCUE SOCIETY29921NATIONAL ME/FM ACTION NETWORK28446SALTHAVEN WILDLIFE REHABILITATION AND EDUCATION CENTRE INC.14935Still taking votes – hope they're not rejected!

The contest is now closed, results will be posted on April 24th.

the message says that now VOTES ARE BEING REVIEWED. So thats good, as it sounds like there will be a correction of the votes. lets hope we gain a place.

Removing the votes of the winners on the first two rounds does increase the percentage chance very slightly, as I've mentioned a couple of times, but I think the effect would be very small and I still haven't figured out how you would calculate that.

But the 1/3 is based on a common error in probability: simply adding 1/9 + 1/9 + 1/9 is wrong. Instead you have to combine the probability of

losingon the first draw with winning on the second, and losing on the first and second with winning on the third.So, overall probability of winning is:

p(Win on 1st Round)

OR

p(Lose on 1st Round) AND p(Win on 2nd Round)

OR

p(Lose on 1st Round) AND p(Lose on 2nd Round) AND p(Win on 3rd Round).

Which equals:

1/9

+

8/9 * 1/9

+

8/9 * 8/9 * 1/9

As mentioned, the three fractions on the right of the above need to adjust very slightly (in our favour) based on the expectation of the number of votes removed from the hat when the 1st and 2nd rounds are won. But I think that will be a very small effect, adding 0.1 or so to the overall probability.

A couple of ways to help understand/persuade people of the fallacy of calculating this as 1/9 + 1/9 + 1/9.

1. What if there were 9 draws? If this method worked, then you would have a probability of 1, i.e. certain success. So clearly it doesn't work that way.

2. Calculate the probability of

notwinning any of the draws: disregarding the votes removed for the winners of the first two rounds, that would be 8/9 * 8/9 * 8/9 = 70.23%. So the probability of winning one of the draws is 1 – 0.723 = 29.77%.As I said above, you can add a little to that 29.77% for the expected size of the votes removed from the first two winners, but I don't think that would take it much above 30%. I haven't yet worked out the best way to include that effect in the calculation, but I think it must be based on the known probability distribution of the votes for the remaining charities.

I think you just gave ma a headache!

GG

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