The How and Why of Best of Boise 

The first edition of Best of Boise was published in 1994. Fifteen editions later (we skipped Best of Boise in 2000 and 2001), I still find myself fielding the occasional brow-furrowing, head-shaking question. Do advertisers pay to get a Best of Boise Staff Pick? Nope. Do only advertisers get to compete in the Readers' Choice competition? Nope. Those are the most frustrating questions to hear. A sample of the more understandable include: 1. Why are non-local businesses excluded? 2. Why do I have to answer a minimum number of questions on the survey? 3. How do you prevent cheating? 4. What do I have to do to win in a Readers' Choice award?

And in order:

1. Boise Weekly is almost entirely locally focused in our content choices regarding business. Notice we never review big-box chain restaurants? We believe in highlighting what is best about Boise, rather than what is best about Boise and the 35 cities a chain or franchise also calls home.

2. We ask that a minimum number of questions are answered on a ballot to deter ballot stuffing. And come on, if you can't think of 20 things you really dig about Boise, maybe it's time you moved. Just sayin'.

3. Ah ... cheating, aka ballot stuffing. We did have a major case of ballot stuffing this year. You know who you are, we know who you are, and we're disappointed in you. We don't screw around with certain common online polling tools because we have a super-duper balloting system made specifically for alt weekly "Best of" polling. We call it simply "the tool," and it's designed with ballot stuffers in mind. Every vote submitted by the offending stuffers was tossed out. As for future instances, I offer only this: Play by the rules or don't play at all.

4. Finally, how do you win? We've never been shy to admit that Best of Boise is a popularity contest. Be really good at whatever it is you do, and readers will notice. Wage a solid Best of Boise campaign during voting, and readers will notice.

Congratulations to this year's winners, particularly to those who are making milestone appearances this year. The people and places who are taking first place for the 10th year are marked with badges throughout this issue. If you don't know them, check 'em out; they're obviously doing something right.

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