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It’s taken us six years, but Triad City Beat is finally getting into the readers’ poll game.

It’s an altweekly standard, a fantastic resource that readers can use all year long and a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the people, places and things that make our cities what they are.

We’re calling it Best of the Beat, with apologies to Offbeat Publisher Jan Ramsey, and as always, we’re doing things a little differently than people might be used to.

We envision the Best of the Beat to be more of a bracket-type contest. As opposed to just dumping the whole thing out at once, we’re beginning with a poll centered on Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Early next year we will do a poll for Guilford County and the cities of Greensboro and High Point. And then, in the fall of 2021, our winners and new nominees will face off in the Best of the Triad edition.

This process allows us to really center on the cities in our coverage area, which exist fairly independently of each other, and give more places an opportunity to win.

We’re doing things a little differently on the back end, too.

As with all readers’ polls, we encourage campaigning in storefront windows and on social media (email me for more info on that). But unlike so many clickbait Best of competitions, we allow each reader to vote once — not once an hour, not once a day, but just once per email in the nomination phase, and again in the final voting. Sure, you can gin up a bunch of fake emails and use them to vote a bunch of times, but trust me on this: I will know, and I will have the power to invalidate your votes.

Because if the numbers are skewed, what’s the point?

And I know from running projects like this in my previous job that readers sometimes don’t pay attention to details. So, the list must be curated to ensure that the Best New Restaurant is indeed a new restaurant, that the Best Original Band is not, in fact, a cover band, that the Best Hair Stylist winner gives a nod to the salon where they work.

We’re striving for accuracy and usefulness, as well as transparency in the process so you can trust the results.

As I’ve mentioned Winston-Salem/Forsyth nominations are open now at best-of-the-triad.com. We’d appreciate your input as we search for the Best of the Beat.

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