Last week, Time asked its readers to help choose the magazine's 2012 Person of the Year. Among the suggestions is "undocumented immigrants," a group that influenced a major immigration policy decision this year and, to a degree, even the election.
At first, a majority of readers issued a thumbs-down. But soon the tables turned, with undocumented immigrants - who like last year's "The Protester" were nominated as a group - now close to the top of the Time list.
How they got there is a story in itself: "Undocumented immigrants" had been steadily moving up the list since Time first posted the entry on Nov. 26, with a growing number of "definitely" votes as the story circulated. Then the digital pranksters known as 4Chan - who had already pushed North Korea's Kim Jong Un to the top of the list as a joke - set about on another gag involving the letter "U."
This ABC story explained how it would work:
The goal is to spell out, "KJU Gas Chambers," which reportedly refers to Camp 22, a concentration camp near the border of Russia and China where prisoners are believed to be killed in gas chambers. That means that if 4channers are successful, "undocumented immigrants" would move to third on the list. Last week, "undocumented immigrants" ranked in the middle of the list, and they moved up to fourth place.
Now "undocumented immigrants" are in third place on the list, although they had already made it pretty far without the help of 4Chan. Time has them at 673,891 "definitelys" vs. 74,346 "no ways," with voting ending Dec. 12.
And then there's the other poll: Ours. In a post last week, we asked M-A readers to provide their own opinions in poll form as to whether Time should name undocumented immigrants as Person of the Year, comments optional. The results:
1) Yes. They have definitely influenced the news this year. (71.13%/69 votes)
2) No. There are worthier individuals and groups. (18.56%/18 votes)
3) Maybe. They figure importantly in public policy discussions, but so did others. (7.22%/7 votes)
Two people voted "I don't know" and one voted "other."