Some weeks it's tough to decide on a topic to fill this space. Other times, topics come to you. This is one of the latter type of weeks.

Occasionally, our news coverage hits a nerve with one -- and sometimes several -- of our readers. Apparently, we hit one last week by simply asking a question. For those of you unfamiliar with our poll, each week we conduct an entirely unscientific online survey to gauge the opinions of our readers, and we normally post the results in an e-newsletter that is published every Friday.

Last week, our online poll asked people to give their opinion on the renewal of the contract through 2010 of American Institute of CPAs' chief executive Barry Melancon, which we reported on earlier this month. The poll asked whether people were happy, unhappy, or had no reaction. As I mentioned, it's an unscientific survey -- any one who visits the Web site can vote.

Some of you may have noticed that we didn't publish the poll results. That's because when we checked them last week, we noticed something odd -- the number of responses to the survey was more than triple the number that we typically receive. So we took a closer look at the results and found that someone went to the trouble of deleting the cookie and re-voting -- nearly 400 times over a four-hour period at a rather late hour of the evening -- just to sway the results of a poll that has no scientific basis (Yes, we can and do check that sort of thing).

So, to answer those of you who have e-mailed us to inquire, those poll results will not be published. I have to say, it was pretty shocking that someone felt that strongly about securing the outcome they believed was the right one. But it was a reminder to us that our readers have strong opinions that they are willing, and often more than eager, to share.

We value our readers' input. It lets us know whether you think we're doing our job -- which is to cover issues that are important to members of the profession. However, we prefer that you express your feelings in ways other than tampering with our weekly poll. Letters to the editor are always welcome. Please feel free to drop us a line.

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