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Merriam-Webster launches 'Word of the Year' online poll

It's almost like they're asking for trouble.

Merriam-Webster Online, the electronic version of the venerable dictionary, announced on Monday that it will be determining the top ten "Words of the Year" for 2006 by a new method: an online poll.

In the past, Merriam-Webster has determined the year-end list by analyzing page hits and popular searches, but this year, it has opened up the field to suggestions from site visitors. A press release from the dictionary publisher has announced that visitors are "free to be creative" and that submissions that might not actually be in the dictionary are welcome.

I can only hope that the folks at Merriam-Webster have thoroughly contemplated the risks of making decisions via open online voting. It might be worth their time to call up the Hungarian government officials who are in charge of the construction of the .