15 minute Match Updates were first put to use by solarshadow during the 2002 Summer Contest, when he (with some help) tracked all 24 hours of the Cloud vs Pikachu poll. Although update topics popped up here and there over the next two years (such as Link/Mario in '02 and Mario/Crono in '03), no concerted effort at tracking results was made until the Spring of 2004, when Ngamer's nightly update topics resulted in a strong (though not complete) collection of vote updates. The tracking system was automated and eventually perfected later that year by creativename and his ingenious update script, effectively taking the manual labor out of the job.
Currently there is a debate between those who favor 5 minute updates and those who prefer the traditional 15. 5 minutes might yield greater accuracy, but purists believe that numbers every 15 minutes make it much easier to spot voting trends. Although gamefaqscontests.com has largely rendered update topics pointless, they still pop up from time to time during heated matchups, as witnessed during the truly hilarious first few hours of CATS vs Ansem.
Update Topics Edit
There are many who feel that update topics need to return to Board 8 on a permanent basis, as they were effective at buffering hundreds of "OMG Mario up 23 that update!" posts that now end up in the Stats Topics, and other places on the board. Stats becomes especially update-swamped during any relatively close matchup. Also, update topics are generally considered more convenient and better-formatted than the raw numbers available at gamefaqscontests.com.
If you would like to create an update topic, you can easily do so by making use of the Match Updates Excel file creative has developed. You simply enter both character names and the current totals as found on gamefaqscontests.com, and the program automatically generates a topic title, all vote updates, and the most current statistics for you to paste. On days when a heated match is taking place, there could not be an easier way to stake a 500 post topic to your name.