Polls!

edited September 2015 in Forum Feedback
There have been quite a few occasions that i've thought polls might be a good feature to have on here.

For one thing i know there are a fair few lurkers who might agree / disagree with some of the stuff that gets written, but don't necessarily want to write anything.  

So today i decided to make a poll system that should work here. It's pretty simple to use, you just post a picture and some links. Here is an example:

Normally you'd put the results image off the screen so people would scroll to see it thereby not skewing their choice..

so you get the results by inserting this image:
poll.wha.la/results.png
  like this:



Then you create options by making links like this:

What's your favourite colour?

click here for red:
http://poll.wha.la/vote/red

Click here for blue:
http://poll.wha.la/vote/blue 

Click here for yellow:
http://poll.wha.la/vote/yellow 

i thought you could make just the option words links on this forum which would make it look a bit neater, but it will work the same with the links being written out like that.

You can have as many options as you like, but if you go beyond about 20 the graph gets  bit big.

Any feedback would be appreciated - i also made a version where you can't see the graph at all until you vote which i might try out later.


Comments

  • Would a plugin like this be something you'd like to use instead? @jason and @moderator what do you think?
  • edited September 2015
    Thanks @underthebridge.

    I'm fine either way, although a Vanilla plugin would give us more control in terms of keeping the content within the forum database.

    I'd personally exercise caution though in reading too much from a poll. It would tell you only what some users of the Wivenhoe Forum think about an issue - hardly representative in a way that say the Neighbourhood Plan attempts to speak for Wivenhoe.

    But I'm happy to install the plugin if it's a feature others would like.
  • The trouble with polls is how to phrase the question.  The example of "what is your favourite colour" needs the possibility of saying "this is a silly question as it does not say what the colour is being applied to -even a lurid pink can be useful as an accent point"

    Suppose we had a poll about whether we wanted a bridge to Rowhedge.  We would need to know where, what design and who would pay for the costs of opening and closing it for boats.  We might also want to say that we did not personally want it but that we could see it might be useful for Rowhedge commuters.

    I understand the country's great (?) minds are having difficulty and disagreements about how to phrase the in/out European referendum.
  • @poopdecker, an initial poll without the fine tuning you suggest could raise awareness that a particular subject might need further investigation?
  • I don't thnk it's too difficult to create a useful poll, taking the bridge example:

    Do you want a bridge over the Colne between Wiv and Rowhedge?

    1 Categorically Yes
    2 Categorically No
    3 Depends on the details before i give a firm answer either way
    4 Don't care / no opinion

    i think that question and those options would yield valid, unambiguous data

    I realise that the sample is slightly self selecting due to being on a forum, but providing it is large enough that shouldn't matter.
  • I'd be very cautious about polls; remember the recent General Election?
    Forum polls can be a bit of fun but little more than that IMHO.

  • Call me cynical if you like, but to my mind, polls are often an exercise in manipulation, firstly, in how to phrase a question to make it most likely for the vote to go the way you want and secondly, to present the results in such a way as to emphasize your point.

    And then there are those crass news items where a consortium of intellectuals have been paid a fortune to conduct research and compile a report which tells us what we already know.

    I'm not saying that polls are a bad idea at all, but the results need to have some context, which is not an easy thing to do, especially online. 

    Just before the England-Wales rugby match, they conducted a poll to ask who would win. The poll was only conducted in England. 81% said England would win... Shows how much everyone in England knew, huh!

    The big shame of it is, elections work in pretty much the same way.
  • edited September 2015
    You're cynical

    If you are phrasing a question to elicit a particular answer you are not a statistician. 
    If you are presenting the results to demonstrate the above, again, you are not a statistician.

    With respect to your rugby example: there wouldn't be any bookmakers if people could accurately predict sporting outcomes.

    A poll about 'what do you want' is quite different to a poll about 'what do you think will happen in the future'

    One is based on supposition and the other based on introspection.
  • @mike_
    You asked for @moderator views. What difference w/could it make to them?
  • @underthebridge, I agree with everything you say. And that is precisely my point.
  • But you are making an assumption that the person creating the poll is a marketeer of some sort rather than an statistician. 

    Additionally on a forum like this, there are enough sensible people (pretty much all of them) that a leading question would be called out.

  • edited September 2015
    @Marika From an admin/moderation point of view, it wouldn't present extra work other than the initial installation, but forum polls can be skewed (usually unintentionally) and in my personal opinion can detract from an otherwise decent discussion.

    The @moderator team would be dealing with any fallout from that, and by now I imagine you've all got a pretty good idea of the feel of the forum and whether polls would be a helpful addition.

    (edited to clarify)
  • @Glyn and @underthebridge, skewed questions are less of a worry for me. In my experience polls can mean less meaningful discussion on a topic as people can just click a button. A bit like Facebook style 'like' buttons.
  • Of course what we need is a poll asking if people want polls to be activated...

    Once again - I'm happy to install the plugin, but would treat any outcomes with caution / amusement.
  • edited September 2015
    I've not seen that myself, but then i have a limited sample of forums i am looking at. From my experience people who want to write stuff still write, but those who don't want to write are sometimes prepared to vote in a poll.

    edit: this was in answer to @mike_ ;not a random comment after Jason
  • Polls about polls, assumptions about making assumptions...

    Together we can change the world!

    ;-)
  • The risk is that a discussion would skew to talking about the merits or demerits of a particular poll's wording and the actual subject gets lost so yes, @mike_, it could detract from a discussion.
    Now, some time ago @underthebridge made this handy OffTopic icon but personally I would not want to use it in a moderator capacity on something so trivial and light hearted as this sort of poll is likely to be.
    Just saying.

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