Should we enable polls on TypeDrawers?

Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 892
edited February 2015 in Suggestions and Bug Reports
This is a special discussion type that allows the discussion author to ask for votes on specific options (as opposed to standard replies).


  • I wonder if people who don't want polls will object to this poll and abstain, thereby skewing the results against their wishes?
  • 6 for and 1 Jackson against. I think I understand why Jackson opposes polls.
  • I'm not going to explain why I voted No just to drive home my point. 
  • In general I am in favor of having polls. On the other hand I think it wouldn't be positive if polls encourage voting instead of arguing for or against important topics. 
  • Polls reduce questions to percentages. I think that stifles discussion and nuance.
  • I share Paul van der Laan's point of view. Haven't we had our fill of abbreviated communications yet? Without advance moderation, I can imagine that all kinds of trivia and crapola will be put up for a vote? Here's an example:

    Is Stephen Coles the 6th most intelligent person on Typedrawers? Yes or no? Inquiring minds need to know.
  • This reminds me of a story. In the 1960s and early-1970s, a late friend of mine was the curator of musical instruments at the Smithsonian Institution. For a two-week period one summer, he found himself the only person in his small department, the result of a two people out on medical leave and several away on vacation. So he had to do something he'd never done before: pick up the phone whenever it rang (this was the era before voicemail). He had had no prior idea of how many people called in every day with questions, mostly about the value of an old violin found in an attic and such. But there were more general musical questions, too, which people felt free to call in and ask given that it was the only "federal" source of musical information aside from the Library of Congress.

    At first, it was a hoot, but he got sick of it after a while, so he started giving the quickest answers he could think of. One day, an old lady called and asked, "Can you tell me, where does John Philip Sousa rank among American composers?" "Sousa," my friend answered, "let me see the latest chart . . . 17th." "Thank you very much," said the satisfied taxpayer.

    I'm afraid that's the kind of information we'll get from polls.

  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,364
    I used to hate all of those "What is your favorite" or "Top Ten Best" or "Top 10 Worst" or whatever banal ordering people used to come up with on Typophile. They did this without "polling enabled".  I don't think it matters.  You cannot legislate intelligent intercourse.  There will be people who love that shit.  I am just of the mind that the fewer regulations we impose the better.   We can easily pass on reading whatever stupid crap people post on our own.
  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 584
    edited February 2015
    On the other hand I think it wouldn't be positive if polls encourage voting instead of arguing for or against important topics. 
    Ramiro makes a good point. With that in mind, consider requesting comments on the topic prior to voting with a cutoff date for the comments, then take the vote. That would allow anyone who was not sure which way to vote time to consider both sides.
  • Honestly... I really can't decide. I'm not in any way for or against. I think this is coming to a dead end. We need more people to vote for one side to reach a conclusion, and I'm not sure that's going to be the case. If there are only three more votes for yes, then it's hard to say. The more unanimous, the better, but it is what it is. I'm just not going to decide.
  • I'm totally with Chris on that. Allowing the option for the chance that someone might find a good use of polling (or thinks he will) is more important than disabling the option in fear of lost of intelligent interaction or something like that.
  • Maybe we can allow a poll under special circumstances and after the topic has been debated...
    Also, can I change my vote? :smile:  
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 892
    edited February 2015
    Very cogent points on both sides, which supports the notion that articulated opinions are more valuable than mute votes. On the other hand, folks are explaining and discussing their opinions on this topic even with a poll in place, so it could be argued the poll does no harm and simply represents a summary.

    Ramiro, it appears votes are unchangeable. I see that as an unnecessary limit and I'll look into fixing it.
  • attarattar Posts: 209
    I have to reckon that at least with votes, you can call out the people who voted without leaving a comment.  ;)
  • Polls may, indeed, stimulate discussion, but they will do so largely by exasperation, as correctives to idiotic simplifications. Too much of this kind of thing becomes tiring quickly and soon enough, someone will decide that Typedrawers has run its course and the time has come to start a new board.

    I'm completely open to new possibilities, but experience tells me that this one is sure to become a nuisance. It's like the overuse of drop shadows or "Th" ligatures or lousy typefaces; just because they are there doesn't mean you have to use them.

    Can someone give me an example of a kind of poll you'd expect to see here that will enhance the user experience, or offer some kind of enlightenment?

  • Ofir ShavitOfir Shavit Posts: 371
    edited February 2015
    Enlightenment comes from within, you can reveal the world by staring at a leaf and understand nothing even if the secrets of the universe would have been personally whispered in your ear. 
    Polls are not crucial, it's just another kind of stone to throw in the pond, and as we see in this discussion, I suspect that in this kind of forum and community it just even might stimulate insightful conversations, as people that wouldn't in other way participate in a thread might vote on a question, then follow the dynamic and in a certain point might get into the conversation to back up their side.

    In case someone post a poll and no one answer it, you can also assume it's not interesting anyone or get paranoiac ;)

    If polls will pop up all over the place and start annoying everybody as you suspect it could be disabled then.

    And no, I don't have a poll in mind, and don't think I'll do one ever. I can see my self voting tough, and for it, mostly for the chance someone find it appropriate to his needs, and I don't see it being used widely here. 
  • It could be used to see whether members would like a new feature added to TypeDrawers.

    To be honest, my "yes" vote was more like, "sure, why not" than "hell yes!". I don't feel that strongly about it, but I also don't object.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,128
    I don't mind polls as a way to test the temperature, as it were, to get a sense of where peoples' thoughts are on a topic. But that only works if polls can be taken mid-discussion, and re-taken to see if opinions are changing or just solidifying.
  • Polls are FUN. Why not?
  • attarattar Posts: 209
    > Polls are FUN.

    Really, Dave? You've got nothing to say on the libre culture of polls or sth? ;)
  • I believe answers routinely live in a balance with the question. The longer the question, the shorter the answer. If we force (or even encourage, or promote) the answer to be short, what do we expect from our questions? I expect a long answer on that.
  • Russell McGormanRussell McGorman Posts: 215
    edited February 2015
    Whatever LeMo says.

  • George is joking in but I think its a fair point, and shows the practical relevance of John Hudson's recommendation that polls be mid-thread objects, not only first-post objects; when posting in a type crit thread, offering an interactive way to poll people on choices under consideration seems like something really good to me.
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 892
    edited February 2015
    Dave, I think mid-discussion polls make sense for some topics, but certainly not crits. That’s essentially the definition of type design by committee
  • If I need a poll, I can always post a link to a SurveyMonkey poll. I do like them for some purposes.
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 892
    edited February 2015
    Thomas, there’s a more visually palatable survey service on the block: Typeform
  • hmm, not convinced. design by committee is where the design loses coherence, but seeking structured feedback for a designer to do with what they want doesn't strike me as risking that.
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