Polling about Polling: Getting Metaby Derek Wilson on January 29, 2009 10:30 PM EST
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We recently took our first shot at polling and got some terrific response in spite of some initial technical difficulties. With the kinks ironed out we decided to ask some questions to help us ask questions better. Embedding polls in articles and blogs is new to us and we've got plenty of options to help us ask questions in the best way possible. But aside from our technical ability to ask questions, if we're going to get the best quality answers we have to know what our readers want from a poll.
So, while these questions aren't anywhere near as interesting or exciting as what graphics card vendor would you pick, we've put together a collection of questions that will really help us tailor this new tool to our readers. There is a balance to everything, and we want to maintain that balance. Knowing what readers are comfortable with and how you guys want us to interact with you will really help keep us from using this feature in annoying ways ... like asking stupid questions about how we should poll you. :-)
But hey, it's here, we can do it, why not. After all, our dedication to the site is to deliver the best quality and most useful content to our readers as we can. The value of this kind of direct feedback can't be understated, and I'm hoping you will all be as excited about helping us refine and adjust things as we are about asking. Starting with how we should use polling to get your input.
Thanks! Here's the poll:
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ZmaxDP - Monday, February 2, 2009 - linkJust thought I'd add my "vote" about what you should and shouldn't be polling in my opinion.
I hate polls like "what graphics card vendor would you pick" because (to me) it is meaningless drivel because the poll doesn't capture any of the assumptions behind that choice.
What I'd like to see polling on (or data collection if you will) is
actual technical results seen by users, or feedback on the quality of the articles, etc... So, if you're doing a OC article on i7 processors, how about a poll asking people what overclock they've achieved? This would be far more useful information than "what graphics card will you buy?".
Spivonious - Monday, February 2, 2009 - linkI think a weekly poll related to current articles/reviews would be good. Close voting as soon as a new poll is up, but show results forever.
Having a poll in every article would become very annoying.
PrinceGaz - Saturday, January 31, 2009 - linkJust out of curiositiness (sp?), I notice every question in this poll had the option "I don't care" and there is a sizeable minority who chose that answer for each question. I'm wondering if anyone who took the time to complete the poll actually answered "I don't care" for every question, and if so, why they even bothered doing it in the first place :)
Rather like answering a poll on political beliefs, when actually you have no interest in politics whatsoever and probably don't understand half the questions anyway. I guess there is some statistical significance in people who complete polls they have no interest in, though, even if that some people need to find better things to do with their life.
mindless1 - Sunday, February 1, 2009 - linkAn "I don't care" option is very useful because in fact, many people may want a poll but not care about certain particulars of implementation, and if they don't care they shouldn't be forced to pick anything that may taint the results. Suppose I want a frost-free, fridge/freezer combo, but I don't care if the handles have chrome trim compared to other factors.
mmatis - Friday, January 30, 2009 - linkthan some of the choices you offered:
1. Poll when you think it's worthwhile -or- whenever you get several requests for polling on a given topic.
2. Use as many questions as it takes to answer a given topic, but stick with one topic per poll.
3. PLEASE!!! No friggin' popups!!!
4. A week is probably about right. One day may result in many people missing an opportunity to participate, while one month and indefinitely don't really give you anything to work with - assuming you intend to take some action based on the results of the poll.
5. Definitely leave the results visible indefinitely, but make sure you tag them with the date(s) of the polling in case you revisit the same topics again.
6. A permanent polling spot may work if you can find enough appropriate topics, but if you have to make a choice I'd rather that you have good polls instead of frequent ones.
LokutusofBorg - Friday, January 30, 2009 - linkWhy is the Articles tab on your site front page filled with blog posts, when there's a Blog tab right next to it? I don't think it's good to blur the lines between articles and blog posts. I'd like to see a very clear separation (including different RSS feeds).
OT I know, but I've been meaning to give this feedback for some time and just haven't ever found a place to do so.
nirolf - Friday, January 30, 2009 - linkI think you should put a "View Results" option somewhere too. I've answered this poll from work and now, being at home, I can't view the updated results.
UNHchabo - Friday, January 30, 2009 - linkI'm sure you guys are already aware of this, but the polls aren't working 100% as intended. When I first navigated to this page, I saw the poll results, then when I refreshed I was able to answer the poll. With yesterday's poll, after I submitted my responses, a few times I came back to the page and was prompted to fill out the poll again, instead of seeing the results. Refreshing cured this.
Joe Schmoe - Friday, January 30, 2009 - link
I see a lot of complaints about spelling errors which seem to be a huge pet peeve to many readers here. It is important and it does effect a readers impression when there are errors in an article. But I for one understand that you folks are computer engineers and not journalists or English majors. We all went to college. We can all knuckle down a put a paragraph together. I'd rather you kept doing your job well and hired an editor to type up your notes. I have noticed a few errors in articles but they seem to be corrected fairly quickly. My biggest complaint is the number of articles being posted. You haven't posted a Linux article since 2004. I promise you I will ignore a missed comma if you put some news up.
crimson117 - Friday, January 30, 2009 - linkThere are plenty of recent Linux articles on AT... but they're always to explain why they have no Linux articles :)
February 2008: http://www.anandtech.com/weblog/showpost.aspx?i=38...">Soliciting Input For a Linux Review
February 2008: http://www.anandtech.com/weblog/showpost.aspx?i=38...">Update: A Month With Ubuntu To Commence
April 2008: http://www.anandtech.com/weblog/showpost.aspx?i=43...">Month With Ubuntu Update
October 2008: http://www.anandtech.com/weblog/showpost.aspx?i=51...">So Whatever Happened To That Ubuntu Article?
March 2009: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0">The first rule about is that you do NOT talk about That Ubuntu Article