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View Full Version : Is there a 'How To Poll' thread or sticky?



popch
March 16th, 2008, 08:53 AM
I keep falling over poorly formed polls in our forum.

This thread (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=725025) is the most recent example of a poll which could have been made more useful (and more usable) quite easily.

The most striking improvement for this poll would have been to just name one OS on each line since it is a multiple choice poll.

The result of the poll presumably also could have been improved by visibly declaring it as a multiple choice poll.

I hasten to add that this is not meant to bash this particular poll or the author of the poll. Constructing polls can be somewhat demanding, and at times not even those who have learned how to do it get it right the first time.

Is there a Howto, FAQ or a sticky which instructs people on how to do polls properly, or at least those people willing to read instructions?

LaRoza
March 16th, 2008, 07:13 PM
Is there a Howto, FAQ or a sticky which instructs people on how to do polls properly, or at least those people willing to read instructions?

No, but you can write one. (See the new sticky in this forum, it would be a good addition)

popch
March 16th, 2008, 08:49 PM
No, but you can write one. (See the new sticky in this forum, it would be a good addition)


Well, but don't hold your breath. Perhaps next weekend?

Lovely new sticky, BTW. With compliments to all who contributed. Shall a buy some more tissues?

LaRoza
March 16th, 2008, 10:22 PM
Well, but don't hold your breath. Perhaps next weekend?

Lovely new sticky, BTW. With compliments to all who contributed. Shall a buy some more tissues?

Don't sweat it, someone will eventually write one.

It wasn't the idea of any single person. JoshuaRL PM'ed me about a forum sticky, I suggested a "Tour de Forum" type of thread, that I got from pmasiar and the PT forum, aysiu made a thread on Forum features (I don't know if that was connected to the JoshuaRL suggestion.)

In the staff forum, I suggested an index type of thread to cut down on the number of stickies and make things easier to find and manage and it came from that.

I didn't know you collected mucous...

popch
March 16th, 2008, 11:02 PM
I didn't know you collected mucous...

I don't, as a rule. However, having been a parent for some time I have made a habit of having some tissues with me all of the time.

It turns out to be handy in quite a few occasions, especially since the glue applied to the stickies appears to be stimulating the tear ducts of some of the staff here.

I have noticed that the menu bar of all forum pages shows an entry titled 'Forum Help'. That would appear the ideal place for the newly collected/written Tour de Forum contents.

LaRoza
March 16th, 2008, 11:13 PM
I have noticed that the menu bar of all forum pages shows an entry titled 'Forum Help'. That would appear the ideal place for the newly collected/written Tour de Forum contents.

Yes, it would. An Admin would have to do that...

popch
March 16th, 2008, 11:15 PM
Yes, it would. An Admin would have to do that...

Is it difficult to invoke one of those, or will a pentagram drawn on the floor and some incense do?

LaRoza
March 16th, 2008, 11:18 PM
Is it difficult to invoke one of those, or will a pentagram drawn on the floor and some incense do?

For incense, see the Backyard (Nag Champa).

For invokations, they are just the users with darker red names.

I will work on a poll thread, tell me what you think when after I do it.

Ok, it is done. :)

popch
March 17th, 2008, 09:34 PM
I will work on a poll thread, tell me what you think when after I do it. ... Ok, it is done.

Oh well, it will do, I suppose.

No, really, it is much better than what I would have done. It is very good and I think that it will be very useful - for those who read it.

Some very minor points:

The two pictures are somewhat blurred. It does not greatly matter as they show only what the reader is supposed to look for, anyway.

The first picture shows an option (Thread Management) which is not available for common users.

There's a second way to add a poll, for those people who post first and think of adding a poll later. It's in the Thread Tools menu.

The phrase Make the options make sense might not be all that useful as most users appear to think that whatever they type does indeed make sense.

Since this appears to be the core of what I perceive to be most user's difficulty when composing polls, let me stay a bit with this part.

As anyone trained in marketing and related disciplines ought to know, the choices in a poll should be 'orthogonal', or - when expressed as sets - they must not intersect. Thus, 'a browser' and 'Firefox' can not both be options within the same poll, but 'InternetExplorer' and 'Firefox' can.

Also, each option should express one and one idea only. The examples you give express that nicely: I use product x is a good choice, product y stinks is also a good choice, but never the twain shall be combined into one option.

These appear to be two key concepts for designing a meaningful poll: mutual independence of options and one single concept or value per option. Reminds me a bit of normal forms in the construction of relational tables. Can this concept be expressed in fewer and simpler words?

Another equally important concept is already covered by your text, namely that the options should completely cover the space.

LaRoza
March 17th, 2008, 10:39 PM
Oh well, it will do, I suppose.

No, really, it is much better than what I would have done. It is very good and I think that it will be very useful - for those who read it.


I am not entirely pleased with it myself.



Some very minor points:

The two pictures are somewhat blurred. It does not greatly matter as they show only what the reader is supposed to look for, anyway.

I was struggling with that. They had to be small, but I decided to give an overview of the options, instead of zooming in on them. It is meant to point out where they are.



The first picture shows an option (Thread Management) which is not available for common users.

There are a few others differences as well. You are very observant, but I doubt that those that missed the Additional Options would be so keen :)



There's a second way to add a poll, for those people who post first and think of adding a poll later. It's in the Thread Tools menu.

I didn't know. I don't know how that works for most users, as I have that option on every thread.



The phrase Make the options make sense might not be all that useful as most users appear to think that whatever they type does indeed make sense.

Since this appears to be the core of what I perceive to be most user's difficulty when composing polls, let me stay a bit with this part.

As anyone trained in marketing and related disciplines ought to know, the choices in a poll should be 'orthogonal', or - when expressed as sets - they must not intersect. Thus, 'a browser' and 'Firefox' can not both be options within the same poll, but 'InternetExplorer' and 'Firefox' can.

Also, each option should express one and one idea only. The examples you give express that nicely: I use product x is a good choice, product y stinks is also a good choice, but never the twain shall be combined into one option.

These appear to be two key concepts for designing a meaningful poll: mutual independence of options and one single concept or value per option. Reminds me a bit of normal forms in the construction of relational tables. Can this concept be expressed in fewer and simpler words?

Another equally important concept is already covered by your text, namely that the options should completely cover the space.

Could you compose that part for me? You seem much better informed on the subject.

aysiu
March 17th, 2008, 10:47 PM
Here are my tips: Do not make it obvious from your phrasing of the poll options which option you personall favor. Avoid offering only extreme options. For example, if you're polling if people like Ubuntu or Windows better, don't just list Ubuntu and Windows as the two choices--allow for the fact that people might like them both equally or have no preference whatsoever. Avoid commentary within poll options ("No, thanks. Microsoft can go to hell" pr "CLI FTW! People who need the GUI are idiots"). Always allow an Other option, in case you happen to have left off an important choice. Whenever possible, if you desire meaningful results, use a single-choice instead of multiple-choice poll. The multiple-choice poll results never add up to 100%.

popch
March 17th, 2008, 10:49 PM
I doubt that those that missed the Additional Options would be so keen .

In fact, I only realised they were there when I read your sticky. It never had occurred to me to scroll down that screen.


I didn't know. I don't know how that works for most users, as I have that option on every thread.

Perhaps you should consider using another account for this kind of work? I do so at work when I have to make sure that I experience my system exactly the same way as my users do.


Could you compose that part for me? You seem much better informed on the subject.

Yes, I can but try. Please give me some time. I will have to do this next weekend. The evenings during the week I am much too tired to write tricky parts of manuals.

LaRoza
March 17th, 2008, 10:56 PM
In fact, I only realised they were there when I read your sticky. It never had occurred to me to scroll down that screen.

Interesting, we both learned something.

@aysiu You can edit it of course, I trust you :)