Idea for future surveys: threads with polls

I just saw @nina’s feedback in #5677:

The most weird and sometimes infuriating aspect of them, is not
being able to ask for follow-up or to discuss things with folks…
which then puts much of their quantitative findings, in question.


Have a category “survey” with each survey being an actual sub-category.
Each question of the survey could be it’s own thread with a poll where
people are asked to select from a multiple choice kind of few. Others
are just the question and folks post their answer.

Yes, this must likely be heavily moderated to catch abuse and split out
organically grown side discussions, but it would really address @nina’s
frustration in an interesting way. I think it would even make the whole
survey more fun if @nina could ask follow-ups on specific answers and
participants could clarify.

Now obviously that would really be anonymous anymore, but than again
folks could create new accounts just to participate in a specific survey.

What do you think @deeplow @nina and everyone?


I find it an interesting idea.

A few thoughts:

  • Surveys often are scoped to capture snapshots of behavior/opinions at a given point in time, forums tend instead to enable topics to evolve over time
  • It may be useful to repeat some surveys over time
  • The archival aspect of the forum, and the fact that older survey results would be public seems useful
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It’s an interesting idea. Here are some challenges / major blockers:

  1. Adds lost of friction due to the need to create an account (and some users may straight-up refuse to create an account)

  2. Javascript-full - the forum heavily relies on javascript and some users will not be happy with this requirement. (something that is unnecessary for a web form)

  3. If each survey question is its own thread, it will be great for feedback but also likely to have some questions being more answered. Though this may not be such a big issue.

So the results will certainly be biased. However, for now if someone wants to do some informal feedback gathering they can just do it in the #general-discussion.

Further, if @ninavizz wants to follow up on some feedback I think it could be great to have a thread for it. Something along the lines of “Hey folks! Many of you told me that… blah blah. I’d be interested in hearing some more thoughts on this”. I’d be in favor of a “UX” subcategory for #general-discussion .

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Hi Sven, thx for the interesting idea!

The thing with surveys, is that they’re intended to capture the feedback of individuals in isolation from conversations.

In open social environments, people are inclined to often say what they think other people want to hear, or aspirationally what they wish could be the case for how they operate, moreso than reflecting their own true realities. Even in 1:1 interviews, it can be hard to get a person to focus on “demonstrating” their own natural behavior, vs how they want the researcher (me) to think they behave. If that makes sense. :slight_smile:

We also really needed to learn from folks not in forums or on GitHub, or whom behaviorally identify as “in a user community.” If that makes sense. Signal and Email were both used as primary outreach vehicles, in addition to posts here, on GitHub, and on Twitter.

Finally: the survey just having Vimeo hosted videos on it, when it launched, was a participation blocker to too many. Same, for having a question that used a Javascript widget. It also (now, thanks to rad community feedback!) has a logic fork for differently-abled users to communicate their needs for assistive technology; which we rarely hear about, and I didn’t want lost in with all the feedback from a visual experience.

Inclusion is really important to all of us… and to really get that, it’s gotta be a balance of isolated options, and group options. If that makes sense. TY for the idea tho, I definitely want to do something like that, at some point!