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A "poll" feature?

A number of times, on various forums and mailing lists, I've seen someone try to take a "poll" on a certain question. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But it's always seemed to me a bit awkward. Maybe this is not the type of thing that askbot is meant to address (after all, it's not called "pollbot") but then again, there's a user community available (and it does appear as more of a "community" due to the karma and related features) so I wonder if this might be a good feature to add.

What I had in mind is that one could create a poll (rather than a question) and it would hang around getting responses from whoever cared to respond. Specifically, I was thinking that the questions could be "multi-valued" rather than just yes or no. For example, on the Sage askbot, I would love to have a way to ask "how many people use the following operating systems" (and then give a list - which hopefully could be edited since I'll miss some the first time.)

People could respond -- and they could also change their responses later! Thus giving a lot more flexibility and "longevity" then trying to poll people over a mailing list.

Mike's avatar
asked 2010-09-09 13:44:56 -0500
todofixthis's avatar
updated 2012-08-27 13:57:20 -0500
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Hi Mike, it's an interesting proposition and it's not the first time it's been sounded. It would be great if interested people could suggest a workflow for this feature so that implementation fits the need better.
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2010-09-09 14:01:13 -0500) edit
should there be some approval barrier in number of votes in order to open the poll? What happens with the poll if it was not approved?
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2010-09-09 14:13:00 -0500) edit
I'm not sure how a "workflow" in askbot is described. I suppose that a person should have some experience (points) before starting a poll. Now I just realized that askbot is not really meant for ongoing "discussions" so where is the place to have discussions about askbot design?
Mike's avatar Mike (2010-09-09 14:27:43 -0500) edit
regarding the support for the back and forth discussion - it's just not there yet, the only place to do that right now is in the comments. Anyone who wants to suggest a solution to a problem - e.g. how to implement the poll can post an answer describing the solution and discuss in comments.
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2010-09-09 15:02:59 -0500) edit
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5 Answers


Well, here is one sketch, please add your suggestions.

Propose a poll (subject to some reputation requirement) --> wait till it collects enough votes --> open poll for a certain duration.

Polls can be of types: "select all that apply", "select only one of possible answers".

There may be a limit of time when the voters can change their mind.

Before the poll is open for voting, it can be edited, when the poll opens, it cannot be changed.

Poll posts can be commented.

Polls can be followed by email or via on-screen notification.

Evgeny's avatar
updated 2010-09-09 15:36:13 -0500, answered 2010-09-09 15:26:31 -0500
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Couple of comments (1) Maybe a poll could be "permanent", for example: Who is using platform x,y,z (People change platforms over time). And "voters" could continue to change their vote (in this situation it's not really a "vote")
Mike's avatar Mike (2010-09-09 16:06:25 -0500) edit
(2) For similar reasons, maybe a poll can continue to be edited. For example it originally allows for 3 choices, but based on peoples comments, it turns out that there are more choices. I realize what I'm describing is not *really* a notrmal "poll" but I don't know what to call it.
Mike's avatar Mike (2010-09-09 16:08:02 -0500) edit
Then, if the poll is perpetually editable, probably you cannot remove the choice items, but only add?
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2010-09-09 17:03:01 -0500) edit
I guess that's right. I mean, unless nobody chooses one, and it turns out not to be deemed a valid choice or something.
Mike's avatar Mike (2010-09-09 17:51:54 -0500) edit
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How about approaching this not as integration of a single "poll" application but a problem of being able to add new applications to askbot infrastructure that would take advantage of community moderation features? Then the problem boils down to:

With Django it is easy to build an application, be it a blog, poll, photo gallery, etc. Instead of concentrating on the flow of one specific application, we can concentrate on separating the community feature like reputation, badges, tagging, etc. and make them work with different content applications. This way anyone that can build a basic Django application can have their own applications in their own ways.


omat's avatar
updated 2010-09-10 04:27:28 -0500, answered 2010-09-10 04:24:36 -0500
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Sounds reasonable. Many packages have a way of extending themselves and usually they have their own ways of doing that, we can take this path too. There is also something called "django-pluggable" but I don't know much about that, maybe there is another method?
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2010-09-10 10:42:38 -0500) edit
to clarify, i think that there needs to be some sort of a plugin API for applications that show content so that the plugin looks like part of the whole
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2010-09-10 11:26:15 -0500) edit
with help of signals and django contenttypes maybe applications can be unaware of the community moderation features, but still those tools can control content of those applications. lets think about this a bit.
omat's avatar omat (2010-09-10 12:40:05 -0500) edit
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My suggestion on the site was similar to the following, but I will refine it some: Separate/Distinguish conspicuously the Q/A section from the Polls section both visually and input/output-wise. There is a lot of unused space in the lower-parts of pages (in the right or left-hand-side columns). Alternatively, the Polls could link from a second row of tabs, either at the top or bottom of the page.

Digressing, I think sometimes certain questions really beg follow-up questions. It would be nice if one could link/group questions (in a directed graph sense). Just like you have a tags input box, you could have a "Dependency of Question(s):" Box beneath that one, perhaps an html textarea input (more input lines). Currently people use a regular link for this, but it would be an interesting alternative grouping/presentation.

ccanonc's avatar
answered 2010-09-10 17:22:38 -0500
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@Mike: I like the Polls idea, and there are many different kind of Polls. Some are voting, anonymous feedback, user surveys, focus groups, can imagine many many more different formats. I think Polls deserves its own section(s) and lexicon; and the columns are also fair game.
ccanonc's avatar ccanonc (2010-09-10 17:28:46 -0500) edit
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Well, you can do a poll already. Just add a question, e.g. "Which operating system do you use?", then post a few answers to your own question: "Windows", "Linux", etc. Instruct your users to upvote the appropriate answer. You can close the question when you get enough answers.

Tomasz P. Szynalski's avatar
Tomasz P. Szynalski
answered 2011-06-18 17:45:17 -0500
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After reading the comments and thinking about it some more, I realize that a "poll" is not really what I'm looking for. But it is still probably a desirable feature. So as not to "mix up" what I'm suggesting with a true poll, I'm going to open a new question: User defined/selected badges.

Mike's avatar
answered 2010-09-10 13:21:31 -0500
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