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March 6, 2006

End of the Poll

Beginning today, TNS's experiment with reader polling comes to an end. Out with a whimper, not least the result of the mostly negative comments we got to our recent query on the matter in the blogs. Some combination of factors conspired to make our polls very unpopular, including, I suspect, a couple of things no one thought of.

Aside from reasons listed by readers last week about the polls not being well done (or, moreover, that polls are inherently poorly presented), I think there might have been some technical factors, including the miniscule typeface (we had no control over that) and the fact that readers could view the results before answering -- most online polls don't work that way. We got our hands on some particularly poor free software and thought we'd give it a try, but we know when we've been licked.

Anyway, at least for now, we're going to deep-six the polls. They may come back with some other interactive features in the future, but not until we can do them right.

I do think that if our readership simply considered the polls to have been a novelty or a nuisance that was beneath TNS, that says good things about our readership (though not such good things about me, since along with at least a handful of people, I really liked them).

Now we continue our search for novelties that are not below you, so please provide feedback.

Comments...

tyke1290: End of the Poll

I''m sorry to hear that The New Standard ran into a problem with polls.

It is indeed very important when using polls that the results be secret until the poll is finished otherwise people will go by what other pollsters have decided.

I for one, enjoy polls very much. They give a good picture of how people really think, but as I said, the results should not be posted until the poll itself is ended.

thanks

JAYBOD: End of the Poll

I have taken a poll of the number of readers named JAYBOD that have "no problem at all" with your decision to run your website the way you want too!

the results were:

IN FAVOR of the "NO PROBLEM" sentiments: 100 OPPOSED to the "NO PROBLEM" sentiments: 0

Margin of error 0-100 as I voted ""100 times" using the new and improved DUMBBOLD IvRD wireless touchscreen computer.

Doug Hockin: End of the Poll

> including the miniscule typeface

This page is a good example of that sort of problem. While I understand the idea of using different sized type in titles and other places to show the structure of things and to empasize certain things, I don't understand why the size in the first paragraph here is bigger than all the responses. Does it mean the first paragraph is more important? They're all big blocks of text on the same page and they should be the same size. There are people like me who have a hard time reading small text for whom the text in the first parargraph will be fine, but the responses will need to be blown up bigger.

Plus the text in the blue buttons on the left is awfully small and because it's in bitmaps it can't be enlarged like the HTML text can be.

Brian Dominick: Typefaces

Hi Doug. The answer to nearly all our site design problems is a simple one: the developer is working 15 hours a day and trying to get to all sorts of bugs, most of which you don't see. The typeface on comments definitely should not be smaller than that on the main entry. It's a mistake, among many others, because we're short-staffed. Trying our very best, though. As for the buttons, that was just a matter of fitting them on the page. They have tags -- should I add tags too so something will pop up when you put your mouse over it? Would that help? <P> <h4>Brian Dominick: End of the Poll</h4> <p>Hmmm, that messed up somehow. I guess I'd better bug-fix it. I was saying they have alt attributes, and I could maybe add title attributes, if that would help. <P> <h4>eve-odile: End of the Poll</h4> <p>Is it not also possible that someone (I for example) does not answer to some poll because I did not feel competent to give my opinion. Am I the only one? <P> <h4>Benjamin Melançon: But I hadn't gotten a chance to complain about the polls yet</h4> <p>I am very glad to see the polls gone. Unscientific polls are far beneath the NewStandard, even as a measure of its own readership. And I *always* want to make up my own answer. <P> <big>On site design issues</big>, since they came up-- this should be fairly simple: at the bottom of every page something (anything) to click on to take one back to the home page. For me it's natural to click on the copyright notice or whatever's available to take me back to the front page (I find out now that I can't.) <P> <h4>marcus99nd: End of the Poll</h4> <p>I liked the polls, in large part b/c I hoped we could use it to gauge reader interest and see several hundred people interacting with the site. Perhaps the more that people do it, the more people will want to do it. A vicious cycle, I know. <P> <hr /> <a href="http://newstandardnews.net/alivewires/edit/?action=show_comment_registration&inReplyToItemID=2894&aliveWireID=5">Post a Comment</a> <br /> <a href="http://newstandardnews.net/alivewires/edit/?action=alter_sub&listAction=ADD&itemID=2894">Subscribe by e-mail to comments on this entry.</a> <p style="font-size: 1.1em;"><a href="http://newstandardnews.net/about/?page=obituary">The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.</a></p> </div> </body> </html>