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I've noticed a few Survey type questions, which rely on feedback entries from the community which then get voted up or down. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent duplicate entries, or easily identify them and merge them, or restrict entries to a single answer.
This results in the same entry getting split votes.

e.g.

  • stackoverflow.com/questions/130095/most-useful-free-java-libraries
  • stackoverflow.com/questions/529757/are-there-any-famous-one-man-army-programmers

This made me think of categorising the question types, similar to BlackBeltFactory.
There when the question is being composed, the author selects the answer type:

  • Multiple Choice
  • Free Text
  • etc.

It would be nice to be able to mark a question as "Extensible Survey", and identify unique answers based on a keyword, and allow merging of similar answers with the resuly being summed.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

In general, we don't want to encourage more polls and surveys. Some of the classic older ones perhaps, but unless there's something really special about it, we don't really want to encourage new ones.

Polls and surveys, by definition, are open-ended. They should be avoided in the general case. (Yes, there are special-case exceptions; but generally, they are to be avoided.)

If a question you're thinking of feels like it might be a survey or a poll, ask yourself if there's a way to rewrite it in a more specific manner that will be truly answerable. If not, resist the urge to ask the question.

Meta is, of course, excluded from all this, to an extent. Meta is weird.

Also, re-reading, you're asking for a full-on survey system. These sites just aren't that. Free-form, multiple choice, etc.? No ... That pollutes what the Trilogy is.

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Surveys should be community wiki for several reasons. Thus the answers given do not give reputation. Therefore I do not think it hurts to have multiple answers that support the same view. Sometimes they will add a little extra information that is valuable. The OP can at any time edit his question and add lines to express something like: x Aye, y Nay (, ...).

I personally do not see survey as a feasible question type, at least not one to justify complicating the system with a new dimension "question type". It would make it even harder to limit the kind of questions and topics feasible for SO and open up discussions on whether SO would make for a good eLearning platform, for example.

Personally I love the simple and straight forward implementation as Q&A site.

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