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It just seems that so many poll type questions are thrown out in all the trilogy sites. I figure it might be of some use to provide simple stats on a polling type of question. For instance, if a question asked "What is your favorite X", it might be helpful to know at a glance that 57% upvoted Foo and 39% upvoted Bar, while 4% downvoted Baz.

This wouldn't be as useful in non-polling questions, so maybe it should be an optional feature enabled by the questioner by some means.

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2 Answers 2

I don't think that the SO engine needs to do anything to encourage and or make it easier to run poll questions. While I don't think none of them should exist, they're not the main intent of the system. In some cases you will see the asker, or an editor, update the question to show a summary of the answers as a courtesy to readers later on.

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+1. I hate polls. I have a wary truce with poles and Poles. –  TheTXI Jul 17 '09 at 19:28

As yshuditelu's answer and TheTXI's comment indicate, polls aren't universally popular. However, I don't think they're going away - so I think it does make sense to support them better. I do agree that it's not the primary goal of any of the sites, but they can occasionally be handy - and I think that the more diverse the range of sites gets (with SE particularly) the more cases there'll be where polls do fit in well.

I believe they should be a separate question type - and in the "Questions" tab, one could include or exclude poll questions. That way those of us who aren't keen on polls never have to see them, and those who do like them get a better experience.

The options for a poll question (after it's been asked) would be:

  • Vote (only up?) for a particular option
  • Add a new option
  • Add a comment to an option

I would probably suggest that options should be restricted to a single line with no mark-up: if you want to provide justifications etc, use comments.

This could be displayed nice and easily with bars etc by each option - have a "results summary" just below the question, and then the expanded versions with actual scores and comments underneath.

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I hate that, sorry. You make it more complicated to support the original intention of the site (questioner have to ask themselves: do I have to check these options?) to make it easier to scatter it with polls. –  Ladybug Killer Jul 17 '09 at 20:06
    
If they're only supporting the original intention of the site, they just ignore the poll checkbox. The polls are there already (particularly on SuperUser) - this would make them look better for those who care, and make them invisible to those who don't want to see them. –  Jon Skeet Jul 17 '09 at 20:26
    
Options are not ignored, especially not from new users, who have no clue what it is good for. It's a hassle for them. Only developers like optins, users don't. Keep your own question in mind: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/481/… –  Ladybug Killer Jul 18 '09 at 14:18
    
So prompt new users if necessary... or better yet, allow moderators to change it. If new users won't notice the difference, how is that making it "easier to scatter it with polls"? The only difference would be that clueful users could make it very obviously a poll, which is a benefit. –  Jon Skeet Jul 18 '09 at 14:41
    
Users aren't dumb. I think Jon makes logical enhancements to the posted idea. For instance, if the SO engine automatically tagged these with "poll", then the users could choose to put them in their ignored tags list if they so choose to. –  spoulson Jul 20 '09 at 12:11

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