How about adding a new way of handling polls besides 'regular' or 'CW'?

Please give answers that give ideas on how this could be implemented (actually it's design work, but you know what I mean).

EDIT: See this post for more ideas.

closed as not constructive by Brad Mace, Toon Krijthe, ale, Josh Darnell, razlebe Aug 15 '12 at 7:31

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    It seems like those who hate polls, are those who only value their own opinion. I've had to work with people like that, and it's a sad scenario. – Lance Roberts Aug 13 '09 at 19:14
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    You might want to seek some help for that talking to yourself issue you have there. It is a sign of insanity you know; I only have your best interests in mind. Perhaps you could also wait for at least one person to agree with you before you say it's us who value our own opinion, sport. – Ian Elliott Aug 13 '09 at 19:18
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    WTF? Internet polls are idle amusement, nothing more. – Shog9 Aug 13 '09 at 19:29
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    We're not talking about idle polls, we're talking about technical ones. No one wants any 'pet name' polls. – Lance Roberts Aug 13 '09 at 19:46
  • For instance...? – Shog9 Aug 13 '09 at 19:52
  • Here's one that looks useful for somebody (not my area): stackoverflow.com/questions/1174543/…, also most of the hidden feature/hidden danger type polls have alot of useful technical information. – Lance Roberts Aug 13 '09 at 20:01
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    Lance, why make that a poll? It's just fine as a question (except for the misleading title, which i fixed)! As for the "hidden dangers in" - those could be useful in so far as they provide helpful information to new users, but the "poll" aspect is largely just a way for experienced users to commiserate on their pet peeves... – Shog9 Aug 13 '09 at 20:22
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    Polls are definitely misused a lot, and I have no problem with the closing/deleting of 'pet names' polls (and voted to close one just the other day). We just shouldn't throw out the baby with the bath water. – Lance Roberts Aug 13 '09 at 20:32
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    A few entertaining polls are fine, especially if they can generate helpful technical information as a side-effect. But i don't see the need to encourage more of them, or emphasize the "poll" aspect over the system's native "answer" focus. The common practice - CW everything and delete old, unpopular polls - should suffice, if we can avoid getting into bitter flame-wars every time someone's feelings get hurt 'cause they wanted easy rep. They may not be sexy or generate massive page-views, but the "long tail" of ordinary Q&A stands to do far more good... SO should stick to what it does best. – Shog9 Aug 13 '09 at 22:19

I would also like some way of integrating a poll in a question. Many questions are subjective; this does not make them meaningless.

For example, sometimes I'd like to know peoples' opinion on which design is easier to understand/implement (recently for instance on C# interface method hiding). These are valid best-practice questions that don't always have an easy answer. The normal Stack Overflow answer mechanic works OK for that, but it also conflates quality of an answer with the answer itself. So the discussion and voting thereupon are fine, but they don't really solve the problem at hand; being "which of this options should I choose?".

I could imagine something altogether different might be even better, for instance something like the Yes/No/Maybe gadget in Google Wave.

A structured way to share and aggregate opinions would be valuable.


No. Poll questions should be discouraged.

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    Short, pat answers without explanation should be discouraged. – Synetech Feb 22 '11 at 2:35

Polls should be done away with. Not given their own special status (unless that special status is automatically closed). There are plenty of ways to ask a question and get an answer or get decent feedback on a topic without having to resort to mind-numbing polls.

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    I'm amazed that you don't see the utility in technical polls (which is all I care about). – Lance Roberts Aug 13 '09 at 19:08
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    Utility? What Utility? There is no utility. – Ian Elliott Aug 13 '09 at 19:08
  • If a question needs a poll, it's subjective, and should be done away with. – Ian Elliott Aug 13 '09 at 19:09
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    Subjective answers are very often useful, there are huge areas of programming that are subjective. That's why we have to make decisions. If it was all deterministic then computers would only program themselves. – Lance Roberts Aug 13 '09 at 19:11
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    Subjective questions are specifically targeted and warned against when posting on SO. I assume you believe this is a slight glitch in the subjectively programmed site? – Ian Elliott Aug 13 '09 at 19:14
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    I find that if I listen to others, I actually learn things that help my programming. I'll never understand people who think they've reached the pinnacle of programming know-how and don't need the opinions of others. That's why I frequent SO. – Lance Roberts Aug 13 '09 at 19:19
  • Well then you're frequenting the wrong site. I never claimed to have reached the pinnacle of programming knowledge (but then again learning isn't a subjective process so I have no idea what you're referring to, perhaps you learn programming from studying books of polls and info-graphics?). SO is a definitive resource, and should remain that way for obvious reasons. I prefer correct answers, not I personally believe this is an answer. I'll make my own decisions in that regard. – Ian Elliott Aug 13 '09 at 19:24
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    I'm sure as you grow older, you'll learn the wisdom of listening to others. I had to learn it the hard way also. Good luck. – Lance Roberts Aug 13 '09 at 19:45
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    Smugness. Its whats for dinner. – GEOCHET Aug 13 '09 at 19:55
  • Life has taught me humility. I'm amazed at all those who haven't got to that lesson yet. – Lance Roberts Aug 13 '09 at 20:03
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    I thought Jon Skeet was the preacher? – GEOCHET Aug 13 '09 at 20:06
  • Oh wow ... I just got the red warning box for upvoting comments within 5 seconds. Well played, Rich B. – John Rudy Aug 13 '09 at 21:39
  • @TheTXI your opinion would be better received if you gave some practical examples so that users who feel the need to use a poll can use the example as a guide for formatting their question. – Synetech Feb 22 '11 at 2:34
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    This response is highly disagreeable because I have found a lot of useful ideas and solutions from poll-type questions. I'm only waiting for SO to accommodate them better. – Steven Bluen Apr 26 '13 at 16:40

Why do we need to add complexity to the system?

Poll questions should just be Community Wiki. Then we don't have a problem.


Polls belong on surveymonkey.com, not Stack Overflow.

'Listen to the wisdom of others' is both condescending and irrelevant - Stack Overflow is for technical programming questions that have actual (even testable) answers.


You will be able to run quick polls in the third place (chat). Use stars to vote.

  1. Questioner puts up poll question with 'Poll' status. (Ex: Which conditionals should I put in my new language?)
  2. Answerers answer with 1-line 'answer states' in one Edit Box. (Ex: If-Then-Else)
  3. Answerers answer with supporting text in 2nd Edit Box. (Ex: If's are necessary because of blah, blah, blah)
  4. People up and downvote the answers. Either with no rep changes, or a one-time rep for answers that get any upvotes.

Overlayed on this would be the ability for those of Editing rep or the Questioner to edit the 1-line Edit Box, and for all CW users (100+ rep) to edit the supporting text.

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