Two minor points I noticed in the survey:

  1. Question 2 is "How long have you worked in the software development / IT industry", while in question 3 I get asked what industry I am in -- which isn't neccessarily SD/IT.

  2. You can only choose one answer in Question 5 ("What is your role your company's purchasing process?"), although the answers are neither mutually exlusive nor accumulatively implying each other (I hope you know what I mean).

Update for you non-believers:


  • 13
    What survey are you talking about?
    – jjnguy
    Jan 6, 2010 at 15:42
  • @jjnguy: That one.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jan 6, 2010 at 15:47
  • 2
    Don't make me refresh until I see the ad. Just link to the damned survey, man!
    – Welbog
    Jan 6, 2010 at 15:48
  • 1
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jan 6, 2010 at 15:51
  • There, now doesn't it feel good to not be hallucinating surveys?
    – Welbog
    Jan 6, 2010 at 15:53
  • Looked through the survey... unfortunately, my opinion doesn't matter. ;-(
    – P Shved
    Jan 6, 2010 at 15:57
  • 1
    @Contact us: So I made you refresh this page until you saw the link?
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jan 6, 2010 at 15:58
  • 3
    @balpha: No, I was busy with other stuff, came back, and there it was. Trust me, I have other things to do than stalk Meta. Not better things, just other things.
    – Welbog
    Jan 6, 2010 at 16:14
  • 1
    yeah, right ...
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jan 6, 2010 at 16:16
  • so why isn't there a blog.stackoverflow.com post about this? and if they want people to take it, why not give everyone a one-time notification "would you be willing to take a 5-minute survey to help make stack overflow better?"
    – Kip
    Jan 6, 2010 at 16:27
  • Queston #5 should be multiple choice. And in #6, annual budget for what? If you include salaries, then it's going to be way different than for hardware, or for software tools.
    – Ether
    Jan 6, 2010 at 17:39
  • Yeah, I had no clue about the annual budget so I left that one blank.
    – mmyers
    Jan 6, 2010 at 17:46
  • 2
    @Kip - were I to do a survey, I'd do a small one first to get information on whether I made the survey correctly, and then adjust it accordingly and do the larger one. They may be doing the same thing here. Alternately, they are only interested in surveying people you pay attention to the sidebar ads, so a general announcement would mess that up.
    – Pollyanna
    Jan 6, 2010 at 18:23
  • 1
    Pollyanna is mostly correct. for now, we want the survey to be representative of SO visitors. Jan 7, 2010 at 1:17

2 Answers 2


To your first point: Because you are on Stack Overflow you must be doing some IT/software development work. The next question is asking what industry you do this work in.

If I'm a developer of banking software, then I work in the banking industry.

  • 1
    What about the garbage man with his own little open source project? Or the student who's trying to improve her C++ skills? I, for one, although I do a little coding at work because I happen to have some such skills, am not employed as a developer.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jan 6, 2010 at 18:58
  • Well, then choose the 'other' category
    – jjnguy
    Jan 6, 2010 at 19:07
  • I did. So what do I put for "How long have you worked in the software development / IT industry?"
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jan 6, 2010 at 19:09
  • 1
    How ever long you have been writing code.
    – jjnguy
    Jan 6, 2010 at 19:22
  • I wouldn't have considered myself part of the SD/IT industry when I was eight.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jan 6, 2010 at 19:32
  • Well, neither would I. Whenever you started writing code with a product in mind. (Or some goal of higher learning) It isn't graded, just use your best judgment.
    – jjnguy
    Jan 6, 2010 at 19:38
  • No, it's not graded. And my point is not "What should I have answered"; my point is that the results of a survey that cannot unambiguously be answered are flawed. My point is that the question(s) should be revised. To quote a very wise man: "People can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that." SO obviously wants to present the results of this survey to their potential advertisers. If I was one of those, I'd say, "Oh yeah? 83% of your users have been in IT for more than 6 years? Can I see the survey questions, please?"
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jan 6, 2010 at 20:18
  • I agree that it is vague and poorly written.
    – jjnguy
    Jan 6, 2010 at 21:03

For #1: Most software developers do it as support for some other industry. My last job was as a programmer in the healthcare industry, for example. Now I'm an IT Director in the Education industry. I thought that was pretty clear, though I can see where it might puzzle a "pure" software developer.

For #2: The question has an "All of the above" answer that might fit better if you have that much influence.

  • I can "Specify/Select Products or Services" and "Evaluate Requirements" and "Help Define Needs" without having anything to do with the budget.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jan 6, 2010 at 18:59

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