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How should one ask polling questions?

I want to get an analysis on certain questions, say what is used in your work area:

  1. Use of foreign keys that are physically present in database
  2. Only conceptual foreign keys.


Depending on these options, one can answer and leave their feedback.

This could provide good suggestions for implementing, along with having clear understanding why we are using these techniques.

What's the appropriate way to do that kind of polling?

  • Could you clarify this? Is "Stack" meaning "Stack Overflow" or "Stack Exchange"? Are you asking about how to ask poll-like question? This sounds like a [support] or [discussion] but is tagged like a [feature-request].
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jun 8, 2010 at 13:18
  • 2
    Protip: Don't copy and paste the title into the question body, it annoys people.
    – Aarobot
    Jun 8, 2010 at 13:21
  • I apologise to all who got into problem because of bad representaion of mine. Jun 8, 2010 at 13:39
  • 3
    Protip 2: first protip meant to add more content rather than taking it away. Copying the question in body brings nothing, the body should add more details, simply.
    – Gnoupi
    Jun 8, 2010 at 13:44

2 Answers 2



First, do a Google search against Stack Overflow to see if your poll has already been done. Chances are good it has. You can do this by doing the following in Google:

site:stackoverflow.com your relevant search terms

Second, polls tend to be considerably more frowned upon now than they used to be. A year ago, they were semi-permissible, depending on whether or not they brought any interesting content to the table. Nowadays, with the community and guidelines having been solidified more greatly, they tend to be considered noise by a massive segment of the population, myself included.

If you absolutely, positively feel you must do a poll on Stack Overflow (again, see first line here), at a minimum mark it Community Wiki. This is not just to prevent rep gain, but also to allow for users to edit the entries more easily (with lower rep requirements for editing). This has been something of the "standard" on poll questions.

But again, seriously, don't. I'll bet you a doughnut your poll has been asked already, or that it isn't actually programming-related.

  • +1 I could not have said it better myself. Jun 8, 2010 at 21:05

If you can ask specific questions about solving real problems, you'll get much better results than asking open-ended questions with no direction.

Examples (a little long here to show what I mean, make your actual question titles more succinct):

  • Should foreign keys be part of the actual data, or contrived numbers, as most primary keys are? (still a bit too vague and open-ended)
  • How would [this specific schema] affect query optimization, using [specific version of database software]?
  • How to optimize [this specific query], including the possibility of changing the schema?
  • How do non-numeric foreign keys affect [something specific] in [specific software]?

If you post more examples of what you want to find out, especially if you include more details of the direction you want to take and what your requirements are, I'll try to post more examples here. (Ping me using comments.)

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