Wikipedia talk:Straw polls

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Opening and closing times[edit]

  1. Straw polls should not have opening and closing times as votes do.
  2. A deadline for the survey should be considered so as to resolve the issue in a timely manner.

This seems a bit contradictory to me. --[[User2602:306:3B45:B650:DD27:8015:F031:66B2 (talk) 15:47, 13 November 2017 (UTC):El eassar|Eleassar≥→]] my talk 13:31, 7 March 2007 (UTC) Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page). 2602:306:3B45:B650:DD27:8015:F031:66B2 (talk) 15:47, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

what happened here?[edit]

Why did this policy suddenly become an essay?

Upped to guideline, will switch to policy if no-one disagrees within 7 days. --Kim Bruning 09:23, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

  • Policy? I thought you didn't believe in voting? The relevant parts of the guideline were moved to PNSD; the problem with having a guideline called "straw polls" is that it gives people (who tend not to read the entirety of such pages) the impression that straw polls are in most cases a good and useful idea. >Radiant< 10:50, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Alright. Hmm, so where do I find the guidelines to make a proper non-binding opinion poll (aka survey) now? I need them today :-). The Survey Guidelines redirect to here. :-/ --Kim Bruning 10:57, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
  • It goes roughly like this: (1) list options; (2) get people to !vote; (3) argue over results; (4) argue over what the questions were; (5) argue over quorum; (6) argue over the arguing. I am told that surveys like this typically don't provide very much useful data, and that the outcome is going to be biased towards whatever the writer wants to see. >Radiant< 11:29, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
True, but some kinds of survey can possibly be useful. At any rate, some people feel a burning need for polls. It would be nice to actually describe the safest (for some definition of safe) way to do them, if people must really do them. --Kim Bruning 11:51, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Like I said, if one would describe the safest (or arguably, least unsafe) way of doing that, people would assume it was always safe, and feel justified in their burning need, and the next thing you know is we have people vote on facts again. >Radiant< 11:59, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
well, that's what we have now too. Usually it helps to be able to point to something solid. :-/ *scratches head* --Kim Bruning 18:44, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Reworking this back to guideline designation[edit]

Ok, I've decided to take it upon myself to head up getting this page back into shape as a descriptive explanation for how Wikipedia conducts straw polls. It is incorrect to utilize this page as a soapbox for anti-polling as has been previously done. This is not the page to do that. I encourage fellow editors to help formulate this descriptive page to be in accord with what occurs everyday on Wikipedia so that it can thereby become a rule of thumb for folks who may be inexperienced on forming polls. (Netscott) 12:47, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Hmm, I'd love to write something about people challenging each other's opinions. And we've never really covered the concept of rough consensus before. Feeling up to it? --Kim Bruning 13:12, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
That sounds like a good idea... but first this should be returned to being a guideline... as you've previously said there needs to be something solid for people to look to when they are going to go about gauging some aspect of a discussion. (Netscott) 13:17, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Hm, interesting... you want a neutral guideline, but at the same time you only want to cover the side of the situation that matches your POV, calling the issues you disagree with "soapboxing" [1] [2], and hiding the parts of Wikihistory that don't match with your opinion, such as Quickpolls. Needless to say that's not going to work. The best solution would probably be to redirect this page to WP:PNSD, which already covers everything you're trying to cover here. >Radiant< 13:51, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
No, you're wrong.. this isn't the page to talk about "anti-polling" this is the page to describe current practice on Wikipedia. Unfortunately it appears that editors were a bit confused about this previously and I've decided to clear the air. As the page matures it will of course be logical to include a short history of polling on Wikipedia but now's not the time... what needs to be done now is to make an illustrative guide on what to do when an editor wants to formulate a straw poll regarding a given issue. (Netscott) 13:56, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Precisely what I said, you want to write a POV essay that covers the issue only from your angle. The most appropriate spot for POV essays is your userspace. >Radiant< 13:59, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

If there's consensus to turn this into a variation on VINE, that's your perogative. But I doubt you'll be able to get it accepted as a guideline if it's taking a pro-polling position. --Minderbinder 14:31, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

This isn't "pro-polling" nor is it "anti-polling" this is describing current Wikipedia project practices. Was that not understood? (Netscott) 14:35, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
  • You're well aware that you are deliberatly omitting the important caveats. >Radiant< 14:43, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

I understand that's how you describe it. I just don't agree that it's describing current practice. --Minderbinder 14:36, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
So you disagree that polling occurs on an hourly basis on Wikipedia? (Netscott) 14:38, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Ah, we get the false dichotomy now, and the fallacy of many questions. What's next? >Radiant< 14:43, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
  • No false dichotomy, just like User:Kim Bruning was pointing out above... there needs to be a solid place for editors to use as a guideline when formulating any one of numerous polls that are conducted on an hourly basis here. (Netscott) 14:46, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
    • Ah yes, the proof by assertion is next. Unless you're referring to xFD/FAC/RFA, there's no way that we conduct numerous polls on an hourly basis. If you are referring to xFD/FAC/RFA, we have plenty of suggestion pages on that already. >Radiant< 14:50, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Well getting this page back to its former guideline recognition is probably going to be a bit like pulling teeth much like WP:!VOTE has been... but that's fine, a healthy debate is good. Given the level of dissent on that page it is a safe bet that there will be plenty of support for a descriptive guideline (particular given recent developments). (Netscott) 15:08, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
On a site with a million articles, I doubt there's much that doesn't happen on an hourly basis, including vandalism, misspellings, etc. Polling certainly happens, but it often is a mess and makes things worse. Polling can help in some cases, but I think a page talking about how to do polling should be clear about the potential problems so that editors can try to avoid them, or be able to make an informed decision whether polling is even worth it. --Minderbinder 15:28, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Of course, all that we need to bear in mind is the mantra this page is descriptive, not prescriptive. That's what makes a good guideline. Minderbinder, have you looked at current version and seen something that wasn't descriptive in the text? (Netscott) 15:48, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Well, yes, your deliberate omission of the facts that don't support your point of view. Half a truth is a whole lie. >Radiant< 15:52, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I don't see description of the problems that often happen with polling. It's not really descriptive if it selectively omits part of the description. --Minderbinder 15:54, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Radiant: That information MUST be added sooner or later, as that is the requirement for a descriptive guideline. If you can provide such information, well, that's all the better. :-) --Kim Bruning 15:56, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Again, this isn't "pro-polling" or "anti-polling", this page isn't meant to address such issues. That unfortunately is where so much confusion here has stemmed from. Now we're moving away from such pro or con soapboxing on this page and heading into guideline territory. I know "voting is evil" and "voting is not evil" folks are going to want to express their POVs here but that sort of editing really needs to be curtailed if this page is going to move forward. (Netscott) 15:57, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Note that we're just being NPOV here. And NPOV is NPOV, no matter where it's used:

I mean , if in particular situations we have found that straw polls blow up in our faces, we write "in this situation, straw polls blow up in our faces". If a straw poll miraculously worked, we say "It miraculously worked here". If it turns out that 99% of all straw polls are abused, we write that 99% of straw polls are abused, beware, you might be messing up too, expected opposition, etc....

--Kim Bruning 15:51, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

I'd agree with that. Let's see how this comes along when the notes at the bottom get integrated. --Minderbinder 15:54, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

NPOV/ invitation[edit]

Think of this as writing an NPOV encyclopedia article about "Polling on wikipedia". We can do NPOV, some of Reliable Sources, we can't quite cover Original Research or conflict of interest, since this is about our own practices, but we can try to get as close as possible. That's the basic idea.

If you think that this is a novel concept, think again: this is how all the old policy pages on wikipedia got written. :-)

Worst case this page doesn't make it to policy status, but we might still learn a lot. Care to give it a try?

--Kim Bruning 16:04, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, and descriptive... again the mantra needs to be: no soapboxing either pro or con on the idea of polling. At this point I don't see a need for this page to ever become policy but there is most certainly a need for a guideline. (Netscott) 16:07, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
While I understand the position that guidelines on Wikipedia are supposed to be "descriptive", I see at least two issues with that in this case; first, What if there are multiple practices in use on Wikipedia, depending on which people are the most active in a particular article or group of articles (or policy or group of policies)? This appears to be the case in terms of polling. There are some people who like to run around telling people who start polls that "voting is evil", but they can't be everywhere, and often the people who start the polls just ignore them. How do you "describe" common practice when there are multiple, competing practices with no commonality? Second, wouldn't it be more helpful to the users and especially newer users, to have a page that says when polls should (and shouldn't) be used, and how to do them, even if formulating that advice requires some adjustments to, or clarification of, current practice? And it is clear that this will be required if my first point is correct, as the disparate practices will have to be harmonized. It seems to me that on something as basic (or in Jimbo's recent words, "constitutional") as the fundamental decision-making process on Wikipedia, some "prescription" is going to have to take place. 6SJ7 17:00, 3 April 2007 (UTC)


This page is becoming pretty pointless. We already have a page that accurately describes how and when to poll on Wikipedia, and that's WP:PNSD. If we fill in this page with all the situations and the caveats, that's exactly what we'll end up with. If we leave out what Netscott calls "soapboxing" and what the rest of us call "warnings about when not to use polls", we end up with a POV essay. Either way we're not writing anything here that hasn't been written before. >Radiant< 16:11, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

That hasn't been written before, indeed... and it was a guideline before as well. When folks are going around saying "voting is evil" there's no mistaking that for what it is, soapboxing. As I explained on your talk page... polling is not evil it is just a tool. Better to educate editors descriptively about how to use that tool beneficially than keep our heads in the sand like ostriches foolishly and see editors misuse it through ignorance. (Netscott) 16:15, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
When people go around saying "wikipedia is not a democracy" is that soapboxing as well? --Minderbinder 16:22, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Right, you might as well add that Wikipedia is NOT a government when you say that. The simple fact to the matter is that it is not uncommon to find organizations that are not democracies but that do employ polling. (Netscott) 16:26, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Different story, I think. At any rate, polling is... tricky... to get right, at least. Can we agree on that? --Kim Bruning 17:38, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
That and I haven't seen some of the "points to be integrated" elsewhere, at least not explicitly. Please provide links or diffs if you can point them out? (I'd love to have them to whack people over the head with, when they're being clueless again. ;-) ) --Kim Bruning 17:39, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Polling guidelilne vs. polling pulpit[edit]

There is confusion here. This page is going to be for guidelines on how to conduct a poll, not whether polling is evil or not. Polling happens on Wikipedia and editors need a guideline on how to do that. The anti-polling or pro-polling viewpoints should be left to other pages (which obviously this page will reference). (Netscott) 08:49, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Pro- or anti-viewpoints have nothing to do with it. Any page that explains how to do things needs also explain when (or when not) to do things. For instance, our blocking policy doesn't only explain how to block, but also when (and when not) to block. Note, by the way, that we already have a guideline that explains how to conduct a poll. >Radiant< 08:54, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Obviously there is a need for a guideline. I am going to be reviewing the history of the development of this page to try to better understand how its utilization as a guideline became derailed and then see if what caused it to become derailed can be properly addressed. (Netscott) 09:12, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
    • There is certainly need for a guideline, and that's why we have a guideline: WP:PNSD. One might argue that there is also need for a policy, and indeed we already have one: WP:DEMO. >Radiant< 09:17, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
  • No, there is reason this page was a guideline (which even you yourself tagged it as such) that is not covered by "polling is not a substitute for discussion" which lets face it PNSD is just a POV fork of its original page meta:Polling is evil. (Netscott) 09:24, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
    • False. PNSD was expanded to cover that, which is why PNSD is a guideline and there is no need fo this page. m:polling is evil is a POV page, yes, that's why PNSD was rewritten from scratch, doesn't even remotely resemble VIE, and is a neutral guideline. >Radiant< 09:30, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
I suggest we move the how-to-do-a-poll parts of PNSD to this page, and leave the explicit "we do consensus" at pnsd. --Kim Bruning 11:28, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
  • That's an interesting suggestion, but the result would be that the people who read this page remain unaware that "we do consensus". >Radiant< 11:38, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
  • WP:PNSD is not a guideline, regardless of whether there is a tag on it that says it is. Part of the reason the tag is still there is that someone got one of their admin friends to threaten to block me if I removed the guideline tag again, and then someone protected the page (although I wasn't going to remove it again anyway, because of the threat). 6SJ7 15:34, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Confusing tag[edit]

It's kind of novel (not to mention confusing) to note that "this page's designation as policy is disputed" on a page that is not in fact designated as policy. I suspect {{controversial}} is what is meant instead? >Radiant< 09:36, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

It is not confusing, you are disputing this page being designated as a guideline. Also you've misused the {{controversial}} tag which is only meant for talk pages. (Netscott) 09:38, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
If you are suggesting that this should be a guideline, I suggest you read up on how guidelines are created. At the moment, you are writing a POV essay here. >Radiant< 09:44, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
No, I am working toward reestablishing this page's previous designation as a guideline (here tagged by none other than yourself as one). (Netscott) 10:08, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
  • But that is pointless as it has been superseded. If you're going to cite me you should also listen to what I'm actually saying, rather than misrepresenting me by ignoring the context. >Radiant< 10:40, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
  • If you're going to misrepresent this page as only ever having been some non-descript "essay" then I'm going to cite the facts particularly when they involve yourself. (Netscott) 10:42, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
    • And where did I say that this page "only ever [has] been some non-descript 'essay'"? For starters essays aren't non-descript. See, you're misrepresenting me. Again. Stop that. >Radiant< 10:46, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Radiant, let people write out a description here. If it sucks, it sucks, and we drop it. If it works, it works, and we keep it. But please let them work on it, and let's see what they come up with first.
So this page is currently a safe place where folks can be bold and try stuff out. I'd like to see people working on the page itself, not sniping at each other on the talk page for no reason other than to vent their frustrations. Done venting now. Time for working.--Kim Bruning 11:32, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Thank you Kim Bruning for such a sensible suggestion! :-) (Netscott) 11:33, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
You're welcome. At the same time, it might be a bad idea to label Radiant's quite helpful suggestions as "anti polling propganda". Much of what he's saying are things we learned the hard way, over large periods of time. These are known caveats to polling. You'll have to resolve those issues with Radiant, else the page will never be neutral. :-/ --Kim Bruning 11:39, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
I just want things to read accurately. As I'm doing a survey of polling on the project I'm seeng how it is actually rather commonly used. I really don't appreciate when things are misrepresented. Also I think the {{disputedtag}} should go back up instead of that adhoc {{controversial}} tag created by Radiant! (Netscott) 11:47, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Please look up "accurately" and "common" in the dictionary. Anyone can find a couple dozen instances of polling on Wikipedia (aside from AFD/RFA/etc). A couple dozen instances over the course of five years is not "common". >Radiant< 12:02, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
12 / ~3 000 000 * 100% = 0.0004% ...Wait, a couple dozen? Let's try 100... 0.0033% . The man might have a bit of a point there.
Perhaps polls are mostly used on really busy pages? (I'm guessing there might be 3000 of those? (there were 1000 in jan 2006, when we had ~ 1M pages) ) In that case it'd be 3% of very busy locations. (rough estimate).
I think perhaps more polls are being held? I know that requested moves spams them across the entire main namespace, for instance.
How would one search a db dump for polls... via looking for ==Support== perhaps? ^^;;
--Kim Bruning 12:36, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

←Polls have been used in very notable cases on Wikipedia when forming guidelines and policies. What is the sense in trying to deny this? (Netscott) 12:40, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Well, when trying to. In the few cases where the polls were defining, the process design typically doesn't work too well. (correlation!= causation, but I have my suspicions... typically it's when people spend more time designing polls and the poll process, than they spend actually designing the darn process itself, ARGH! ;-) ).
Most really good processes are formed through consensus and through writing down a descriptive representation of current practice. (So, basically same as what we're trying to do here :-) )
--Kim Bruning 12:54, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Nobody denies that polls have been used. However, you need to look past the surface and see that (1) in far more cases, polls have not been used, (2) in nearly all cases where polls were used, the "outcome" of the poll was later superseded (improved) by discussion (because as Kim says, issues designed by poll typically don't work too well), (3) in several cases where polls were used, they didn't actually help, and (4) in several notable cases, polls caused a trainwreck and we would have been far better off without them. >Radiant< 12:58, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Well as long as we're going to be continuing to have key polls on Wikipedia there obviously needs to be a guideline page specifically addressing that. Kim Bruning is right this smallish section of WP:!VOTE should be here with the rest of the expanded detail about polling. (Netscott) 13:01, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
    • Based on what I just said as well as on WP:ATT, it would make far more sense to not continue to have key polls, except when a poll is explicitly requested by Jimbo. >Radiant< 13:25, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Uh, no. That logic is very counter to WP:JIMBOSAID. Look your anti-polling POV is well expressed here why don't you follow Kim Bruning's suggestion above and, "let people write out a description here" as well as, " I'd like to see people working on the page itself, not sniping at each other"... which I completely agree with. (Netscott) 14:01, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
    • WP:KETTLE. If you don't want to see people sniping, stop sniping (as you did in your previous post). Also, the pro-polling POV you're pushing is very obvious, so that's another WP:KETTLE. >Radiant< 14:02, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Kindly just answer the question please or let us get on with the business of writing this guideline in peace. (Netscott) 15:10, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
  • You haven't stopped sniping yet. In case you haven't realized it yet, you're trying to get people who don't share your POV to stop editing this page, through using demeaning language. There is a word for such behavior... >Radiant< 15:14, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
You're avoiding the question regarding your unhelpful edit. (Netscott) 15:22, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Woah woah... what makes the edit unhelpful, according to you, Netscott? Radiant, why is that edit helpful, according to you? --Kim Bruning 15:36, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
They are unhelpful because they are irrelevant in the grand scheme of this page. They're added there to belittle the other rather serious polls that have been conducted surrounding Wikipedia policies and guidelines. This is clouding the issue. Basically they're there for "red herring" purposes. (Netscott) 15:41, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
  • False. They're notable polls, which was what you called the section before you decided to focus on the polls on policy. I note that you have refused several times now to stop making personal attacks. It's very unproductive that you want to chase off everyone who doesn't share your POV by attacking them, and demanding they stop editing here. >Radiant< 08:03, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
You guys are BOTH doing that. Stop fighting already, or we'll just delete *both* pages you like ^^;; --Kim Bruning 16:19, 5 April 2007 (UTC)


Given their obviously poor track record, what makes you think we should be "continuing to have key polls" in the first place? >Radiant< 15:09, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Can we hold that question for a while? It might sort itself out automatically, as we edit further. ^^;; --Kim Bruning 15:37, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
There is a name for the type of logical fallacy engaged in by Radiant above, where one states an unproven assertion ("their obviously poor track record") as the premise for a question in an effort to avoid any discussion about whether the assertion is correct or not, but I forget what it is. I just call it a "When did you stop beating your wife" question. There also is a second rhetorical trick in there, that of putting the word "obviously" in front of an assertion to try to distract attention away from the fact that the assertion is not only not obvious, but is in fact disputed. Please note, I am not saying that polling has a good track record; what I believe is that, in highly controversial articles, discussion and polling have equally poor track records, so there is no justification for singling out polling. 6SJ7 15:43, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Just for my own curiosity, what other major polls of the ATT scale have there been before that didn't work out? Wikipedia:Attribution/Poll, Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Usability/Main Page/Final archive, and the 3rr polls (can't find the link now). - Denny (talk) 19:56, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Well in order for a poll to "work out" all it has to do is establish what the state of affairs are about a given issue in terms of what views folks hold on the issue. So pretty much the only way a poll wouldn't "work out" is if it was canceled or otherwise wasn't valid in some way (ie: a poll about whether a given logically constructed statement was true or not.... obviously the statement is going to be true or not regardless of the poll). There is now an incomplete list of policy and guideline related polls in the see also section of this page that you might like to review. (Netscott) 20:30, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Sounds like you have a solid grasp on what a poll is. --Kim Bruning 00:44, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Just no[edit]

See this thing here. It's called NPOV.

See this other thing. It's called a straw poll.

When you put them together, there's this big grinding noise.

Don't make the grinding noise. A kitten is killed by the grinder every time you have a poll. Because they're evil. And evil makes kittens suffer. Grace Note 23:18, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Ayup. Straw Polls on article content equals wikiality. I think we covered that in points to be included. Perhaps you'd like to edit the page so that that point is in fact integrated with the main text? --Kim Bruning 00:40, 5 April 2007 (UTC) Dang, missed the opportunity to do a cat reference!
Funny enough per WP:TPG I'm half-tempted to remove this talk. This talk page is for improving this project page. The "… is evil" mantra is getting tiring already. That is what is known as soapboxing. Straw polls are used daily on Wikipedia. It is time to stop denying this and to properly address it with guidelines on how to best go about employing them correctly. (Netscott) 01:41, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Just ask folks to be constructive already. :-/ --Kim Bruning 01:57, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Oh. I thought Grace Note was supporting polling by satirizing its opponents. No? As for wikiality, it is defined as truth by agreement. It is the so-called "consensus" process that produces wikiality, not polling. Of course, polling should be used with great caution on content pages. We shouldn't be voting on what the facts are. But it can be used for other things. 6SJ7 02:05, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
  • "Straw polls are used daily on Wikipedia." unless you refer to RFA/xFD/FAC, please provide evidence of this assertion? All you have so far is evidence that we've had a couple dozen polls over the past five years. What you're doing is known as soapboxing, not to mention proof by assertion, and putting up straw men. >Radiant< 08:37, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
  • What made you think that I wasn't including those? (Netscott) 16:39, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
  • (Why don't we all indent the same way? - colons or stars?, make a decision)

    I think there are more polls over content than Radiant suggests. I've personally seen polls on BC/AD vs BCE/CE, whether to use the word "death" when defining Abortion, whether an infobox should place the Iraq War in a campaign called the "Global War on Terrorism", whether to include images in the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy article, and at least one or two more. I'm only one person, so I imagine there have been quite a lot more. I do a lot of Wikipedia:requested moves, and at least 80% of those involve a poll, which isn't directly about article content, but it's close. When you decide which language's name to use for a river or city, or whether an event in a war is an "incident" or a "massacre" or a "tragedy" or a "battle", you're deciding content. Should we be doing it differently? -GTBacchus(talk) 20:38, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

  • +1 for Grace Note here. Here's the thing: ad-hoc straw polls can be a great way of cutting down a number of potential and nuanced versions of a proposal, it's just a bizarre coincidence that the situations in which they are proposed are so often the places where they serve no purpose but to document the fact that there are opposite views to which, if pressed, people who actually broadly agree on something roughly in the middle, will polarise. Guy (Help!) 17:38, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
So then we should stamp out polls entirely. I'm not sure I want to go that far though. Sometimes they are useful at least. A well designed poll might go along lines of "Ok, I agree with mot folks" and "I still have issues I'd like to discuss" .. hmmm... --Kim Bruning 17:44, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
(e/c)Well by that logic Guy, what are we doing using polls so extensively on XfDs, RfA, ArbCom elections, Wikipedia:Attribution/Poll.. etc? This view is very simplistic... all a poll does is guage what the state of a consensus on a given issue is. Again, rather than deny this and continue to push for a blanket all "polling is evil" mantra let guidelines be formed that at least will enhance the opportunities that such a poll will have some benefit? This given the absolute certitude that polling is going to continue to play a big roll in the day in, day out functioning of the project. (Netscott) 17:48, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Putting some effort towards mitigating the pain at the least, might be worth a couple of hours. :-) --Kim Bruning 18:02, 5 April 2007 (UTC)


Yes I see several now, you're right, but the overlap is not 100%. This means we're going to have to do an actual refactor, sooner or later (preferably sooner). *sigh*. No time, no time ^^:; --Kim Bruning 16:22, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

The actual issue[edit]

There is a lot of confusion about the dispute here and on WP:PNSD, so let's look at what it's about.

Now the issue isn't that polling happens; nobody is denying that.

The issue isn't whether we should give suggestions on how to poll; nobody is denying that either. Note how WP:PNSD already gives a screenful of such suggestions. Are these imperfect? Nobody is denying that either. But we can fix them.

Then why would we split them off to some other page? The answer is very simple. The people promoting this are largely the same people who object to the very idea of discouraging voting, and want PNSD deprecated. So they are trying to replace a page that discourages and explains voting, by a page that only explains voting but does not discourage anything.

But as we clearly know from article space, a disagreement over a page is not resolved by splitting the page into two "forks". First, this results in two contradictory pages, and second, this gives us two pages with disagreement on them. Rather than resolving the issue, this approach perpetuates it. So instead such issues are resolved through careful discussion on the talk page. You have suggestions for improving PNSD? Make them. That's how the wiki process works. >Radiant< 07:52, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Definitions section gone missing[edit]

Hey, we totally lost the definitions!? Restored.

Definately needs some editing still... --Kim Bruning 12:01, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Notable polls[edit]

I suggest we come up with a workable definition of 'notable poll' (judged by impact, most of these polls weren't notable; judged by WP:N, none of them are) as well as 'significant numbers' of Wikipedians (since we have over a million users, 100 doesn't seem all that significant). By the way I've edited the 'policy polls' section to remove some polls that weren't actually about policy, since adding them there is misleading.

Additionally, the section on "feature request" polls is misleading in that there are over 9000 such issues (so the two polls are not the common case but the rare exception) and that these two polls were ignored by the devs. >Radiant< 10:39, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Well it is rather common knowledge that at any one time there are generally 1,000 or so active Wikipedians so when 10% or more of that number particpates in a poll that is notable. As far as the featured requests... correct me if I am wrong but the request to have different levels of blocking did go through, did it not? Have you reviewed the What is troll poll? That poll was concerned about policy surrounding trollish behavior. (Netscott) 10:43, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Do you have a source for that common knowledge? To my knowledge there are approx 900 active admins, so one would expect an amount of active users several orders of magnitude larger. Having, say, 100 supports on an RFA is not nearly as special as it used to be.
WRT the blocking feature request, yes, it was implemented, but the poll was not a factor in deciding whether to implement it. Note that the poll started October 2005, the implementation was done in May 2006, and the poll ended September 2006. It is generally not helpful towards the devs to suggest that things will be implemented if enough people ask for it (or that things won't be implemented unless enough people ask for it), because that simply isn't true. >Radiant< 11:15, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
It is silly to try and downplay whether these polls were notable. What percentage of what happens on the Wiki is determined by those 900 admins? When it comes to policy and guideline forming, etc. you can be sure that those are the folks doing most if not all of the "heavy lifting". As far as the feature request, the polling was undoubtedly a factor in that so there's really no point in trying to downplay that either. Radiant! it is difficult to understand your push to limit the significance that polling has played (and plays) on the project. The fact that polling is itself a part of the dispute resolution process speaks volumes to its standing in the community. (Netscott) 11:46, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Proof by assertion isn't, and your opinion isn't fact. Please show any kind of evidence that "those do most of the heavy lifting" and that it was "undoubtedly a factor"? >Radiant< 11:50, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Now you're just being obtuse, you ask any Wikipedian that has been around for any length of time and you will hear the same thing regarding the "heavy lifting" commentary. As far as the poll being a factor, you don't think the developers read that poll and took what people were actually saying in their comments as they formulated that new functionality? Your inclination to discount the fact that people actually discuss and comment in polls is a bit puzzling. (Netscott) 11:57, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
    • So you're saying that the ~900 active admins do most of the "heavy lifting", and that therefore having 100 responses to a poll is a "significant figure", even though most of those poll respondents aren't actually admins. That's comparing apples and oranges, and therefore fallacious. Also, I dispute the assertion that the admins do most of the heavy lifting, based on the fact that many RC patrollers, WSS members, and vandal fighters aren't admins. Simply put, you're assuming things, and as they say, assuming makes an ass out of U and me. >Radiant< 12:08, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
I am talking about folks who are the ones formulating policies and guidelines much like what's happened on WP:ATT and then particpate in related polls. Again, have you forgotten that folks comment, discuss and make suggestions during polling? (Netscott) 12:16, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
  • No I'm not, and that's just something you assumed again because I haven't said anything like that. Your assumption that most of the "heavy lifting" is done by admins is contradicted by the fact that most of the respondents to ATT aren't admins. So like I said, 100 users out of an estimate of 90000 active users is not a significant figure. Again I note that you're really not responding to anything I say, but instead simply repeat what you've said before. That's not productive. >Radiant< 12:26, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Actually you've not proved anything yourself. There's a claim you make a counter claim neither of us have any solid "proof" and there we go. I continue to edit according to the fact that polling has been utilized (and is frequently utilized) as a tool to guage consensus for many many aspects of the project's functioning and development and you edit to counter that. Nothing new here. (Netscott) 12:31, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Tu quoque fallacy. I've proven that 100 users out of 90000 active users is not a significant group, and that implementation feature request is not based upon a poll that closed several months after the request was implemented. But indeed, nothing new here, you just keep repeating the same false assumptions like a broken record. >Radiant< 12:45, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

←(e/c)Your editing strikes me as odd when you yourself tagged this page as a guideline and you've played an integral role behind editing surrounding WP:100 (even in its first edits), etc. I'm not sure what happened but somewhere along the line your mentality shifted. Puzzling. (Netscott) 12:49, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Your editing strikes me as odd when you yourself tagged this page as an essay. But yes, somewhere along the line I figured out that polls are pointless and/or harmful more often than not. I'm tempted to add a quote about padawans, but never mind. >Radiant< 13:05, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Well we'll get this page to guideline designation or have it properly integrated into a singular page about polling called Wikipedia:Polling it just needs a bit of time and work. (Netscott) 13:07, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Request removal of mfd tag[edit]

{{editprotected}} The MfD was withdrawn, so please remove the {{mfd}} tag.

(Is it time to unprotect the page yet?)

Cheers, CWC 17:54, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

I would like to see the page unprotected please. <cross fingers> --Kim Bruning 12:11, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

I unprotected the page, as discussion has died down in a few places. CMummert · talk 14:08, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Opinion headnote[edit]

I have deleted the {{rejected}} headnote that was posted by a a now inactive editor. The headnote was added in 2007 here and removed here. --Tenmei (talk) 15:56, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Vandalism edit request[edit]

At the Definitions: Polling and Voting section of the page, there are the phrases "door gods" and "Pepsi". These phrases should be "particular points" and "time" Prodirus (talk) 04:43, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

 Done. --ThomasO1989 (talk) 04:49, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

Rare experiments[edit]

"[...], although there are very rare experiments." Did the writer mean "exceptions"? (Also, whatever the case may be, is "very rare" accurate?) -- (talk) 03:03, 10 February 2015 (UTC)