[Linux-aus] surveys

Brent Wallis (IS) brent at wallis.id.au
Fri Jul 4 21:59:01 UTC 2003

(Please excuse the address change)
Bret Busby <bret at busby.net> wrote ..

> I'd say that the model that I proposed, would be adequate, and, likely
> as good as a survey performed by "professionals".

> As long as the survey(s) is/are formally run, with records kept of the
> methodology, for accountability, the running of the survey(s) should be
> equally credible, regardles of who runs it/them.

> I think that regular (eg, monthly), relatively small surveys, that take
> a few minutes to complete, would be better than exhaustive surveys that
> put people off doing them, would be preferable, to encourage 
> participation (and to bring out the lurkers :)

> The least work required by the survey respondents, the more likely 
> people are to respond to survey requests.

> I suggest that the results would likely be the same, whether 
> "professionals" conduct the survey(s), or, whether it is done by 
> volunteers.
> A forum/mailing list, in which I was involved, some time ago, was set up
> by ICANN/IANA, and the polls/elections, were run by the participants, 
> without any problems, and the results of the elections/polls, were 
> accepted by ICANN/IANA, without any problems.
> People have their attitudes to surveys - some think they are useful, and
> are willing to take them seriously, and others regard them as a heap of
> rubbish. That applies both to the people who are sought to participate,
> and, to the people who are asked to consider the survey outcomes. I 
> think that those attitudes do not depend on who does the surveys (unless
> whoever conducts the surveys, has a vested interest in the outcome, like
> a cigarette company testing for health problems from smoking, or, 
> certain governments looking for evidence of weapons of mass 
> destruction), and, given the way that Linux was created, and the nature
> of the Linux community, I suggest that a survey run by volunteers, would
> be appropriate, and, would probably have greater acceptance (in terms of
> people responding to the survey, as well as people considering the 
> survey results), than a survey run by "professionals".

Beware that lax or failed formality in the process does not ruin the perception of the outcome. A _correctly chosen_ paid professional could alleviate the requirements on our side in this regard.

I don't envy you... it's a big task, but I am sure the community would benefit from the effort you propose...

> -- 
> Bret Busby
> Armadale
> West Australia
> ..............
> "So once you do know what the question actually is,
>  you'll know what the answer means."
> - Deep Thought,
>   Chapter 28 of 
>   "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
>   A Trilogy In Four Parts",
>   written by Douglas Adams, 
>   published by Pan Books, 1992 
> ....................................................
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