View Poll Results: Which are better, public or private polls?

Voters
34. You may not vote on this poll
  • Public

    7 20.59%
  • Private

    16 47.06%
  • OTHER/IT DEPENDS

    11 32.35%
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Thread: Public voting vs. secret ballot; which is better and why?

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    Public voting vs. secret ballot; which is better and why?

    Here on DP polls may be set up where voters selections are secret or where votes are published along with each voters user name. As someone who works in a field where market research is conducted, polling data on consumer preferences is collected, I realize anonymity is important if ACCURATE feedback is desired.

    Extreme example: ask 100 people do they ever secretly want to cheat on their spouse whether they plan to ever give into that temptation or not in a poll where respondents' identities will not be disclosed, I'd bet you would get double digits (at least 10%) saying yes. However, ask the exact same question to the exact same respondents in a poll where as a courtesy, a copy of their response will be emailed to their spouse, children, next door neighbor and church to be published in the church bulletin; I doubt there will be very many yes votes. I think this would be because whenever you publish the identities of voters as a condition of voting, you inadvertently change the intent of the voter from giving their honest feedback to maintaining their own image.

    I always presumed people understood this but again, research is part of my job. We get polls, both public and private, all the time here. On a couple of occasions I've even seen posts expressing frustration that a poll is private and I've never understood that.

    Which are better, public or private polls and why?
    Last edited by Smeagol; 01-30-14 at 07:56 AM.
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    Re: Public voting vs. secret ballot; which is better and why?

    It's kind of odd here because I think that guests can vote on anonymous polls, and you wouldn't know that they're guests. So if you just want the opinions of DP members, you could use an open poll and discard the guest results.

    More often though, when someone posts an open poll, it's because they're looking for a Gotcha! moment.
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    Re: Public voting vs. secret ballot; which is better and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Smeagol View Post
    Here on DP polls may be set up where voters selections are secret or where votes are published along with each voters user name. As someone who works in a field where market research is conducted, polling data on consumer preferences is collected, I realize anonymity is important if ACCURATE feedback is desired.

    Extreme example: ask 100 people do they ever secretly want to cheat on their spouse whether they plan to ever give into that temptation or not in a poll where respondents' identities will not be disclosed, I'd bet you would get double digits (at least 10%) saying yes. However, ask the exact same question to the exact same respondents in a poll where as a courtesy, a copy of their response will be emailed to their spouse, children, next door neighbor and church to be published in the church bulletin; I doubt there will be very many yes votes. I think this would be because whenever you publish the identities of voters as a condition of voting, you inadvertently change to intent of the voter from giving their honest feedback to maintaining their own image.

    I always presumed people understood this but again, research is part of my job. We get polls, both public and private, all the time here. On a couple of occasions I've even seen posts expressing frustration that a poll is private and I've never understood that.

    Which are better, public or private polls and why?
    I think you may have missed the mark a bit here. Publishing the names of voters, but not their actual individual ballot/survey selections, causes no great harm (unless a ballot/poll choice was unanimous). It is the publishing of who selected what choice that makes "dishonest" answers more apt to be given, but also makes the poll results more reputable (easier to analyze) since the sampling is not "random" and associations between the lean (bias?) of the participants and the poll question result(s) can be better understood. Simply knowing that the poll was responded to by 70% X (conservatives, males or young) and 30% Y (liberals, females or old) helps but more can be learned if you also know which selections appealed to (or were disliked by) those in a particular group - and, in our political discussion forum, we seek to learn why that particular choice was selected.

    The purpose of polls here is not to get scientific or random poll results but to better understand why certain beliefs are held.
    “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself.
    Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” ― George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

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    Re: Public voting vs. secret ballot; which is better and why?

    I question (in question) answers your question.

    Wishing whether to open ones self up to public scrutiny is always a factor.

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    Re: Public voting vs. secret ballot; which is better and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by molten_dragon View Post
    It's kind of odd here because I think that guests can vote on anonymous polls, and you wouldn't know that they're guests. So if you just want the opinions of DP members, you could use an open poll and discard the guest results.

    More often though, when someone posts an open poll, it's because they're looking for a Gotcha! moment.
    I would like to know if, in fact, guests can vote in an anonymous vote before answering.
    Generally, it depends on how truthful you are. Given general anonymity at DP, I suspect that members who are sincere will answer as such, while trolls and the like don't give it much thought.

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    Re: Public voting vs. secret ballot; which is better and why?

    As the individual identities of DP members is not a known or publicised fact (except for a few exceptions) I see no real difference between public or secret voting here.
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    Re: Public voting vs. secret ballot; which is better and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by ttwtt78640 View Post
    I think you may have missed the mark a bit here. Publishing the names of voters, but not their actual individual ballot/survey selections, causes no great harm (unless a ballot/poll choice was unanimous). It is the publishing of who selected what choice that makes "dishonest" answers more apt to be given, but also makes the poll results more reputable (easier to analyze) since the sampling is not "random" and associations between the lean (bias?) of the participants and the poll question result(s) can be better understood. Simply knowing that the poll was responded to by 70% X (conservatives, males or young) and 30% Y (liberals, females or old) helps but more can be learned if you also know which selections appealed to (or were disliked by) those in a particular group - and, in our political discussion forum, we seek to learn why that particular choice was selected.

    The purpose of polls here is not to get scientific or random poll results but to better understand why certain beliefs are held.
    Here, the usernames of each member is listed under the each poll question indicating how they voted, not just that they voted.

    As a BTW, I hardly ever participate in polls where how I voted is posted and personally do not consider the results of such polls to be accurate reflections.
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    Re: Public voting vs. secret ballot; which is better and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Smeagol View Post
    Here on DP polls may be set up where voters selections are secret or where votes are published along with each voters user name. As someone who works in a field where market research is conducted, polling data on consumer preferences is collected, I realize anonymity is important if ACCURATE feedback is desired.

    Extreme example: ask 100 people do they ever secretly want to cheat on their spouse whether they plan to ever give into that temptation or not in a poll where respondents' identities will not be disclosed, I'd bet you would get double digits (at least 10%) saying yes. However, ask the exact same question to the exact same respondents in a poll where as a courtesy, a copy of their response will be emailed to their spouse, children, next door neighbor and church to be published in the church bulletin; I doubt there will be very many yes votes. I think this would be because whenever you publish the identities of voters as a condition of voting, you inadvertently change the intent of the voter from giving their honest feedback to maintaining their own image.

    I always presumed people understood this but again, research is part of my job. We get polls, both public and private, all the time here. On a couple of occasions I've even seen posts expressing frustration that a poll is private and I've never understood that.

    Which are better, public or private polls and why?
    The only reason I make all my polls public is because this is the internet. No poll that is done on the internet is accurate unless it is public. The reason being it is quite easy to vote multiple times in the same poll. For example the polls here at DP. All you have to do to vote multiple times is to stay logged out and clear your cookies and revote. The site doesn't save IP's of anonymous people. And there are plenty of extreme partisans on various issues here that will do such just to try and make people believe that their way is actually the majority thinking on X issue. I learned all this after having only been here about 6 months.

    Due to this there is a huge difference between calling up 100 people and getting their answers and being able to keep them anonymous vs online polling. In one there is a set amount of people that is being asked once and only once and they can only give one answer. In the other the question stays there until closed (if it even closes) and one person can vote thousands of times if they really wanted to, skewing the results.
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    Re: Public voting vs. secret ballot; which is better and why?

    If the OP is in reference to DP, then I say, public most of the time. People deserve at least a modest level of scrutiny for their beliefs. However, if revealing such info might bring harm to oppressed individuals--ex., any question referencing sexual orientation--then the poll should be anonymous.
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    Re: Public voting vs. secret ballot; which is better and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kal'Stang View Post
    The only reason I make all my polls public is because this is the internet. No poll that is done on the internet is accurate unless it is public. The reason being it is quite easy to vote multiple times in the same poll. For example the polls here at DP. All you have to do to vote multiple times is to stay logged out and clear your cookies and revote. The site doesn't save IP's of anonymous people. And there are plenty of extreme partisans on various issues here that will do such just to try and make people believe that their way is actually the majority thinking on X issue. I learned all this after having only been here about 6 months.

    Due to this there is a huge difference between calling up 100 people and getting their answers and being able to keep them anonymous vs online polling. In one there is a set amount of people that is being asked once and only once and they can only give one answer. In the other the question stays there until closed (if it even closes) and one person can vote thousands of times if they really wanted to, skewing the results.
    I've never understood why this website allows for guests to vote. Every other internet forum I've ever been a part of requires you to log in to vote. Yes, in most cases, anyone can create an additional account, but doing so takes several more steps than just clearing the browser's cookies.
    "A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons." --Hillary Rodham Clinton
    "Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections." --Mitt Romney

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