Monday, February 23, 2009

The Exciting Yet Somewhat Ambiguous Results of LegalMist's Not-So-Scientifically Accurate Polls

The polls are closed, the votes are counted, the results are in, the people have spoken, and I have a mandate .... (have I missed any cliches?) ... let's discuss. In fact, let's dive right in and thoroughly over-analyze the results, because over-analyzing is my specialty!

First up, the results of the poll that was supposed to test whether these polls produce valid results:

When asked, "Do you participate in polls on blogs?" 15 voters said, "yes."

... wait for it ...

The other 3 voters checked the box that said "No I hate them and never participate in them."

Uh... what? But.... hello, you just participated in one! Clearly, saying "I never participate" is incorrect!

Apparently some of you voters are not the brightest bulb in the box ... not the sharpest knife in the drawer ... not the quickest player on the court ... not the most brilliant star in the sky ... uh-oh, there I go with my cliches again. Sorry.

Let me be more succinct. To the three of you who voted in my poll to tell me that you "never" participate in blog polls (and I'm not naming names, you know who you are), in the words of Bill Engvall:

Here's your sign!

And yours. And yours.

Wear it with ... uh ... pride?

Ok, I admit it is possible you are not in fact stupid; perhaps you are merely sarcastic. Or perhaps you like to go around to web sites with polls and vote the opposite of how you really feel. In which case, I am still giving you the "sign," but you can just keep it as a memento and will not have to actually carry it around.

Either way, these results certainly cast doubt on the validity of the other two polls, eh?

Nevertheless, here are the results of the other two polls:

(And here I must interject that, now that the votes are in, blogger won't let me read the original wording of the questions. There must be a way, but I haven't found it, so I am paraphrasing based on what I remember writing, so if you remember the wording of the answer choices differently, you are probably right and you don't need to berate me in the comments for it).

The poll regarding comment moderation asked, "Does comment moderation deter you from leaving comments?"

2 of you said, "Yes, I never leave comments on blogs with comment moderation."

10 of you said "It's annoying, but I comment anyway."

6 of you said, "It doesn't bother me."

Wow. Those results are pretty clear. I mean, if someone took the time to vote, it likely means one of two things: (1) they felt strongly about the issue; or (2) they are the sort of reader who is most likely to participate in my blog -- whether by answering poll questions or by commenting.

Since I am apparently annoying the overwhelming majority of the folks who voted in my poll (and that group likely consists of the same group of folks who would be likely to comment), even to the point of keeping some folks from commenting, I am going to alter the comment moderation feature.

As I've said before, I love your comments. I hang on your every word. I don't want to miss them.

On the other hand, because I don't want to miss them, I like comment moderation for older posts because it notifies me that a new comment has arrived.

So, a compromise is in order. (See, Obama would love me. I'm all about trying to work with people to make everyone happy).

I previously had comment moderation turned "on" for posts older than 3 days. I've changed that to 10 days. I'll scroll down to see if there are new comments for posts within the past 10 days. Or check my email more often. Or something. I just want to make your lives a little easier, and I hope you will leave me more comments now that you know you probably won't have to deal with comment moderation.

And, rest assured, I will always post your comment, even if you disagree with what I have said or say things I disagree with. So, please, don't let a little moderation on really old posts stop you from saying whatever is on your mind. I'll be sure to read it, and may even respond if it's the sort of comment that needs a response.

The only exception would be a personal attack on another blogger, or a racist rant, or other comments that are just flat-out mean. But those would be deleted even if I didn't have comment moderation, so there's not much difference there. And truly, I have not had a problem with any of those issues so far. My readers (all of you) have been basically kind and respectful, if sometimes a little snarky or sarcastic for fun, which I love.

The last poll asked, "Does word verification deter you from leaving comments on my blog?"

I am clearly paraphrasing here, but the results were as follows:

No one promised to comment every time if I would just turn off the stupid thing.

2 voters said they hate it and it sometimes deters them from commenting.

1 voter said it's annoying, but they probably wouldn't comment much anyway.

6 voters said it doesn't stop them from commenting.

10 intrepid souls said they would march through the fires of heck to comment on my blog, so a little word verification certainly would not stop them.

2 voters (probably 2 of the 3 who said they "never" vote in polls) said they "love" word verification because it is so much fun to see what apropo nonsense words it produces. Or something like that.

So, a clear majority either likes word verification or doesn't mind it. I could just leave it turned on. But 3 voters (probably some of my most involved readers, as explained above) are at least marginally annoyed by it. So, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to turn it off for now. But if I start getting spam comments again, I will turn it back on again and feel secure knowing that most of you will still share your thoughts in the comments section.

If the 2 of you who voted that you "love" word verification are sad, well, I'm sorry. Maybe it will be back soon!

That was a lot of fun, wasn't it? I hope you all feel that your input has been carefully considered and analyzed, and that a fair result has been reached.

If not, please feel welcome to leave a comment telling me so.


Peggy said...

The results of your poll answered a lot of blog questions that I have had.. Thank you for sharing your results. I often have trouble with the word verification. I took it off my blog because I disliked it. Of course I wasn't getting any spam comments... if that happens I will probably go back! Love your blog, always interesting to me!

karin said...

I've never had the word verification have not yet had spam. Some of the word verifications have been funny. On some blogs I've had to type the word in 3 different times before it would post. That's kind of a nuisance. Just happened today on one of the gals' blog.

I wasn't aware that putting on comment moderation alerted the blogger to recent comments on older blogs. I do wish Blogger had a different way of notifying us that new comments have come in. I just browse once in two weeks and see if there are newer comments.

Well, now that you've completed this research, how about some new questions, lol!

Kim Ayres said...

I refuse to wear the I Am Stupid sign. If you put up a option which invalidates itself if you tick it, you can't complain if someone calls your bluff.

As my dear old mother used to say, "always throw a spanner in the works whenever you can"


LegalMist said...

Peggy -- thanks for the compliments!

Karin -- I'll probably do some polls on a more exciting topic later. Thanks for your vote.

Kim -- Well, I did leave open the option of merely accepting the sign as a memento if you only voted that way to be snarky, which it sounds like you did. Good for you! I love a little well-placed sarcasm. That's why I wrote the question the way I did. That, and to demonstrate that the wording of the question certainly can affect the validity of poll results. :)

Thanks to all who participated.

I am going to take down the original polls soon. We'll see if I come up with anything worth replacing them with!

Johnny Yen said...

You missed one other option-- that some of us couldn't miss a chance to be sarcastic.

LegalMist said...

Johnny Yen: Actually, that was my first sentence under the "I Am Stupid" sign -- that perhaps folks are "merely sarcastic" and not actually stupid. Since I know you to be sarcastic, you may keep the sign as a memento and need not actually wear it. =]

Sandra said...

One question: How do you know that the poll about taking part in polls is correct? I would dare to say that you cannot know the countless number of souls who "do not participate in polls" who actually did not participate in this one. So that number could be much higher than the 3 who DID participate (who said that they never do). How's that for thinking it through?!! I just thought I'd throw that little twist in there for you! :)

Thanks for visiting my blog.

LegalMist said...

Sandra -- Thanks for popping in, and for your thoughtful comment.

I like the way you think, and I agree with you! I designed that poll to be ridiculous, mostly for fun, but also to point out how absolutely unscientific these things are. By wording your questions certain ways, you can really skew the results. Of course we can never count the votes of people who "never" participate in polls. There may well be a lot more of those than poll participants. But I worded that poll in an attempt to skew it to a majority of voters saying "I love polls." And it worked. 15 of 18 people who voted said they loved them. But fewer people voted in that poll than in the other two -- perhaps because the poll answers were so biased.

And of course you can never really know how many people are voting truthfully, versus being sarcastic or trying to sabotage your poll.

For the record, I don't really think any of my readers are "stupid." Truly, it was the poll questions that were stupid. But I love the Bill Engvall comedy sketches with the "here's your sign" tag line, so thought I'd work it in one more time....

So, come back soon. I promise not to call anyone else "stupid." =]

Jenners said...

Don't know if anyone else mentioned this but you can get all comments posted to your blog forwarded to an e-mail address so you dont' miss any of them and then you don't need to moderate them (unless to delete those you don't want to have up).

thanks for sharing the results!

Green said...

Sorry I fell behind in my blogreading and missed your polls. I LOVE polls.

My comments are set up such that I get emailed every single comment. I like this because if someone comments tomorrow on a post I did in 2007, I will see it.

I view logging in and word verification as necessary evils, so it annoys me, but I deal and comment anyway.