Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Message Received?

I complained, at length, earlier this week about a Grady Newsource online poll that asked students for their thoughts about the new UGA campus tobacco ban. Read my bitching here. In a nutshell, such online polls are less than useless and should never be reported as news. I even noted how, when you finish the poll, it included a link so you could do it again. I'm up to four responses myself.

I never actually heard from any of the student journalists or the profs who advise them, but my message may have been received. Or it may be pure coincidence. How so?

Below is the original end-of-poll screen after you completed the questionnaire, complete with a "Submit another response" link just in case you wanted your opinion to really really matter. Below that is the screen you see today if you complete the poll. See the difference?

Again, it could be coincidental, but I'm not big on coincidences. I suspect someone at least made it so it's not so easy to bias the results and easily vote again. And again. And yet again. Of course, if you want, the poll is still online and you can bias away if you so choose.

Today at 5 p.m. I'll try to be near a TV (Channel 181 on Charter cable) or online at the site linked to above to see if they use the survey results in a story. I try to watch every day. Of course they shouldn't use the results in a newscast, but if they do I hope it'll be prefaced by saying:
"In a completely meaningless and scientifically bogus online poll, survey respondents said ..."
But I wouldn't count on it.

And please, don't say it's student opinions. You have no way of identifying the respondents. My cat could be filling it out, again and again. Or the protesters at Tate Plaza who dislike the ban could go on and really bias the results in their direction. If I were them, I'd do it.

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