Weekend Assignment #183: Make up a poll for people to play with. The poll can be on any subject you want -- it can be serious or funny or silly or whatever (although funny's always, you know. Funny). If you're not on AOL Journals or for some reasons you don't want to use AOL's poll function, there are other poll options for your blog; here's one, for example.
Ah, polls. I love polls. They're so seemingly scientific, while in fact being virtually useless as a means of gathering meaningful information. I believe the poll has at last found its most suitable home: the Internet. Consider this a short tutorial in the creation of Internet polls of great political and philosophical import.
The poll answers you offer your readers need not all be obviously on topic. In fact, it is common practice to include at least one non-sequiter option, ostensibly for comedic effect, but as will be explained, there is a very good reason for doing so. The following pol makes use of the most popular version of this feature: the 'pie' option.
Yeah, so it would have been a little more topical a couple of days ago. How about this one?
This one uses the alternate 'Planet X' option, which may be included if a 'pie' selection is not desirable. The 'pie' and 'Planet X' options are an important part of any poll. They allow the voters a selection that says, "your poll does not address my feelings on this issue. In fact, I think you are an idiot." Failing to include one of those two options usually indicates a frighteningly bad case of takingmyselftooseriousitis. Or, sometimes it reveals a case of tryingtoartificiallyskewtheresultsosis.
The above poll uses a less common double-non-sequiter system, in which one option is usually an in joke that very few people will recognise. The use of an in-joke non-sequiter in no way frees the user from including a 'pie' or 'Planet X' option. However, if as a pollster, one can invent another, more universal nonsense selection, one may feel free to use it in place of the others. 'Kitten' might be usable...unless the poll is about cats...or pets...or busty actresses.
Avoid creating, and participating in polls in which there are only two options. Most will make use of a false dichotomy to attempt to lend credence to a particular position. Especially avoid any poll that asks for a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer. It is almost certainly a form of a "have you stopped beating your wife yet?" question. Take, for example, this poll:
Does it matter how you answer that one? Not to me it doesn't. Herewith ends your short, introductory tutorial on Internet polls. Go forth and pollify.
Extra credit: Have you ever participated in a political poll?No.