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Re: Proposal for an Emacs User Survey

From: Adrien Brochard
Subject: Re: Proposal for an Emacs User Survey
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 2020 13:45:19 -0400
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Thank you for your response!

I think a major problem is how to get as many emacs users -- and not
only reddit -- to participate. There are plenty of Emacs users who
neither follow the mailing lists, nor use sites like Reddit. Many of
them have had similar setups for years, and don't need to think about
it. Of course I can inform those I am antiquated with, but that approach
has it's limits.

There is a real risk indeed of selection bias because it is hard to
reach out to people who are not on the mailing list or on popular
channels. I identified this issue on the reddit post, but aside from
sharing the survey on the mailing list/reddit/irc/telegram/blogs and
keeping the survey open for 1 month, I am not sure how to mitigate more.
It is in a way the fundamental problem of surveys though. And I should
specify that there's value in just getting any response, and that we
should be mindful of this selection bias risk and not make carefree
decisions based on the survey results.

Why not just create a simple HTML form with a captcha (not Google's
thing, but a simple library that generates an image)?

I know it sounds easy, but it can rapidly become a considerable amount
of work. The captcha is not trivial and then there's the question of the
backend and where the data goes. To limit barrier of entry, the survey
must be as easy to fill out as possible. That means that we can't have
downtime, lag, and work on mobile too. I am more inclined to trust that
work to professionals and have to pay a little for it.

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