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Is it OK to influence an online survey to prove a point?

moral question survey facebook surveymonkey

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#1 +S_Herbie

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 22:33

Our local community has a group on Facebook to discuss local issues, events and businesses etc.
There is only one admin and they always use Survey Monkey to ask about potential changes to the group rather than asking directly on the group.
The only problem with this is that nobody else can see the results and of course, there is no way of knowing who has / hasn't voted.
The results can either be misreported or can be manipulated.
If you delete the cookies you can vote again!

So, here is the question:

Would it be really bad to share the survey link and ask a lot of people to manipulate the outcome?

Or would it be OK as long as the manipulation was revealed afterwards to show that an open question / poll on the group would be better / more transparent?



#2 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 22:43

Demand a public poll; if that fails then form a rival group that operates in a transparent manner. Manipulating a poll doesn't achieve anything, other than to make you look very petty.

#3 xendrome

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 22:44

Actually that sounds like something I would do to prove this type of survey is not even worth setting up. Especially if it's a "Yes/No" type of thing. Perhaps bring it to the attention of the person in charge of the group first then show them it can be done, instead of doing it and then showing them.

#4 Coagulated

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 22:46

I don't think it is right at all on either side. Really, you should show people how easily it is to manipulate the Survey Monkey polls - not necessarily by doing it and ruining a poll, but maybe create a quick video and demonstrating it and suggest alternatives?

I'd make sure not to target anyone directly or indirectly, just show that anyone can fiddle with any vote they feel like.

I get the impression you don't trust the group admin?

#5 COKid

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 22:52

So you can manipulate the vote. If you do, what does this prove?

Online surveys = Unscientific = Meaningless

#6 Glassed Silver

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 22:54

Google "white hat hackers"


They basically hack corporations but get prior consent.
There are some who do without, but they live a risky life in terms of laws being broken :p

Manipulation of a survey that's unprotected doesn't sound like breaking a law to me (depending on juristication), but it might even harm your argumentation.

Seeing you know better and want to help out I think it's best to talk to them first and go from there.

Glassed Silver:win

#7 kurupy

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 23:19

Would it not be better to find another poll website that has Facebook integration add the question(s) most recently asked, and link it in the group? Also mention that the results are transparent, and anyone can view them rather than JUST the admin of the group.

All well and good showing how something doesn't work properly, but if you don't show how something else does do it better, nobody will care, and nothing will change.

#8 Enron

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 23:24

Don't be a poll troll!

#9 Fish

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 23:59

Would it be really bad to share the survey link and ask a lot of people to manipulate the outcome?

Yes. Not only are you undermining the authority of the admin, but you are encouraging others to do so as well.

Or would it be OK as long as the manipulation was revealed afterwards to show that an open question / poll on the group would be better / more transparent?

No. Far better would be to openly explain the problems inherent in the current system, and suggest a better alternative. Being deceitful and underhanded will not have the effect you are looking for, no matter whether you think your reasons are justified.

#10 OP +S_Herbie

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:14

Thanks for the replies - I had already made up my mind not to.

As it happens, there were 'technical issues' with the survey and it has been replaced by a new version now!

Still closed questions designed for a particular outcome, but then again aren't all surveys?

I will post my objections after it closes but before the results are announced - if I post them now I'm likely to be lynched (apparently asking any sort of question is arguing).

We have 320 members of the group so if the free version is used only the first 100 responses can be seen. Hopefully there will be a big turnout!