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Introducing voting functionality


Mark Gorton
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Users of the Watergate section of the Education Forum will now notice that a "Start New Poll" button has been added to the website. By clicking on this button, users can start a new thread based upon a poll. Other users of the website can then vote on that poll or make comments on the thread. This functionality has been developed by Riley Lynch with a tiny bit of help from me. My hope is that this voting functionality can help members of the Education Forum gain consensus about issues which are currently under debate.

I have been impressed by the depth and breadth of knowledge of members of the Education Forum community. The Education Forum is a great place for discussion; however, the limits of forum technology make it hard to know if a consensus exists in the community on a particular topic. The polling functionality that has just been released offers a mechanism to see what sort of consensus exists among members of the Education Forum community. It is my hope that the results gained from these polls can help guide future discussion among Education Forum members.

This functionality is being deployed in a beta version in only the Watergate section of the forum. The Watergate section is relatively low traffic, so I hope that we can test and fix any bugs which are identified by users. Riley and I have done our best to debug the software before rolling it out live. However, it is impossible for two people to fully anticipate all the issues which may be encountered in live use. Once the polling functionality has been more thoroughly tested and debugged, I hope to deploy it in all the topic areas of the forum under the Controversial Issues in History heading.

The voting functionality supports two different types of poll: multiple choice or statement evaluation. With multiple choice, users can pick from among a number of options. The statement evaluation allows users to rate the truth or accuracy of a particular proposition.

The polling functionality which you see is just the first feature that I hope to add to the Education Forum. With just a little bit of modification, the polling functionality that you see can be expanded to allow the community to produce sorted lists (e.g. best books on a topic, etc.).

I very much hope that members of the Education Forum community like the voting functionality that we have developed. I welcome any feedback that people may have. Please let me know if you encounter bugs or other usability issues.

Best Regards,

Mark

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