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A Pierrot's Aria
¸,.·´¨`·. :¨`·A Guide to Making an Effective Poll·´¨: .·´¨`·.,¸

I've been through the mechanics of making a poll, but knowing how to make a good poll is the icing on the cake! So this tutorial will focus on points you need to take into consideration if you're thinking of creating a poll. I hope this will come in use to all of you!

I've broken it up into sections again, as to avoid one huge post of text --I find reading things in sections doesn't seem as off-putting!


1. "You can have any colour, as long as it's black"...
What can go wrong when adding answers to the poll?

2. Make sure you're as clear as possible
Clarity of poll answers
Clarity of poll questions and the phrasing of those questions

Make sure you're clear as possible part 2
Clarity of poll questions and the phrasing of those questions Continued
Double polls

3. Discussion in Poll threads
Try to stir up discussion!
Character v. Character Threads
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1. "You can have any colour, as long as it's black"...

...Okay, not really- this isn't what a good poll does. A good poll is devoid of any sort of bias and has a good range of clear answers.

For example, if you're making a poll regarding member's favourite FMA couples, an example of a bad poll would read...

What is your favourite FMA couple?






Look at the poll question --This is something that could easily go wrong with other poll question topics, as well, this is only an example!

a) So what can go wrong with the options?

-Lack of range. This problem can crop up in polls that concern other topics, too. You must try to avoid lumping choices you're not interested in into the "other" option on your poll.

-Potential bias. Notice that in this particular example, there are only het couples here. But this isn't fair since the poll question doesn't specify het or yaoi couples, therefore it implies all couples; you, as the poll creator, may feel that you don't like yaoi --but in doing this you're not taking into consideration those members who do like yaoi couplings. So what does this mean? It means that you can't be bias when creating a poll; just because you're not interested in certain characters/couples etc doesn't mean that you shouldn't include them because most certainly there are other members who are interested.

(HOWEVER, See: 2. Make sure you're as clear as possible)

Similarly, don't make a poll if you don't want to see other member's opinions, because in the end, this is what a poll gauges! So, using a non-FMA example, you wouldn't put into a poll:

What did you think of the Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy?




You may have positive things to say about the subject, but not everyone else will! You need to cover a good, wide range of different answers/view points.

-Overall, try to include all major potential answers/poll choices for the poll question presented, as this makes for a more accurate depiction of the amount of votes each choice recieves. Of course, only do this when possible; if you're making a thread about what someone's favourite Pokémon is you're not going to sit there and type out the name of every single one!
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2. Make sure you're as clear as possible

It is important to be as clear as possible; not only with your poll answers but also with the question.

(Relating to the previous section, you should specify clearly in the phrasing of your question as to whether or not it is just het couples or just yaoi couples; this is acceptable.
For example: See Favourite Hetrosexual Couples Poll and Favourite Homosexual Couples Poll.

a) Clarity of Poll answers

As we all know, we're all FMA fans here, so that means we could have watched/read the two anime and the manga and some of us could have done one but not the other. So the biggest example would be, if you're creating a poll involving the homunculi, be sure to include those from anime-1 as well as those from the manga/Brotherhood.

To some, Sloth could be the Trisha doppelganger who has water powers or from anime-1 or it could be the huge lazy monster from the manga/Brotherhood. So if you were to create a poll regarding Homunculi in general, you would take note of any of the characters who are entirely different.

The poll would look something like:

Who is your favourite Homunculi?


Wrath (Anime-1)

Sloth (Anime-1)

Sloth (Manga/Brotherhood)

Pride (Manga/Brotherhood)

Pride (Anime-1)



Greed (Ling) (Manga/Brotherhood)



An example of this would be Who is the ugliest Homunculus?

This ultimately makes the poll a lot clearer and easier to understand.

This only applies unless, of course, your poll is specifically about the homunculi from anime-1 or the manga/Brotherhood, in which case it would be alright to exclude Homunculi from a particular series you will not be discussing.
For example, the poll Which Homunculus (anime) Has The Best Powers? only discusses anime-1 Homunculi therefore there is no need to include those from the manga.

Again, as I touched upon before, you must be clear in the way you phrase your question.

b ) Clarity of poll questions and the phrasing of those questions

Again, the purpose of a poll is the gather statistical data based on people's opinions, so they're obviously going to differ, so this similarly is a case where you have to take special care with the phrasing of the question.

"Who do you think should be paired with Ed? Who is better -- Winry or Rose?"

There is something wrong with this question...

The word BEST/BETTER implies a difinitive answer -- remember, these are opinion polls, so please avoid wording questions in such a way...A better way to phrase it would be:

"Who is your favourite-- Winry or Rose?"

Take the poll Let's talk about FMA dogs, for example, this stresses that you must choose your favourite.

As I mentioned before, please make the poll as unbiased as possible.
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2. Make sure you're as clear as possible Part. 2

c) Clarity of poll questions and the phrasing of those questions Continued

Think carefully about what you call your thread, and make sure that your topic/thread question and the poll question correlate!

Take the following example:

Thread Question: Which Pirates of the Caribbean film was the worst?

Poll Question: Which Pirates of the Caribbean film was the best?

PotC 1

PotC 2

PotC 3

The two questions differ and this mistake, although it could be accidental or you may think it's asking the same thing, can actually end up making the results very inaccurate. This would be because members will be looking at the thread question and voting in the poll based on that rather than the poll question and vice versa.

d) Double Polls

Sometimes it's necessary to make a double poll. If there are two elements to a question or two questions with different answers, a double poll will be more appropriate, especially for clarity's sake. This is because it will prevent unrelated answers from becoming mixed up, making it look convoluted.

For example, in this poll regarding the fanart contest, there were two categories/questions to vote in within the poll:

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3. Discussion in Poll Threads

a) Try to stir up discussion!

Finally, try to stimulate some discussion related to your poll. Try to avoid creating a thread that goes something like...
"What is your favourite _____?" Where the answer could be a simple vote and a comment to say "My favourite is _____"

It's good to generate discussion, even in a poll thread. Try to ask "What is your favourite ______. And why?"

As a thread with lack of discussion will be a little unfullfilling. This is of course, if asking "why?" is totally unnecessary.

b ) Character v. Character Threads

Please avoid creating 'Character V. Character' threads.

The board no longer allows 'Character v. Character'/ 'A v. B' threads or polls. There are a few reasons why: The list of combinations are obviously endless and we don't want to get inundated by an endless list of threads like "Edward Elric v. Naruto" and so on. Another problem is that not everyone will know the characters involved in the 'battle'. For example, everyone will know "A" is Edward Elric since this is an FMA board, but not it may be that not everyone will know who "B" is. Overall, we don't allow "A or B" type threads any more unless we judge that the thread holds exceptional quality or potential, or the two characters involved are clear representatives of whatever the field or common feature is.
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