Wednesday, April 02, 2008
(4:53 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
FrontloadingIt's not Tuesday, so I wouldn't necessarily say I hate this, but I am always mildly annoyed when an online poll "frontloads" the answers with particular reasons. A recent example from the CTA Tattler blog gives a good indication of the basic problem I'm addressing. The question here is whether there should be certain train cars during rush hour that have had their seats removed, to allow more room for people to board. Here are the poll options:
What do you think of standing-room-only train cars?Setting aside the unfortunate use of "Fugeddaboutit," this is a clear case of non-exhaustive options. What if I think it's such a great idea that there should in fact be four seatless cars? Indeed, what if I believe that the CTA should alternate seated and non-seated trains during rush periods? This poll gives me no voice, whereas a simple "yes or no" would have made room for my own unique perspective.
Makes sense, as long as there are only two cars.
Fugeddaboutit! I want the opportunity to sit down if I can.
The CTA Tattler is far from the only offender in this regard, and I don't want to seem to be singling them out -- it's just the most recent example I'm familiar with. In fact, frontloaded polls are absolutely pervasive, and I would go so far as to say that this phenomenon is the main culprit for the proliferation of false dichotomies in this day and age.