|Straight Dope primer on polls|
(Copied from InvisibleWombat's excellent thread in IMHO, thanks!)
We're not really changing any rules here. Polls have always been allowed in IMHO, but now they're automated.
Remember that a poll is a feature attached to a regular thread. You can still discuss the results using normal posts. There is no need to post to the thread in order to vote, though.
CREATING A POLL
To create a poll, just do your usual "Post New Thread" process. The OP you type will appear *below* the poll, as this one does. After you've entered the title and typed the OP, scroll down to the "additional options" box and look for "post a poll."
Check the box "Yes, post a poll with this thread," and fill in the number of options you'll have available.
Click "Submit New Thread" and you'll be taken to a new screen, where you can create the poll itself.
Under "Poll question," fill in the text you want people to see above the poll (remember, your OP will show up below it).
Under "Poll options," fill in one answer per box. If you goofed on the number of answers, go to the "number of poll options" box, change the number, and click "Update Options."
The "Poll timeout" allows you to create polls that only stay open for a specified number of days. Leave it blank to leave the poll open indefinitely.
There are two new options under "Miscellaneous options":
* "Allow multiple choice" presents viewers with checkboxes instead of radio buttons, so they can choose more than one option. This is for the "check all that apply" polls, as opposed to the "pick the one best answer" polls.
* "Make votes public" means that everybody will be able to see how everybody else voted. This is handy when you want to make a poll like "Who wants me to send them $100"? You don't just find out how many people said "yes," you get to see their names so you can send them the $100 (just assume I voted yes on that poll, okay?).
VOTING IN A POLL
It's really quite straightforward. View the thread, and you'll see the poll at the top. Click on your choice (or choices, if "allow multiple choice" is turned on), and then click on "vote now."
If this is a public poll, the words "Be advised that this is a public poll: other users can see the choice(s) you selected." will appear above the poll options.
You may only vote one time. The SDMB will remember how you voted, and won't give you a chance to do it again.
READING THE RESULTS
When you vote, you'll automatically be taken to a results screen, which has the responses displayed above the OP. You can also click the "View Results" button to see the responses without voting yourself.
If you're looking at a public poll, the number of votes received by each answer will be a link. Click on the link, and you'll get a list of which members voted for which answer.
Once your poll is finalized, you can no longer make changes. Mods are able to edit polls but, as with editing posts, we prefer not to interfere. Adding or changing options after a poll has begun makes the overall results less meaningful. If there is a significant problem, we can either close the thread so you can start over, or--if you catch the error immediately--make minor changes before the voting starts.