"REAL" polls

So, I was thinking, is there any way we could get real polls on these boards?
You know, the kind where you can make a poll where members can click on a number of options that you (the poster) decide, and then it is then displayed as a percentage…?

No, sorry.

Who’s in favor of this idea?

Meh…that’s one of those features that I’d be fine with – but only if it were hardly ever used.

Like a poll as to what should come after she… er, I mean, after a lamb dinner? :smiley:

It’s an available feature, but I can imagine on this board that it would spawn innumerable attempts at polls, and then the mods would have to decide which ones to set up as official polls, then someone would complain because THEIR poll effort didn’t get converted by the jack-booted gestapo police types that have the title of mod, and it would go downhill from there. :eek:

Would it slow down the boards any more than now? That’s all I’mconcerned about.

No, it wouldn’t. It’s a data stream like any other. In fact, it could be faster since it’s passing only a name/value pair, rather than a text box full of a bunch of narrative.

Yeah, but think of the effect of several people loading those bar charts at the same time. That’s where the slowdown would be. Remember, a simple dot on each thread showing where one had posted a reply brought this board to a virtual standstill!

I think it’s a useful idea, but could cause issues. Is there an external website where one can set up a poll like that for free?
I’m sure that would cause issues, too, but I’m curious.

Well, you and I both know that it didn’t. Something else did, but I get what you’re saying. The bar charts are ASCII, and therefore no more load than text of course, but I think Chronos recently hit on the reason our server is so slow. Briefly, he posited that improvements in response time lead to increases in sign-ups, which then lead to decreases in response time. By his calculations, the server will stabilize with no further degredation of service on 18 July, 2033. He’s using figures provided by the United Nations, so take it with a grain of salt.

Actually, Liberal, Lute is correct on this point. vB has a feature which puts a mark on a thread icon showing whether you’ve posted to it, and when we turned on that feature, it made the boards so slow as to be unusable by anyone (including folks in the off-peak time zones). As soon as that single feature was turned off, the boards returned to normal. Unless the addition of that feature attracted ten times as many people to the boards, who got disgusted and left as soon as it was turned off?

Now, that’s one particular feature. Most features don’t cause nearly as great a performance hit as that one, and polls probably wouldn’t, either. But it’s enough of an example to justify a degree of caution before implementing any new feature, if you don’t already know exactly how much of an impact it will have.

Oh, and 18 July is a heck of a lot more precision than was warrented by my estimate, which was an upper bound anyway. But you knew that.

Wow!! On my 73rd birthday exactly, I’ll finally not have to worry about slow loading??? :cool:

Not the ones I’ve seen, which rely on graphics for each bar segment.

Even so, we can’t conclude that the coincidence implies a causation (cum hoc ergo propter hoc). If a couple hundred additional bytes for a folder icon brought the server to its knees, then a single additional page load without the icon would have done the same or worse. More likely, there was some implementation or runtime bug that was introduced and then removed.

Even so, a one-color gif file that size is what, 60 or 70 bytes? I haven’t had to worry about counting bytes to that degree since I worked with a Timex Sinclair.

then you will be taking prunes for your slow unloading.
How about we have a poll to see if people want polls?

A sample vBulletin poll is available at http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/showthread.php?t=103303. If this implementation is used, I sincerely doubt the graphics themselves will have any noticeable impact on performance. Each bar is made up of three tiny images, with the middle image being stretched to the appropriate length by the HTML code. Each image is less than 900 bytes. For comparison, the ‘Post Reply’ button at the bottom of every thread is 3226 bytes. Furthermore, since the images are static .gifs, they will be cached client-side, so each viewer will only actually download them once.

Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised if the vBulletin folks found a way to make the server-side code horribly inefficient. They managed to do it with RSS feeds, even though they really shouldn’t be much more complex than the existing New Posts functionality.

Polls take moderator oversight to set up and run. We have felt it was best to focus on writing and reading of postings above all else.

Really? I thought that if you turned on the vB option to allow polls, the thread starter set it up themselves, just like any other OP. What would the mods have to do to set them up? How would overseeing a poll thread be particularly different than moderating a regular thread?

It seems a no brainer to me to allow polls in the IMHO forum, being “the place for polling” and all.

You’re assuming the extra icon was the only overhead for that feature. It also had to keep track internally of the information it was displaying with the icon, and that, presumably, is what caused the problem.

And it was turned on with only a small set of other modifications. When those other modifications were disabled one at a time, performance did not recover. When the bullet-hole feature was disabled, the board recovered instantly. When the other options were turned back on with the bullet-hole feature off, board performance remained good. This is not a post hoc ergo propter hoc, this is a classic controlled experiment.