Re: GNOME user survey 2011 (v4)

On Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 10:37:33PM +0100, Alan Cox wrote:

> Doing nothing achieves nothing, doing something achieves learning. You
> may well not learn what you intended but you will learn something
> including quite possibly how to do future surveys better.

Any survey that isn't a carefully controlled randomly selected sample of 
users doesn't result in learning. It results in data that forms some 
sort of rorschach blot. Everyone will see what they want to see. Those 
who believe that Gnome 3 is a step back will point out that the majority 
of responses are negative. Those who believe it's a step forward will 
point out that happy users are going to be far less inclined to respond. 

There's no way whatsoever to determine how representative the responses 
are, and so there's no way whatsoever to learn anything about the 
population. All we'd learn is that some users like Gnome 3 and some 
users don't, and that's something we *already know*. So we'd gain 
nothing, but we'd guarantee another huge set of arguments which would 
themselves also tell us nothing.

> I'm not saying its necessarily a great approach but it's vastly superior
> to people sitting around picking holes in the idea until it never happens.

I disagree. Doing something that sucks more time and energy away from 
development without actually telling us anything in return is worse than 
that not happening. Felipe is obviously free to do whatever he wants, 
but there's no benefit in Gnome itself participating in any way. If we 
want to find out what our users think then the only way to do that is to 
have professional involvement and a random sample set.

Matthew Garrett | mjg59 srcf ucam org

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