Notes on the various polls of concern
(from the staff vote system, for reference, to have something to refer to)
There are really three completely different polling/voting systems being discussed: The poll on the main Soylent site. The need for a poll for the registered users of Soylent for major issues like the name change The need for a way to poll staff on issues that allows everyone to participate
1. The Slash Code Poll
This is the perl code on the slash site that is used for quickie polls. It is very much an 'ad hoc' system, and is open not only to registered users, but to anyone that goes to the site. It is easy to game this poll, it was never intended to be anything more than what it is. There has been some discussion of improving it in various ways. However, any attempt to improve it will at the least require some serious coding effort to integrate the changes into the rather complex Slash code system. Any attempt to actually make it MORE than an ad hoc poll, would face some extremely difficult problems related to armoring the code against cheating and abuse.
2. A poll for registered users for significant input on major issues
As a community based site, we clearly need some way to take the pulse of the community, in particular the registered users who support us. The most recent case is that of looking for name suggestions for the site, and voting on them.
The solution needed for this need not necessarily be integrated into the site, as it addresses a smaller group who we have means of contacting. So the programming problem is somewhat simplified for this case. However, with such a large group of people, there is still much potential for gaming the system and attempts to break it. So this is not a trivial problem to solve, and a number of approaches are being looked at. Whatever we pick or write needs to be pretty robust.
3. A poll/voting system to take the pulse of just our staff
Staff has it's own unique problems in this area which are completely separate and quite different from the two described above. (Staff voting system created and intended to solve this one)