Google Forms Discourse implementation

(Markus) #1

what are guys thinking about some kind of Google Forms implementation? This is a very powerful feature to collect data from the community, e.g. for registrations, more personalised polls, etc.

Sometimes, when the questions become more complex and I’ve been planing events, workshops, etc., I’ve to use Google Forms or Doodle lists.

Wouldn’t it be great, if the community of the 21st century could handle individual forms too? Maybe as plugin, maybe as full feature. Should we really set-up a complex survey with complex tools like LimeSurvery to get quick responses? Or do we have to use 3rd party platforms, which make money with sensible user data and even more?

What are the others thinking about this?

Other thoughts appreciated.


(Michael Downey) #2

What type of feature specifically are you imagining? Embedded/IFRAME style forms appearing inline? One can already create a Google Form and put a link in a topic. :slight_smile:

(Markus) #3

I don’t like to embed it.That’s the point.

I’d like to have some kind of proper tool for building forms & polls at once. This generated form should be visible at the first post, could handle “text fields”, “checkboxes”, “multiple choice”, “dates”, “grids”, “choose from list” entries… and a checkbox for required fields before submitting the data would be nice.

This data should be downloadable for the author and Discourse admins.
My preferred file format would be: *.xls and *.svg

(Jeff Atwood) #4

We just improved polls substantially. Why doesn’t a [poll] work for this?

(Markus) #5

I like the improved polls. But it’s not the same feature. It could be build on top of the current polls in my opinion, so therefore it’s possible to make real surveys with Discourse. Sometimes you’d like to know who is answering the questions to organise events and tasks.

As I already mentioned: A Doodle and Google Forms all in one solution would solve the most tasks / use cases of communities.

(mountain) #6

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the improved poll feature have the option to show who voted?

If it does show who voted and what they voted on, that concern is unfounded.

If anon votes are needed, I am thinking that aspect has already been accounted for as well.

(Dean Taylor) #7

No - at least not in the default output for a post:

It does include the poll votes that you (the logged in user) have made, shown here is a vote for option “C”:

(mountain) #8

Thank you for the clarification! I can see polls used as a replacement for forms. That way it solves and removes the need to bring in a third party, like Google.

You will know the answer to this next question most likely: can the administrator use an sql query to grab a list of some kind that says who voted for what for a specific poll?

(Michael Downey) #9

Because a poll is not a survey. Different things altogether.

(mountain) #10

What makes a survey a survey versus a poll? Both ask questions? I’m not asking to intimidate, I am honestly curious.

(Michael Downey) #11

(Jeff Atwood) #12

I believe a survey is just a string of polls… so you could make a survey by having multiple polls in your post.

(mountain) #13

Thank you @downey and @codinghorror. Going by Downey’s link, it’s safe to sum up the difference as a level of detail, preciseness and length. The link mentions conducting surveys as interviews in real-time. Google forms doesn’t have that aspect, so it boils down to multiple choice answers that have more words involved to allow a user to make a more informed choice.

So making multiple polls in the OP is currently possible? Is there a character limit for each multiple choice answer? Is there a limit on how many polls can be in the OP if there can be more than one?

(Mittineague) #14

I don’t know what the “official” definitions are. To me, polls have predefined options and surveys might have “open” options. eg.

What is your favorite server-side language?
B: Ruby
C: Other

What is your favorite server-side language?

With both there is need to think carefully about what questions are asked if anything meaningful is to be garnered.

With Polls thought must be given to what options are provided.
With Surveys more work is involved to homogenise variations eg. JS javascript JavaScript

IMHO as long as a Poll has an “Other” it allows for someone to post
"Hey, you didn’t include Node.js !!!"
whereas a survey would require too much work to analyze answers, especially if done “live” as more answers were coming in.

All the surveys I’ve seen publish results after the “closing” date

(mountain) #15

So an option to allow a custom answer besides the choices presented?

And this:

It sounds that the plugin has some of these features already. If not, it might be easier to code it in.

The only other idea I have is a public topic with the survey questions. Users answer them with a direct message to a specific account set up to receive survey replies.

Surveys, to me, are those really open questions that invoke a longer, freeform answer. Such as, “what areas of our moderation staff do you think they should and are feasibly able to improve on?”. I don’t know what a survey feature would offer beyond using the direct message system already in place. Polls that offer a freeform choice alongside the listed, possible answers may also solve this need, as you mentioned @Mittineague. However I do feel surveys are integral for online community management, such as the example survey question I posted above.