How to Create Polls

Love the polls!

As a poll-creator, is it possible for me to download the raw data from a poll?

For example, I posted a poll to Pivotal’s internal forum to which people can respond with a number one through twenty. I can see the average response, but am more interested in the raw responses in order to produce a histogram, examine the range, etc.

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Not currently, no. Discourse polls are intentionally “simple”, and are not meant to be used for data analysis like that. An admin could likely query the data via the Data explorer plugin, but an end user cannot.

To obtain data like this, we recommend using a full featured poll system, not Discourse polls.


Can we put together a Data Explorer example query for this?


Sure, adding to my list.

Looks like @gerhard already wrote one, and it still works. See Is it possible to see who voted in polls?. Note that you’ll need the post_id of the post that contains the poll. To obtain the post_id you’ll need to look at the json of the topic. Append .json to the end of the URL. For example, the post_id of this post can be found at (and is 424951). The post_id of the first post in this topic is 368654.


Is there a way to allow visitors vote without logging in?

No there is not. To prevent duplicate entries accounts are required. If you need anonymous polls I’d suggest an external service like


Is there any way to sort topics/organize topics based on poll data?

For example, our forum has a unique topic created for hundreds of exam questions. In each topic, we want to create a poll with three options: Easy, Medium, Hard.

Is there a way to sort the topics such that a user can do the easy ones first, and then medium ones, and then hard ones? Maybe by creating a dynamic tag that is dependent on poll data?

If anything like this is possible, would we need to have our topics set numerically (poll options are 1,2,3) or could we use qualitative options (easy, medium,hard).

Thanks so much!

There is no way to sort topics like this with native Discourse. To do so you’d likely need a custom plugin.

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Does the “Show who voted” toggle allow you to make it so folks can’t see the results? If not, what does that do?

I would like to create a poll and let people vote, but not let them see the results until after they have voted… and, of course, not allow them to change their answer. Is this possible with this simple Polling tool?

If You Dont Check that It wont show who voted

I think the answer to my original question is found in the “Results” section of the “Poll Builder”
Poll results can be viewed in the following ways:

  • Always Visible
  • On Vote
  • When Closed
  • Staff Only

The last two options are what I’m interested in. This is a great tool!

Joshua, feel free to add this GIF to your OP that shows all the options when creating a poll in Discourse:

Though I’m still unclear on the toggle that says “Show who voted.” I would assume it means by checking that, users would be able to see a list of who voted. Why not do a poll right here to test and see?

If I use the “Build Poll” feature and hit the “Show Who Voted” toggle then everyone will be able to see:

  • a list of everyone who participated, and how they voted
  • a list of everyone who participated, but not how they voted

0 voters

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The results dropdown controls who can see the results, and when. Show who voted controls if those who can see the results can also see who voted for each option, versus just seeing the count of voters.


Do polls require write permission in a category’s security settings?

For example, if the category’s security settings are:

everyone can See
group1 can Create / Reply / See

Would everyone be able to vote, or only group1?

Yes, they do. If a user who was not a member of your ‘group1’ attempted to vote in the poll, they would see this notice:



Suppose an admin mis-clicks and votes by accident. Is there any way to remove or change such a vote? Purely hypothetical of course :roll_eyes:


Is there a way to have more than 20 #options?

I guess that you could modify the polling feature code. But I wouldn’t call such modification an enhancement because polls should avoid having 20 options.

I’m genuinely interested to hear why you need users to choose from 20 options?

  • Why will 20 options work well for your users?
  • Do you really care about the minnows (small fish) you capture votes for?

The rest of this reply simply gives some reasons why I’d not recommend more than 20 poll options.

Consider that Survey Monkey’s first tip is Keep it short and simple and all other poll providers recommend something similar. They often refer to the number of questions but the same applies to the available choices for each question.

I regularly create polls and I regularly hit the 20 option limit. Most of these polls are for products in a product category. I usually have many more than 19 products to fit into the poll - I always leave an option for none of the above or don’t know so I realistically only have 19 free slots.

Such long polls usually only get votes for one third to one half of possible options. At least, that is my experience. I just looked at 13 polls on one public Discourse forum and found the ratio was 56 options voted for out of of 141 options provided.

Anyway, long poll lists usually arise because of unresolved issues:

  • We don’t know enough about the options, e.g. product market share.
  • We don’t know enough about our users, e.g. what market segment are they in.
  • We don’t have the resources, i.e. time, money, references, etc.
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It’s our 10 year anniversary.

We have 275 games.

People have nominated about 40 games as their “favorites.” (really, more like 65, but I culled the bottom 25 already.)

I want to do a poll (really, two polls) to bring it to the “top ten of the past ten years.”

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I’d suggest two rounds of voting in that case. Split the 40 games into two 20-option polls for round 1. Then, take the top 10 games from each poll and make a single 20-option poll to get the final top ten. 40 is really too much for a single vote.