Request: Allow Poll's to Have a 'Fill in the Blank' Option

I am a member of tons of different Discourse forms. Most of which relate to programming and product design.

On every single forum I am on, I see the same thing as the last option for 90%+ of polls:

Whether the poll itself is the main part of the topic, or just a “what’s your opinion”, having an “Other (Please Explain)” option lets user’s voice their opinion with details, not just a vote.

Having people explain can be extremely helpful to the OP, compared to just a vote will tell them X or Y, without any reasoning.

The main issue with having an “Other (Please Explain)” poll option is that not many users will sift through the various replies to see what contain the ‘(Please Explain)’ part of the poll.

The simple solution to this is having a poll option that lets user’s add input. This could look something like:

For viewing answers, the poll can show the normal chart/graph (depending on what type of poll it is) as well as a drop down (summary) of the explanations. These could either almost look like a reply (with the user’s account linked to them) or anonymous depending on the poll itself.

Adding this feature would allow people to incorporate other answers to polls that may not be long enough to make a reply, or just add more detail.

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We’ve discussed this a number of times in the past and explicitly opted not to do it – leads to a lot of chaos in polls when anyone can add any new poll option at any time.

It’s better to have a discussion topic soliciting poll options for a few days, then based on the replies discussion topic, creating a new poll topic incorporating the most popular options in the discussion.


That’s pretty much how we do it. A voting category determines the shortlist, and the poll then selects the overall winner.

From experience with other sites that have polls with write-in options, one important feature to keep the experience great is that moderators must have the ability to merge, make minor edits to, delete, and visibly strikeout written-in options.

  • Merge: These two write-ins are very similar. Combine all the votes into one option.

  • Minor edits: There were typos when the write-in was originally submitted. Being able to fix this leads to a more professional-looking end result.

  • Delete: Sometimes it’s just a bad option and it needs to go.

  • Strikeout: Sometimes a write-in is well-intentioned, but will never work as a poll result. Striking out the option, removing all the votes, but leaving it visible along with a short reason helps prevent others from trying to enter it again.

  • Flag: To let the moderators know any of the above needs to happen.

It is very unlikely that the polls in core Discourse will be getting these features anytime soon.