MDN Weekly Update – May 8, 2011

opinion pollMDN is pleased to announce a new site feature this week: The Weekly Poll. I’ve been around websites, building them and maintaining them, since the mid-1990s. I’ve seen polls come and polls go—most of the time they are useless. So why try a poll on MDN? Seems to me with a monthly reading audience that now exceeds 18,000 people (“uniques” as it’s called in biz), MDN has a great core of people that represent a healthy cross-section of those interested in this important topic. I think it would be good to regularly understand what people are thinking on a given drilling-related issue of the day. My intent is to drill down (pun intended) into specific issues and “take the temperature” of MDN readers.

For this first question, we’ll keep it simple: Are you in favor of shale gas drilling? Just go to any page on the MDN website and along the right-hand side of the page you’ll see “Weekly Poll”. Check an answer and click the Vote button.

Once you’ve voted you’ll see the results of all votes by both percentage and actual number of votes cast. Every time you return to the MDN site, or even click to view a new page, the numbers will automatically update. You can only vote once for a given poll. When a new poll is posted, you’ll be able to vote for that poll once. How does MDN keep track of whether or not you’ve voted? A cookie (or little snip of code) is placed in your web browser’s cache. You may or may not realize it, but almost every website you visit does the same thing. A cookie is nothing to fear, and it’s completely anonymous—MDN is not tracking who you are, what other websites you visit, etc. The cookie only says, “hey, this person has already voted for this poll” and that’s it.

It is possible to “game” the poll and try to influence the results by deleting your cookies and re-voting again and again. I guess if you’re up for that, you have a lot of time on your hands and a very small existence. Hopefully we can be adults and appreciate the outcome, no matter what it is, for any given opinion poll. And a further comment: The poll is in no way scientific. It is only intended to be a reflection of those who are visiting and reading the MDN website.

So, for those who subscribe to the daily email, and for those who just happen by and read this posting, please vote! I’ll report on the results the following week when I post a new question.

Below you’ll find the “top 5” lists and this week’s calendar listings.

Happy reading,
Jim Willis, Editor

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