By Michael Albert at Jan 27, 2010
I am confused. I am troubled. I am even depressed - and I don't get depressed often.
We put up a poll on vision and strategy. It is here. We thought thousands would take it, perhaps even tens of thousands. We even thought people would write blogs talking about the content and the experience, including clarifying their views. But so far, only 250 people have taken the poll and merely a handful have commented about it.
Yes, I know, by some standards that's a whole lot of people. After all, the poll is long. It requires thought. People are busy.
To facilitate the polling, we went to considerable expense to make it technically congenial. You can take it a little at a time or all at once. You can change your answers any time, should your views alter.
We also worked hard to make it socially congenial. You can have your preferences tally into the totals but keep your name out of it - or you can make your answers visible under your name as well as tally into the total, whichever you choose.
Finally, we worked hard on the questions, too, of course. We got feedback from dozens of people, incorporated their ideas, etc.
More our reasons for asking folks to take the poll seem compelling, at least to me:
(1) It would be nice for all ZCom users to be able to see what the community of users think about these issues - our agreements and our disagreements.
(2) Beyond being nice to have that kind of information available for all, we can all use the information to inform our writing, commenting, etc., as well as our soliciting content - seeking in all these pursuits to air difference and perhaps even resolve some.
(3) If there turns out to be a lot of agreement on issues, that could even inform how people build projects, movements, and organizations, revealing what will be appreciated and what will encounter opposition, at least in this audience.
Honestly, we thought the only nagging flaw was that we can't ourselves make the poll available on all left sites. But perhaps there is some other problem, too, that we overlooked.
In my view, this is no small matter. For the most part, for decades, there have been few if any serious accountings of the views of social critics, radicals, and revolutionaries. We all sometimes say radicals think so and so, or radicals think thus and such - but we are merely guessing, or even worse, we are projecting. It is about time we tried to change that.
Is the poll perfect? Of course not. No poll is. But this poll is pretty good, It covers lots of dimensions of concern, reveals diverse sides of issues, etc. More, the poll doesn't stand alone. If one feels something is unclear, or incomplete, one can blog along with it, to explore points further, to register doubts or concerns, etc.
I won't go on. It should be clear by now. I am confused, troubled, and even depressed at the relative hesitance people seem to have at taking this poll. I admit - I don't get it. We all talk about participation - but then, too often, when the opportunity arises, we all find something else to do. I am sorry, but that's my burdensome, irritating, and upsetting mood...
There are 350 Resocers. Fifty, which is one out of seven, have taken the poll. There are about 400,000 people who use the site about a fourth of whom have entered their email addresses. 230, or less than one in a thousand, have taken the poll. I know that everyone is busy - me too. I know that everyone has doubts that any effort they might put into taking this poll will pay off - me too. Maybe those factors can explain a percentage of the total who could take the poll not doing so - maybe even half of the Resocers and two thirds of the other users. But does it explain 85% of the resocers and 99.9% of all users? Not for me it doesn't.
So, how about taking the poll? Okay?
And if you have a reason why folks would not take it - other than being busy - perhaps you can let me know. So I can leave my confusion, my concern, and my depression about this behind!