Make surveys meaningful — and beat back the trolls

trolls-8449115207_4f65344a3f_b-470Donna Kastner has a great post about how to gather more meaningful survey feedback by, among other things, getting rid of confidentiality. Somewhere along the way it became conventional wisdom that people would only share candidly under the cloak of anonymity, but Donna makes a strong case for why this approach may hurt more than it helps.

I’ll tack on another thought.

Anonymity breeds snarkiness, as any online publisher can attest, and that type of feedback yields little to no value.

This isn’t “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all” blather. If criticism is warranted, by all means let’s hear it. But why wouldn’t you attach your name to it?

If it’s not something you want attributed, it’s probably not constructive. Candor is great, as long as it’s accompanied by civility. Remember that a person reads—and internalizes—every survey comment you leave.

As Austin Kleon puts it: “Be nice. The world is a small town.”

Photo credit: Tristan Schmurr

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