I’m almost certain that many Amherst students think the list of demands is dangerous and/or silly.

You could test this hypothesis by providing them a way to give you anonymous feedback. The provided method would have to avoid two things:

  • Despite anonymity, you have to prevent spamming, where one student would give you dozen answers, indistinguishable from dozen answers given by dozen students. This rules out methods like "send me an e-mail from a throwaway account".

  • Not only the content of the feedback, but even the fact whether a student gave you feedback or not, must be kept secret. Otherwise it is easy for the majority to decide not to give you feedback, exposing every student giving you feedback as a likely traitor. This rules out methods like "here is a questionnaire, check the appropriate boxes and throw it into this basket".

Of course, an overly complicated feedback method would be a trivial inconvenience, so less people would respond. Also, a complicated method would make them question whether it is really anonymous.

Great idea. If I'm ever asked to speak at Amherst I could give out forms to be immediately filled out. To protect people against being discovered I could first say "Everyone think of a number between 1 and 10. OK if you thought of the number 3 give false answers on this form."

Open thread, Dec. 21 - Dec. 27, 2015

by MrMind 1 min read21st Dec 2015233 comments


If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.

Notes for future OT posters:

1. Please add the 'open_thread' tag.

2. Check if there is an active Open Thread before posting a new one. (Immediately before; refresh the list-of-threads page before posting.)

3. Open Threads should be posted in Discussion, and not Main.

4. Open Threads should start on Monday, and end on Sunday.