1. Most of the commenters here refrain from being antisocial dicks. There's no reason to believe anonymous polling will change that.

  2. Anyone actually making life-or-death decisions on the basis of an internet forum poll has a non-trivial chance of being selected out of the gene pool for related reasons.

  3. Sometimes you want or can accept brutal answers.

  4. Individual responsibility. You can't legislate for or even concern-troll people into having common sense, even assuming common sense is a well-defined and useful property.

Another thought: Just because a person asking people on the internet whether they should kill themselves isn't likely to survive in any case, this does not mean that LessWrong wouldn't be sued if said person posted a poll and it resulted in their death. For whatever reason, the US legal system has been known to grant large sums of money to people who are harmed by things that many consider inadvisable or "no-brainers".

0Epiphany8yOk good points. I like these.

Less Wrong Polls in Comments

by jimrandomh 1 min read19th Sep 2012310 comments


You can now write Less Wrong comments that contain polls! John Simon picked up and finished some code I had written back in 2010 but never finished, and our admins Wesley Moore and Matt Fallshaw have deployed it. You can use it right now, so let's give it some testing here in this thread.

The polls work through the existing Markdown comment formatting, similar to the syntax used for links. Full documentation is in the wiki; the short version is that you can write comments like this:

What is your favorite color? [poll]{Red}{Green}{Blue}{Other}

How long has it been your favorite color, in years? [poll:number]

Red is a nice color [poll:Agree....Disagree]

Will your favorite color change? [poll:probability]

To see the results of the poll, you have to vote (you can leave questions blank if you want). The results include a link to the raw poll data, including the usernames of people who submitted votes with the "Vote anonymously" box unchecked. After you submit the comment, if you go back and edit your comment all those poll tags will have turned into [pollid:123]. You can edit the rest of the comment without resetting the poll, but you can't change the options.

It works right now, but it's also new and could be buggy. Let's give it some testing; what have you always wanted to know about Less Wrongers?