Re: Survey on FLOSS
Andrew Suffield wrote:
> As somebody who understands and hates statisticians and statistics, I
> echo the sentiment. This is a terrible survey.
I can understand why people hate social statistics when they are
often produced from bad surveys. I think that it's a bit harsh to
hate statisticians, though: often the worst surveys are prepared
without using a trained statistician and sometimes even without
basic knowledge of statistical methodology. If there were more
statisticians actively involved in collecting and producing
these statistics, there would be far fewer bad surveys out there.
(I would say that, though, wouldn't I?)
In this particular case, there is no statistician listed on
the flosspols site and I did not find the methodology
documents. They might exist unpublished, so I asked.
Andrew's sentiments illustrate how developers of long-running
projects like debian are getting tired of poor survey design.
I've picked that up anecdotally, although I've not tried to look
for a quantifiable trend (yet). I think researchers would do
well to recognise this irritation and address it if they want
good support from the community they survey.
Some other projects that sociologists find "interesting" have
pages with advice for researchers. Does debian have one or
would anyone be interested in (me or them) drafting one?