2010-09-02 MEETING PROPOSAL: discussion on Annual User Survey

Robyn Bergeron robyn.bergeron at gmail.com
Thu Sep 2 16:49:10 UTC 2010

On Thu, Sep 2, 2010 at 5:46 AM, Tom "spot" Callaway <tcallawa at redhat.com> wrote:
> On 09/01/2010 07:11 PM, Jon Masters wrote:
>> Folks,
>> I would like to propose that you please discuss my proposal for an
>> annual Fedora User Survey, as originally raised with FESCo:
> Sounds interesting, if handled appropriately.
> The only words of caution I would put out is to make it clear that
> simply because the survey results say (or imply) that we should do $FOO
> does not necessarily mean that the Board endorses doing $FOO.
> I have this painful vision of being repeatedly bashed about the head
> with the survey results saying we need to add more proprietary drivers.

I think in general it should be made clear that we are trying to
account for where we are *today*, and not taking a poll or voting on
what we want to do tomorrow.

So asking things like:
What do you want Fedora to be in a year? (a) A desktop distribution,
(b) a server distribution, (c) a developer oriented distribution, or
(d) a nice hat (thank you, Nirik, for that classic answer)

... would be something that really implies a voting or at least
opining type poll. Opening that door is just bad form, unless that's
what you're specifically trying to do.

On the other hand, asking something like,

Do you currently use proprietary / non-free drivers? (Yes, No, I don't
know what proprietary/non-free means)
If Y, direct to --> What do you use them for? - checkboxes for video,
audio, whatever, etc.

.... Might be a reasonable question.  Part of the beauty of doing
surveys such as this is, when you keep the questions consistent /
identical from year to year, it becomes a good measurement of progress
(or unprogress). If we find, for example, that 80% of users are using
proprietary drivers to do X, then, in keeping with our mission or
vision, assuming it includes something about freedom, we might want to
focus (as we already do, but) even more on (a) fixing that situation,
and (b) user education about freedom, and hope that by the same time
next year, this percentage has improved.  We could also find that
maybe this percentage is significantly lower in one part of the world
than others; that's where we step in and say, what are we doing right
in Elbonia, and how can we replicate that elsewhere? Or is there a
correlation between what applications people are using and why they
are using proprietary drivers, etc.?

I like to think of these kinds of surveys as one of the many things
that should be done when a group is trying to figure out "what is
Point A" in the "how to get from Point A to Point B" puzzle.  If
people don't agree on where Point A lies, trying to agree on where
Point B should be, let alone how to get there, becomes a lot more

> ~spot
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