Polls were a feature added in the summer of 2008. They can be inserted into a forum comment analogous to inserting an image, etc. To do so, click the green check mark in the row of icons over the text area while typing your forum comment. (The forum UI changed in 2020; you'll need to change to the Legacy Editor (click its link at the upper right of the comment you're editing) to do this.) This will launch an interface to create a new poll. Once the poll has been created and populated with suitable questions and answer choices, and you have proofread it carefully, click the save button to make it permanent. A link to the poll (in the format [poll=xxxxx] where xxxxx is the poll indentifier number) will be inserted into the edit box of forum comment you are writing.
While creating the new poll, choose whether you want a poll that stays open forever or one that stays open only for a limited time. Be careful: a time limited poll closes at the start of the date entered, not at the end, so if you enter today's date you will create a poll that is already closed. Optionally update the poll title and the block of descriptive text to be shown at the top of the poll. Then build the substance of your poll by adding questions and answer choices. Carefully proofread everything before you click on the Save button. Once a poll is saved, you can never change it.
Note that if you want serious results from a poll (i.e. it's not just a joke poll), you need to design your questions carefully:
- Conventional emoticons will not work but embedding them as images will. Right click on an emoticon and isolate the image - 'open image in a new tab'(etc) - to get the url for the image of the emoticon.
- Proofread your poll. If there are writing errors or unclear ambiguities, people may sincerely not understand your questions. Plus if you visibly couldn't be bothered to take your poll seriously, why should others? A little extra time on your part will save many users a lot of time.
- Don't make multiple poll options have the same value. E.g. make numeric ranges partition the set of answers correctly. E.g. 0-9, 10-19, 20-29, ... instead of the common mistake 0-10, 10-20, 20-30, ... which leaves people unsure which to pick for 10 or 20 or 30...
- Don't use a bullet list (only one choice selectable) if check boxes (multiple choices selectable) are reasonable. E.g. "What kind of games do you like?" with a list of answers "Wargame", "Ameritrash", "Euro", "Abstract", "Party", "Dexterity", "Card", etc may be better as a multiple-answer-allowed question since a very large number of people don't have a single answer to such a question.
- Don't pack lots of independent issues into a single answer. E.g. "What kind of games do you like?" with only 2 choices "Multiplayer eurogames with cards and territory control" or "2-player historical wargames with no randomness and no hidden information" will leave most people scratching their heads.
- Specify units in number questions. (Don't assume everyone knows you mean months not years, 8-sided dice, not 6-sided dice, inches not centimeters, pounds not kilograms, etc.)
- If a question involves measurements, tell the conversion factor between Metric and English systems since many people don't know them and will not bother searching that info for themselves. (Roughly speaking, 1 inch ≅ 2.5 centimeters; 1 pound ≅ 0.5 kilograms; 1 mile ≅ 2 kilometers; 1 square meter ≅ 10 square feet.)
- Don't make ambiguous confusing questions like "Foo is an important issue to me" that leave people unsure if that means "I strongly support Foo" or "I have strong feelings about Foo (maybe supporting it, maybe opposing it)". It is much clearer to ask "How do you feel about Foo?" with possible answers like "Strongly oppose", "Don't care", "Strongly support".
- Many people have lived in more than one country. Be careful in questions about nationality. "Where are you from?" is very ambiguous and unclear. Better to ask what you mean: "What country are you a citizen of?" or "Where were you born and raised?" or "Where were your most formative years spent?" or "Where do you currently live?" etc. (And note that assuming that these have a unique answer is not necessarily wise.)
- Beware of regional assumptions. E.g. note that political terms like "liberal", "conservative" have very different meanings in various parts of the world.
At this time, polls have some bugs with GeekLists. The details are not clear. You do not seem to be able to directly add a poll to a geeklist, or to a geeklist comment. However, you can get there the long way round. First of all, go to a normal (non-Geeklist) forum thread. Hit reply (not quick reply - you do not get the button then). Hit the green tick button to add the poll. Enter the details as above and hit save. Your forum reply will have the poll text (in the format [poll=xxxxx] where xxxxx is the poll identifier number). Copy this text, and post it into your geeklist item or comment. You do not need to post the comment to the forum thread - as soon as you have copied the poll link text, you can cancel the forum comment.