Talk:Candidate Survey 2010

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Hi there - I'm just going to update the survey questions slightly to bring them in line with the post I did for Lib Dem Voice. We had some useful feedback following an earlier piece on Liberal Conspiracy, and skeptics are supposed to adjust their positions in response to good arguments! Dontgetfooledagain 17:17, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

I've created a Category for Survey Responses- add it to the bottom of articles to automatically populate the list. Easier than the manual list, hopefully! AlStorer 22:13, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Survey re-design

Please give us your comments on how this questionnaire could be improved for the future. How would you reword these questions? Which other topics would you like to see included? Dontgetfooledagain 13:37, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

'Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?'

I'd word this as 'Do you agree that strictly controlled testing on animals can be a necessary part of the development of medicines?'

'Should religious courts such as Sharia and Beth Din be recognised as alternative systems within UK law?'

This should be clarified. Are we really asking if they should be used as alternatives, or simply as agreed forms of arbitration?

'Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords?'

I'd word this as 'Should religious leaders be entitled to sit in the House of Lords?'

I'm not sure what David Chappell is getting at to be honest. Of course the questions are going to be biased towards our viewpoints. We could word things less strongly such as 'What do you think about testing on animals?', but my opinion is that such wording allows avoidance of answering the specific point we're interested in. Jamesd 13:48, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Thanks James - I agree that it's much better for us to be direct about where we're coming from. The worst thing would be to make the wording so bland and woolly that we don't actually elicit any meaningful answers. I consciously included the word 'unproven' in the homeopathy question because that's what the evidence shows - but I suspect this is partly what some candidates have been taking exception to. In fairness, though, a good number of candidates have come back at us and told us in their answer that we're wrong to say that homeopathy is unproven, rather than simply refusing to play ball - and as the whole point of this is simply to record people's views, I see that as a good thing. It does seem a bit odd for a candidate not to take the opportunity to put their views across, especially as we've committed to publishing whatever they say!
Having said this, I am really keen to get input on how we might do this better in future, as this was very much just a 'first draft' based on input from a relatively small group of people Dontgetfooledagain 14:05, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm happy for candidates to tell me that the question was flawed and explain their reasoning, that just as good an answer really Jamesd 14:19, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

As someone with an organ donor card, I'd like to add my support to including the organ donation Q. Also - what about some Qs on voting/constitutional reform? e.g. "In a free vote, would you support a reduction in the voting age to 16?" DavKa

Is voting reform really a skeptical/evidence based issue? Jamesd 17:42, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
I wouldn't have put voting reform down as a particularly skeptical issue. However, I see no reason why Skeptical Voter can't link to other candidate-information pages if there's a reasonable chance of overlap between our groups. For voter reform a suitable site might be --Skep 11:58, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

New Survey

A few of us have designed a new survey and are looking for feedback. Whilst we loved the idea of the original questions, we wanted to make the wording of the questions a little fairer and have expanded some of the areas. The questionnaire is also in the form of a Google document so you can just email candidates with the URL. As we receive responses we will publish them on this site. At the moment we are not taking responses we just want feedback. If we are happy with it we can 'go live' in a few days.

The form can be viewed here

<iframe src="" width="760" height="8942" frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0">Loading...</iframe>

All comments and suggestions are welcome, but please try to be constructive!

[The above post was from User:Excitablecell 21st April 2010]

Excellent work!
In a quick read-though I spotted a few typos/errors:
  • Health Q1 (altmed) is the only yes/no question where you have tick-boxes rather than radio-buttons. This means you can answer both Yes and No (politicians will love that).
  • "liable law" -> Libel law
  • Policy and Budget 1. To extent should evidence inform policy? -> Missing "what"
  • "You can use the space below to outline your main policies or add anything else you think is reliant" -> relevant (this Q should probably go under its own section - not under the "Science and technology" section).
The main question I have though is: In what form will the responses reach us? Currently we're getting survey responses sent as individual e-mails which need to be cut+pasted into the wiki. This is more labour-intensive than we'd like. We don't want an improved survey to require more work, and ideally we'd like it to require less. We know we can reduce the work required, even with the current survey, but we haven't had time to set anything up - particularly as we'd like to get the responses online in good time.
Hopefully more comments to come on the new survey when I have time and can go through it in detail.
--Skep 12:17, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I like the new format, although the presentation, spelling and grammar need tidying up. I am concerned though that there are too many questions, many of which are badly worded and largely irrelevant both to the issues concerned and a skeptic viewpoint. If we want candidates to reply then we need to cut to the point and keep things as simple and direct as possible (TL;DR). Sorry if the following criticism comes over as a bit harsh but I do mean it to be constructive and with the best of intentions.
What are your views on the current abortion time limits? Do current limits need to be.
This doesn't ask for the answer we are interested in as Skeptics. We want to know if candidates are interested in an evidence basis for setting the limit, not their opinion on the evidence and limit as it currently stands.
Should the government support and fund testing on animals to aid drug development?
Again that doesn't get to the heart of the issue. A libertarian could believe that the state should have no involvement with animal testing, and yet still believe that it can be a necessary part of drug development.
The questions about MMR are trying to elicit the same response from the candidate, can we consolidate them into one question? Perhaps Do you believe that the MMR vaccine poses a risk to children? Again a libertarian could support the choice of an individual not to get their child vaccinated whilst still properly understanding the situation with the MMR vaccine.
Do you support the equal teaching of creationism and the theory of evolution in the science classroom?
Asking something simpler such as Do you support the teaching of creationism in schools? will get a better answer. Some Lib Dems don't even support the teaching of creationism even in religious education classes, and that's something I want to know about.
Do you support the use supplements aimed at increasing pupils concentration in schools?
This question and answers are badly phrased. Half the answers aren't even supplements :)
How much freedom should state funded schools have to set their own curriculum? I'm not convinced that this is a skeptical issue. Do you have some specific concerns about the effect that this would have? If so then we should ask some specific questions :)
Could we have a question about whether religion has a place in schools at all? The requirement for a religious component to assemblies for example?
Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule? Would you support a blaspheme law that would protect such beliefs?.
Doesn't this asks the same question twice, once in a general form and secondly in a specific form? Could be worded simply as Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?.
Should the House of Lords be reformed?
This isn't a skeptic issue in it's general form. The (my) specific concern about reform is whether religious leaders should have a seat in the house of lords? Views on whether the house should be fully elected may be of interest, but irrelevant.
Policy and Budget
Largely irrelevant, and the selection boxes will elicit too simplistic an answer. This section could be reduced to a single question about funding for science.
Questions on climate change can be greatly reduced. Answers to the first two questions get straight to the point. As a skeptic I'm not, for instance, too interested in the differences between the Lib Dem and Green's energy policies.
Please rank these areas of investment by importance
The answers are ill-defined and overlapping. The first two are sectors of research, the next two are types of research and the last is an area of research. What are we asking for here? :)
Jamesd 11:36, 29 April 2010 (UTC)