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A Broadband Survey That Asks the Right Questions

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the how-much-hentai-is-enough? dept.

Networking 120

Lauren Weinstein writes "I've just deployed the first ever Broadband Survey under the auspices of GCTIP, which asks questions that the FCC neglected to ask about service types, promised vs. actual broadband speeds, user satisfaction (or lack thereof) with their ISPs and local ISP competition, etc. I'm already finding the detailed comments many persons are leaving on the survey form to be extremely illuminating and with sufficient participation I'm hoping my reports from this data will be useful to the Internet community broadly."

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Anonymous Coward (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31578080)

my first first! :D

Re:Anonymous Coward (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31579080)

my first first! :D

All you need to do now is post a nigger joke. Then, and only then, will you finally be l33t.

What's the difference between a nigger and a bucket of shit? The bucket.

It helps if you bold the word nigger so it's nice and black.

Uhmmmmm (3, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 4 years ago | (#31578128)

So, you post a survey on Slashdot. Now, I am not a statistician, and I have never played one on TV, but I think I have heard a thing or two about selection bias. Is your organization run by two college kids and an IIS server?

Re:Uhmmmmm (4, Funny)

socsoc (1116769) | about 4 years ago | (#31578152)

I would never admit to running IIS on slashdot. I'd rather run a fake survey with a skewed population.

Re:Uhmmmmm (3, Informative)

Dorsch (1773388) | about 4 years ago | (#31578480)

Well... If I wanted to create a proper survey, I wouldn't use the free version of www.123contactform.com (I just assume that the creator used the free version, since it's limited to 10 questions per form and the survey has 10 questions...). Get yourself a proper server (IIS should do it too) and install a proper system like LimeSurvey (http://www.limesurvey.org/) - you'll find that more useful than some ugly online service. Have fun evaluating all those textboxes!

Re:Uhmmmmm (4, Insightful)

darkpixel2k (623900) | about 4 years ago | (#31578768)

Have fun evaluating all those textboxes!

No kidding. Who the hell in their right mind has a free-form text box to enter *both* your download and upload speed in bits?

My answer: People stopped using 9600 baud modems a long time ago, so I'm not sure how many bits I get--or even kilobits. Sure, I could do the math, but your survey is retarded. I get 15 MEGABITS (or should I sound like a retard and use the prefix MEBI?!?) down burstable to 30, and 2 megabits up, burstable to 0.0005 gigabits up. Have fun with the conversion, fuckers.

Re:Uhmmmmm (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31578994)

Actually in communications the units are in multiples of 10, so it really is 15 megabits.

Re:Uhmmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31579964)

So your burstable upload rate is only one fourth of the usual sustainable upload rate? You have a very interesting connection...

Re:Uhmmmmm (1)

Mathinker (909784) | about 4 years ago | (#31581074)

> (or should I sound like a retard and use the prefix MEBI?!?)

No need! You actually sound like a retard just by implying that
using mebi makes one "sound like a retard". As an AC poster pointed out to you, in this case the unit is actually mega, not mega-pretending-to-be-mebi, and thus your own confusion makes a poster case for the need to accurately and unambiguously differentiate between the two units.

Want flame, get flame.

Re:Uhmmmmm (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about 4 years ago | (#31578942)

Is your organization run by two college kids and an IIS server?

I agree. I'm not sure about the sending of a sperm sample as adequate proof of my sex... But at least they collected my credit card information so the could refund the shipping!

Re:Uhmmmmm (2, Interesting)

MikeURL (890801) | about 4 years ago | (#31579582)

I used to subscribe to Lauren's email list but i had to drop it. I started to suspect Lauren of being a telco/cable mole because He let Brett Glass post over and over and over despite the fact that Brett is an insignificant crank who operates a tiny ISP in Wyoming. At some point it stops being about letting a crank have his say and moves right into adopting the crank's advocacy campaign. I think Lauren went way hip deep into supporting Brett's campaign of stupid.

Brett Glass! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31579710)

I remember Brett Glass! He was a columnist with PC Week or InfoWorld, back when it was actual paper, via US mail, mid 90s. At first he was a run-of-the-mill advice geek, gee Brett I can't figure out my autoexec.bat. Then he graduated to an opinion columnist, and wow did the bile fly! Right out of the gate he launched into some anti-MS diatribe, went on and on. It was quite funny. I remember thinking "wow, this guy must have had all this bottled up for some time now".

Check it out: www.brettglass.com has some advice on Windows 95. Sure enough, down at the bottom it's (c)1998. Ha ha!

Re:Uhmmmmm (1)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#31579978)

http://www.whois.net/whois/gctip.org [whois.net]

gctip was registered by Lauren Weinstein on behalf of Vortex Technology [vortex.com], which also appears to be run by Lauren. According to their whois record, they have an office in this [google.com] building. On her blog, she claims to be self-employed [vortex.com].

They also seem related to pfir.org [pfir.org], though not by whois. What exactly that connection is, besides webdesign, is unclear.

My guess, this is either a well-meaning person who has never run a 100k response survey before, or they're a First Class Grep Wizard.

Re:Uhmmmmm (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 4 years ago | (#31579984)

No. If you look at the site, the organization is run by the poster.
This is just another survey that pretends to look authoritive and legit but really isn't.

Re:Uhmmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31580402)

That and for a "Global Coalition for Transparent Internet Performance" this survey is not very global.

Re:Uhmmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31581690)

Don't worry, nobody ever reads TFA.

Getting relevant responses? Gosh! (2, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 4 years ago | (#31578134)

This is a self-selected survey

You're getting relevant responses from people who are already actively interested in discussing the topic? Will wonders never cease?

Re:Getting relevant responses? Gosh! (0, Troll)

Meshach (578918) | about 4 years ago | (#31578178)

Obviously this is an accomplished statistician. Maybe he works for FOX News?

Re:Getting relevant responses? Gosh! (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 4 years ago | (#31578200)

Because, after all, a self-selected group of people actively interested in discussing the topic is sure to be representative of the population as a whole.

Re:Getting relevant responses? Gosh! (4, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | about 4 years ago | (#31578290)

Because we, as tech-savvy geeks, are most likely to be aware of the problems with the internet service we're using, and the ones most interested in them being fixed. Not that I can complain, as I get better speed than advertised on my entry-level cable connection (which I reported on the survey form).

Re:Getting relevant responses? Gosh! (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 4 years ago | (#31578826)

You're also more likely to care about technical details that nobody else gives a shit about.

This negates what should be a more informed opinion, landing you squarely in the realm of another worthless survey.

Re:Getting relevant responses? Gosh! (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 4 years ago | (#31578848)

Well - you won't get very many results from people who are NOT interested in discussing the topic, will you?

Have you ever wondered how those more formal surveys handle people like me, who usually hang up when they call? Or, slam the door in their faces, if they show up in person? Or walk a wide circle around them, if they are set up at a shopping center?

Re:Getting relevant responses? Gosh! (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | about 4 years ago | (#31580486)

No survey is completely objective. Seriously, all surveys are highly susceptible to the self-selection or opt-in behavior of the survey pool, the selection of the survey pool by the one conducting the survey, and of how the questions in the survey are ordered and constructed. That is how you can pay firms to help you get the stats you need.

I say props to this guy for mentioning it up front.

A Broadband Survey That Asks the Right Questions (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | about 4 years ago | (#31578172)

I.e., ones that are loaded so as to produce the results that the author wants to see.

Re:A Broadband Survey That Asks the Right Question (3, Insightful)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 4 years ago | (#31578616)

Which of the questions did you consider loaded?

  • Broadband Internet Service Type (DSL, Cable, U-verse, FiOS, Satellite, Cellular Data, Non-Cellular Wireless (WISP), T1, T3, Other)
  • Type of Service if you specified 'Other' above (free-form)
  • Name of ISP (e.g. AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, etc.) (free-form)
  • Maximum Download and Upload Speeds (in bits per second) for your service level as specified by your ISP (including any promised initial speed boosts - e.g. 'Powerboost'), also if your ISP has imposed a traffic or bandwidth cap on your service, please briefly describe it if possible (free-form)
  • City, State, Country (Zip or City code would also be appreciated) (free-form)
  • Contact Info (E-mail address preferred, plus your name and/or organization name would be appreciated - This info will only be used for statistical purposes or to contact you if we have questions - [optional] (free-form)
  • If you've tried the FCC Broadband Tests [link], please enter the results - Download and Upload Speeds, Latency, Jitter, and Test Type (M-Lab or Ookla) - Please also include the day of the week and approximate time of day (including Time Zone) that any tests were conducted - [optional] (free-form)
  • Overall - considering performance, cost, and any other factors - how would you rate your ISP? (Perfect, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Adequate, Neutral, Disappointing, Bad, Very Bad, Abysmal, Dial-up might be better, No Opinion)
  • In your opinion, is there sufficient ISP competition available to you at your location? (Yes, No, Maybe, I don't know)
  • Questions, Comments, etc. - [optional] (free-form)

Re:A Broadband Survey That Asks the Right Question (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 4 years ago | (#31579150)

The "email" question, which they are likely goign to sell the results of.

Obvious Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31578240)

We all know the question that everyone is afraid to ask publicly:

How can I get more pr0n faster?

In the source of the page: (4, Interesting)

trickotomy (947120) | about 4 years ago | (#31578260)

"<META content="MSHTML 6.00.6001.18183" name=GENERATOR>"

really? really?!

Re:In the source of the page: (4, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | about 4 years ago | (#31578704)

That is one incredibly precise versioning scheme...

Re:In the source of the page: (1)

rwven (663186) | about 4 years ago | (#31578756)


It's a pretty standard model. At my workplace right now we're on on one of our products. First major, working toward the first minor, 88th tag, tagged from trunk svn revision 3494.

Re:In the source of the page: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31579162)

That is one incredibly precise versioning scheme...

Either that or the Microsoft Excel team tried to round: http://blogs.msdn.com/excel/archive/2007/09/25/calculation-issue-update.aspx

FCC speed test vs. this post (3, Insightful)

NonUniqueNickname (1459477) | about 4 years ago | (#31578346)

The FCC-did-it-wrong tone of the post made me expect a speed test. There isn't one. It's just a questionnaire.
But I must concede this survey gets the upper hand against the FCC speed test in two aspects:
It's even later to the party than the FCC test was.
It covers an even smaller portion of the population than the FCC test did.

The Australian Broadband Survey... compare? (4, Interesting)

mitchells00 (1181549) | about 4 years ago | (#31578464)

Shouldn't one run a survey much like the Australian Broadband survey? I mean, really, your survey is limited and open ended. With the ABs, it's interesting comparing the results from year to year... http://whirlpool.net.au/survey/2009/ [whirlpool.net.au] http://whirlpool.net.au/survey/2008/ [whirlpool.net.au] http://whirlpool.net.au/survey/2007/ [whirlpool.net.au] http://whirlpool.net.au/survey/2006/ [whirlpool.net.au] http://whirlpool.net.au/survey/2005/ [whirlpool.net.au] http://whirlpool.net.au/survey/2004/ [whirlpool.net.au] http://whirlpool.net.au/survey/2003/ [whirlpool.net.au] This is how a survey should be done! We actually have serious issues with our ISP's here, so this is done to perhaps give them a bit of a kick up the arse.

Re:The Australian Broadband Survey... compare? (1)

H0D_G (894033) | about 4 years ago | (#31578786)

Seconded. I used the Whirlpool surveys to choose my ISP.

Re:The Australian Broadband Survey... compare? (1)

atmurray (983797) | about 4 years ago | (#31578960)

Not to mention that the whirlpool forums are one of the best general resources of tech knowledge, it never ceases to amaze me the number of times I google for something and a post comes up in the top 5 results.

Re:The Australian Broadband Survey... compare? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 years ago | (#31580022)

Thats because Australia is littered with RIMs, Digital Loop Carrier” units and cheap cards at exchanges.
Everybody needs broadband help over old copper :)
If your on adsl 2+, then its a hunt for the perfect chipset that works given your isp and distance.
Be fun to see a survey like that in the US.
Some real numbers.

Fast Enough (2, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 4 years ago | (#31578510)

768k DSL is fast enough for most people - posting on Facebook, checking CNN, sending webmail. The people who need 10MBit are the warez hounds and ISO downloaders.

Re:Fast Enough (2, Informative)

mmcxii (1707574) | about 4 years ago | (#31578610)

Or people watching NetFlix/Hulu or a multi-user home or someone who's video conferencing....

Your assumptions may have been fine 5 or 6 years ago but today they're nonsense and we're only going to see more of the same.

Re:Fast Enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31581264)

ESPECIALLY multi-user home.

With dad downloading his stupid chain emails and surfing youtube listening to music from the 70's in "HD", my sister webcamming with her friends over MSN, me trying to play a game over the net with my friends, talking via teamspeak, a 1.5mbit connection really doesn't cope...

Re:Fast Enough (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#31578934)

Or those of us who would rather remote into a client's server rather than have to look at their smiling faces.

Re:Fast Enough (1)

corychristison (951993) | about 4 years ago | (#31579776)

SSH uses very little bandwidth (although I suppose you could pipe virtually anything through it if you wanted).

[disclaimer]This is supposed to be a light-hearted post. Please no flames.[/disclaimer]

Re:Fast Enough (2, Interesting)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | about 4 years ago | (#31579386)

768k DSL is fast enough for most people - posting on Facebook, checking CNN, sending webmail. The people who need 10MBit are the warez hounds and ISO downloaders.

This was true, and possibly still is true for some values of "most people", but there are quite a few uses for broadband which are legal, increasingly mainstream, and which greatly benefit from increased bandwidth. E.g. Legitimately buying/downloading games (Steam,2dBoy,Telltale Games), watching streaming video (BBC iPlayer, Netflix), working/video-conferencing from home. Arguably, if all your strawman is doing is "posting on Facebook, checking CNN, sending webmail" there's no real reason to have any more than 56k or maybe 128k ISDN, except that would make watching their friends'/CNNs' embedded video or opening that attachment of the panda sneezing an incredibly painful endeavour.

10Mbit is certainly not a necessity to most people, but 768k is simply pathetic by today's standards. For one person, it's bad enough, but as soon as you have more than a couple of people (family home/student house) with the aforementioned increasingly typical use cases (streaming media/large downloads) who want to do different things at the same time, 768k soon becomes saturated.

Re:Fast Enough (1)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#31579772)

Don't forget that a 10mbps session will help with the FDIC's Money Smart education program [], as well as other online education programs. Sending webmail does involve kicking around photographs from friends, which can easily be 4MB each. Online gaming can eat a ton of bandwidth, even just accounting for basic titles like World of Warcraft. A single streaming radio stream can eat a full 768k DSL... a house full of kids all streaming Pandora at once? Most of my work has required VPN-ing into the office at some point or another, a process that is extremely painful on slower connections.

And for that matter, 10Mbps isn't just larger sustained chunks of streaming. It's also more responsive network for the basic stuff. Someone used to 768k streaming might not mind waiting 10 seconds for a web page to open, but it is really nice when each page can open in 2 to 3.

I'd say that the people who wouldn't benefit from a 10mbps connection at this point are the same ones who didn't see a need to upgrade past AOL. They're likely to be hanging back, have an established way of doing things, and lack real impetus or need to change. I don't mean that derisively, when things work for people, they work. But grandparent saying that only warez hounds and ISO downloaders could use faster connections sounds like they haven't gotten around to the other uses for faster connections. According to my router, I've used 125 GB of bandwidth, and we've still got a quarter of this month left to go. Not a single GB of that has been warez, iso's, or otherwise illegal.

Re:Fast Enough (2, Interesting)

Nikker (749551) | about 4 years ago | (#31579584)

I used to think about the same, I would consider my self above average for downloading ISO's multiple times just to clock my fastest time and figured the party line was correct, most people only use maybe a GB / month, and in many cases they do. Now I start getting into Youtube videos at minimum 480p and 720p also comedy central videos and after about 3 hours of video I'm rounding 1.5GB! If I drop my cable TV subscription and continue to watch Internet video of similar quality to replace it for the same amount of time 5 days a week your looking at 1.5 x 30 = 45GB, still well below many bandwidth caps. Now if you have more than one person in the house with the same tastes even if they are watching the same videos on different displays it multiplies from there. Some people are into Netflix, Hulu, iTunes movies, etc and multiply that by the people in the house hold that are doing the same thing your coming around 60+GB / person/month. In some places 64GB is a common cap and just basic stuff all legit and your cap is blown.

ISP's seem to build for todays standards for the future, which is not right. How can they assume news, social media and email is the only thing many are going to use? TV's already come with internet connectivity as well as pretty much every other electronic device. OnLive and other similar ventures will be eating that cap just to play a few games. The usage is not leveling is it about to explode. So now they fail to meet serious future demands and seem "shocked" when they get saturated? Then they complain that supply and demand will kick in because of the saturation and your connection is now charged at a premium?

Saying X is fast enough for Y is fine since you are commenting on present day usage and you in many cases are correct, the trick is that ISP's are banking on your dumb ass to build the network of tomorrow.

Re:Fast Enough (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | about 4 years ago | (#31580534)

768k DSL is fast enough for most people

Facebook, CNN, and webmail, sure. Xbox Live, Netflix, NBA, Youtube, Hulu... nope.

Also, you have to consider how fast 768K as advertised really is. That's nowhere near 768K.

Broadband Reports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31578568)

Don't they already collect this data?

Re:Broadband Reports? (1)

Anarki2004 (1652007) | about 4 years ago | (#31578662)

What do you mean they? The FCC hasn't until just now, and the data the ISPs give out is totally bogus.

Re:Broadband Reports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31578698)

they=broadband reports

(though rumor has it that ISPs intentionally give more bandwidth to test sites)

Re:Broadband Reports? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 years ago | (#31580064)

A bit like the M3 numbers for cash flow or U6 for workers in/out of the US workforce, the real data is hidden or not collected for public use.
Map out the US broadband network and you will have a visit from some 3 letter agency- as your collecting choke point data, areas of critical one point failure.
Best just to sit back and accept a best effort average as printed by your gov and telco.

Right Questions, Wrong Format (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 4 years ago | (#31578644)

That page desperately needs text boxes to input all the answers about bandwidth/latency/jitter.
I filled out the survey, but sweet tap dancing Jesus do I pity the person(s) who have to turn the results into useable data.

Re:Right Questions, Wrong Format (3, Insightful)

criznach (583777) | about 4 years ago | (#31579016)

No kidding - it just plain will not be useable data. Gotta learn somehow :)

Re:Right Questions, Wrong Format (1)

MikeURL (890801) | about 4 years ago | (#31579608)

It reminds me of the first survey i ever designed in HTML like 15 years ago. Going to this page really did feel like stepping back in time. Lauren may have wanted to consult with at least one person who has done surveys of large populations. I wince to think what people are going to put in when they have to guess what megabits per second is...as freeform text.

black is white (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 4 years ago | (#31578690)

I love when a so-called broadband provider tries to tell me I can't measure connection speeds. I switched from UVerse to Roadrunner, and enjoyed a speed increase of at least 3 times (and I've seen as much as 15 times faster), and a lower monthly bill. When they asked why I was leaving and I told them of the speed difference, their rep tried to convince me that it was just my imagination.

Re:black is white (1)

rwven (663186) | about 4 years ago | (#31578800)

I've got AT&T DSL and it's the worst internet connection I've ever had. Unfortunately it's all that's available where I live. It's slow (3mbps connection that usually runs at about 1/5 of that) and it randomly disconnects about once an hour and takes a few minutes to figure out how to reconnect....

Re:black is white (1)

TwoUtes (1075403) | about 4 years ago | (#31578876)

I'll second that. I can't tell you how many pr0n movie D/L's have been interrupted by AT&T disconnects!

Re:black is white (1)

keithpreston (865880) | about 4 years ago | (#31579302)

Random disconnects and abnormally slow speeds sounds like a bad or noisy line. You should get the phone line to your house replaced and that will likely solve the problem. I've used AT&T DSL for years without issues. It is slower then cable, but also quite a bit cheaper. Even as a techie, I for the longest time had a 768k line by choice. I couldn't justify $10-$30 extra a month to watch junk quality internet videos (especially with free HD OTA), and figured I could wait twice as long for my infrequent download (overnight is the same either way). The only disconnect I've ever had was actually with cable internet, the problem was that there is a 4 way splitter out in the open on a telephone pole that apparently someone walking by "kicked" my line out of.

Re:black is white (1)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#31579848)

DSL is pretty hit-or-miss, depending on the address or block receiving it. The noisy line can be the line from the company's box to the house. Or it can be wiring within the house. Or the client might just be too far from the nearest station to receive good signal no matter what the conditions. Or, far more than we'd like to admit (at least when I was working on this sort of thing), the line from the center to the company's box can just be noisy. For example, I had a client once where the phone company ran lines under the streets. When it rained, the water would pool on the lines. This wasn't enough to kill the phone service, but it did kill the DSL. When the rain let up, the phone company came out and checked the line, and it all looked fine. I can't tell you the number of times we had to jump through this hoop.

DSL can be a great bargain, but it also seems to be a miss for between 1/4th and 1/2 of the people who try it. It's not a fault of the technology, just differences in real-world implementation of an old wiring system that nobody expected to carry data. If you happen to be one of the "misses," it's probably cheaper just to get cable internet.

Rigged Bandwidth Testing (2, Interesting)

bengoerz (581218) | about 4 years ago | (#31578744)

I challenge whether you can even trust bandwidth tests. The OOKLA-powered bandwidth test on Broadband.gov shows 80Mbit down on my 10Mbit connection. I never see similar numbers from any other source. So, perhaps my ISP (Time Warner) is pulling one over?

frist pHso7? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31578760)

smeels woRse than a

I teach survey design... This is terrible. (5, Insightful)

kklein (900361) | about 4 years ago | (#31578824)

This, in all honesty, is the worst survey I have ever seen, and I work with language teachers.

Not only are you setting yourself up for selection bias (as many others have pointed out), you've got all these free-answer text boxes all over it. Have you given any thought whatsoever to what you're going to do with the "data" that you get from this instrument?

Things like network speed should be in set categories. Satisfaction should be on a Likert scale, and should be broken down into aspects of interest (satisfaction with upload, download, etc.). The ISPs should be on a drop-down menu, not free answer (you'll need to include an "Other"). ZIP and City should be in separate fields (how are you going to parse those?--yes, it can be done, BUT WHY???).

Your question about maximum upload and download speed and limit and favorite color... Son, you make me want to stab out my eyes with a fork. What are you asking with that question? Whatever it is, it should be several questions with constrained responses.

One of the cardinal rules of survey design is that it should be quick and easy for people to fill out. Do the hard work for them, and let them just tick boxes. If you don't, they won't take it and all you'll get is data skewed toward people who--like you--actually care enough to type up a bunch of thoughts. I care about broadband, but even I am not interested in blathering away into a text box.

Pray tell, what "statistical purposes" would my email address be used for? Last I knew, principal components analysis only took numeric data... Same for cluster analysis. "This will only be used for magical statistics that use email addresses as variables... Or if we want to drop a line and say hi." Please.

You are setting yourself up for a world of hurt. You will need to go through with Nvivo or something to categorize all the garbage you get from this, and even if you present results, all you're really going to be presenting is "here is some stuff that people said." I have no time for listening to results of surveys like that. It's softheaded gibberish.

You are lucky you're not a student in my research practicum. There's no way I'd sign off on this as a research instrument.

Re:I teach survey design... This is terrible. (1)

BoppreH (1520463) | about 4 years ago | (#31578894)

A story, an opinion and a lesson.

I have never wished more for mod points as now. I promise when I get some, I'll come back here.

Re:I teach survey design... This is terrible. (1)

jozlod (1304051) | about 4 years ago | (#31578908)

i agree, i looked at the survey, and decided not to even bother, cause its just chucked together with no thought or design on how to get the results. also, it looks like the css is missing from your pages, what even is the GCTIP, is it something real, or just made up for funsies? google gives me nothing but the site linked, and some other blog posts or whatever pointing to the survey. I work with database analysis, and i can tell you having text fields for input is disaster, everyone has different ideas of how to format their inputs, you see some weird stuff in open text fields. drop down choices are whats needed.

Re:I teach survey design... This is terrible. (1)

Dorsch (1773388) | about 4 years ago | (#31578948)

Hah, I love that comment!

"Overall - considering performance, cost, and any other factors - how would you rate your ISP?" - so many factors in one 10-point scale? WTF are you thinking?
First, think about what you want to find out, make up hypotheses and then ask something related to them that can actually be translated into usable results.

As I've pointed out before: The creator of the survey was apparently constrained by the service she used to build this thing. By the looks of it, it's utter crap probably not even designed to be used for surveys. If she had googled (or binged, whatever...) for 5 seconds, she would have found at least 10 more suitable tools on the first page of results alone.

Re:I teach survey design... This is terrible. (1)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#31579878)

My personal free favorite can be found here [kwiksurveys.com].

Full access to for number of responses, csv export, reasonably good visualization tools, matrix responses, direct e-mail invites, and not quite as ugly as sin.

Re:I teach survey design... This is terrible. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#31578962)

But where I work we get this survey which has hundreds of questions, asking variations of the same question over and over again. They are clearly aiming at some kind of psychological test. Is there a name for that approach in your field? Do you know what they are driving at? The general thrust is on what we think of our workplace, but their questions could be asked on one page. Instead they use 10 pages.

Re:I teach survey design... This is terrible. (2, Interesting)

story645 (1278106) | about 4 years ago | (#31579360)

Do you know what they are driving at?

They're trying to figure out if you're lying, trying to make yourself look good, trying to make yourself look bad, or otherwise screwing with the survey answers. They actually need to be about 10 pages for reliability purposes and the like. The field is called psychometrics, and I've gotta agree with the OP on his rant. I just looked at the data someone collected for her masters thesis, and it's all open ended survey stuff, so she's crying at the thought of getting it into a usable form in SPSS and a good chunk of the data will either have to chucked or reworked to get anything useful out of it.

Re:I teach survey design... This is terrible. (1)

santax (1541065) | about 4 years ago | (#31579640)

Isn't that how all data gets into this lovely lie-generator, by adjusting it first to make sure it fits what the client wants? Or am i doing it wrong?

Re:I teach survey design... This is terrible. (1)

kklein (900361) | about 4 years ago | (#31580186)

Thanks for answering the fellow's question.

Regarding your student, she may be able to salvage a big of her reputation with Nvivo. I try to keep my personal research clean and quantitative, but I have advised on projects where messy, open-ended data was necessary. I don't actually know how to use it, but a colleague of mine did a presentation on it, and it seemed to offer a neat way to at least be organized in one's interpretation of messy data.

Re:I teach survey design... This is terrible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31579678)

Two possible approaches. First, as another already commented, can be a check to see if you're lying. The second reason to include many similar items is to increase the reliability of the underlying factors. For example if I ask you how many miles you drive to work today, how many miles you drive each week, and how many miles you drive on a typical day, I'll get three answers that should be relatively correlated and (in a factor analysis) will load together on the same "driving" factor. The most similar items you have per factor, the more reliable your survey is and the "stronger" your factors. You can imagine how psychological factors might have far more variability, depending on the question, than something easily quantifiable like driving. And even those driving responses could be manipulated by particular survey research techniques.

Good researchers include multiple items per factor. The bare minimum you like to see for a standard analysis is three items per factor. But bad researchers will repeat the same thing over and over and over again to increase reliability and internal consistency simply for the sake of increasing them. There's really no value added at that point. If you believe their questions could be asked on one page, 3-4 pages should be needed if they have decent factors. 10 pages could be a sign of poor survey construction. A major responsibility of researchers is to get as close to the "truth" as possible without wasting the time of participants.

Re:I teach survey design... This is terrible. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31579068)

So, you are the guy responsible for all these horrible cookie cutter type surveys.

You see them over and over again. Multiple choice and the answer isn't one of the choices. Talk about invalidating the results. Nothing borks the results more than forcing someone to give inaccurate answers to complete the survey.

I used to work for a survey company and hear the frustration all night long. Frustration compounded by the fact that I wasn't allowed to give any explanation or even apologize lest I corrupt the data.

For example, I gave a government sponsored survey on the effectiveness of seat belt advertising campaigns. The entire survey consisted of questions and answers that didn't fit if someone wasn't in favor of government enforced seat belt laws in the first place... 20 mins of them.

Re:I teach survey design... This is terrible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31580068)

That survey probably wasn't aimed at libertarian sociopaths.

lol, redundant

Re:I teach survey design... This is terrible. (3, Informative)

kklein (900361) | about 4 years ago | (#31580230)

A well-designed survey would have been born as an open-answer one first, administered, and the resultant data categorized into constrained responses. Then it would have been given again and checked for reliability. There would probably be some manner of factor analysis done at this point to identify patterns in the responses (make sure that items that should be similar are similar, etc.). Then you give it again and make sure that the factors or paths look the same. Then you'd give it for real. Each time, though, you'd need a unique sample.

Virtually no one does this, though, for obvious reasons.

So what you were working with there was a poorly-developed survey.

Re:I teach survey design... This is terrible. (1)

dissy (172727) | about 4 years ago | (#31579212)

One of the cardinal rules of survey design is that it should be quick and easy for people to fill out. Do the hard work for them, and let them just tick boxes. If you don't, they won't take it and all you'll get is data skewed toward people who--like you--actually care enough to type up a bunch of thoughts. I care about broadband, but even I am not interested in blathering away into a text box.

Whoo boy, I think you done broke my snickerer!

Re:I teach survey design... This is terrible. (1)

access.name (1198513) | about 4 years ago | (#31582658)

This, in all honesty, is the worst survey I have ever seen, and I work with language teachers.

I'm so glad the person who did this survey is male... otherwise, my entire gender would be flamed for the poor job.

I can [not] believe it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31578890)

I would write, "I can't believe Slashdot posted this," but I've been an anonymous coward for a long time.

Tip: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31578912)

If your survey purports to ask the "right" questions, then your survey is fundamentally flawed.

Balanced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31578980)

To be a balanced survey, don't you have to ask the left questions as well.

(of course if you really want to be "Fair and Balanced" then you only report the 'right' viewpoint..

Am I sexist? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31579254)

Is it bad that while looking at the survey page I couldn't fathom how someone could create something so terrible (without specifically trying to, that is), but upon realizing it was created by a female, thought to myself "Oh, OK".

"A Survey that does not get it right" (1)

dagee (1773450) | about 4 years ago | (#31579338)

As others have said, the survey created by Lauren is really bad. In reading his analysis of the issues that he had with the FCC's survey the survey that he created does nothing to address the issues and if the survey were actually used would only exacerbate the issues he describes.

First off, Lauren is asking people to disclose their upload and download speeds but disagrees with they way the FCC has asked people to do. The FCC asks everyone to use the same measuring tool. (at least that is my understanding according to Lauren's summary of the FCC survey which I have never seen). Using the same tool is important. As Lauren himself states in commenting on the disparity between his own tools used to measure internet speed vs the FCC, the results can vary depending on the tool used. While the FCC's tool may have its issues, if everyone uses it for the test then it has relative validity. If you are to get valid usable results you have to control as many of the testing conditions as you can.

The other issue, is the level of complexity of the survey. Again, I have not seen the FCC's survey so perhaps it is also fairly complex but asking people to measure the upload and download speeds, address issues of latency and what have you is not going to be survey that everyone will be able to understand or complete.

Aside from that, how many people remember what there isp promised in terms of these. While they can be looked up, most people will probably just rattle off some numbers that they think they remember when they signed up for their service (and this of course assumes that those speeds have not changed by the provider since the day they signed their contract. I know when I had Comcast my upload and download speeds increased considerably over the two years I had them as they made upgrades to their network.

Finally, don't ever claim that your survey "Asks the right questions". Not only is it bit conceited you are basically begging people to find fault with it.

Finally, if perfect measure of internet speeds and service were truly wanted then what should be supplied is a program that measure the desired information and then that information is then sent to the FCC to use the data as they will. This would take care of user errors in interpretation.

Re:"A Survey that does not get it right" (1)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#31579896)

I'm halfway convinced this survey is just a method to harvest e-mail addresses.

FCC Speed test: misleading results ... (1)

Herschel Cohen (568) | about 4 years ago | (#31581536)

Just seeing 20,000 plus kilobits down and over 4,000 kilobits up were obviously burst speeds that are available for very short periods and amounts. Yes those are the real, however, they are maximum values seen rarely. I wonder too how many providers are detecting the test to skew the results upward to imaginary values. Unfortunately, I suspect more than just a few.

Doubting Thomas (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 4 years ago | (#31581560)

I ran the FFC speed test, but I would love some assurance that ISPs aren't gaming the results by giving every up/down connection to these speed test suites (especially the FFC one) top drawer, white-glove priorty to achieve 99.99% of your plan's max speed.

Broken (1)

jimbob666 (1050308) | about 4 years ago | (#31581634)

Oh dear I get 'This form is disabled' after hitting submit.

I don't think it is an email harvester because that field is optional.

Form disabled message (1)

Amigan (25469) | about 4 years ago | (#31582054)

Took the poll, submitted, received message that the form was disabled...

Re:Form disabled message (1)

wytcld (179112) | about 4 years ago | (#31582492)

Yup. To get this posted here, then not keep your fucking form up, or even put a notice at the top of it that you're not accepting it ... total douche.

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