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Archive for March 18th, 2007

IndyStar does polls right

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

You’ll remember my previous post about the wrong way to do polls.

In it, I lamented newspapers tendancies to put polls at the bottom of the homepage and to not include any context or link to the story. Those are major pet peeves of mine. I also mentioned any publication of the results needs a disclaimer about how unscientific the poll is.

I just noticed the IndyStar does polls right. Usually, I enter the Star through my RSS reader and bypass the homepage. Today, after reading an article I decided to click over and take a look at the front page.

Indy Star gets polls right

What I like:

  • Location: The poll is on the second full screen down on the page. It is in the middle of the main content area. Granted it’s under an ad, but it’s still located with the other news headlines and content.

  • Topic: This is a controversial issue in Indiana. Just the 104 comments on the story already and the near 50/50 split on the poll should tip off even those who couldn’t care less that lots of people do in fact care. Lots of interest means lots of readers with strong opinions to take the poll.
  • Context: Notice that blue in the image? It’s a link to, get this, the story that prompted this poll. Now that you got my attention, I want to know more about where the bypass stands. I don’t have to go search through your clunky archive to find it. (I’ve never actually used their archive, but news site archives are by very nature hard to work with.)

I still would like to see a link to the poll on the story itself, but I’ll settle for this as a good example of polls for newspapers to follow.

For all the drivers who can’t drive

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

I want one of these:

New Products: Flash IMs to fellow drivers


Want to flash a message to the tailgating car behind you? With Roadmaster’s Scrolling Rear Deck Message System, you can tell the car to “Slow Down,” or one of nearly 10 other messages. by Roadmaster

Want to flash a message to the tailgating car behind you? With Roadmaster’s Scrolling Rear Deck Message System, you can tell the offending driver to “Slow Down.” With more than 99 preset words and phrases, you also can ask for “Help,” tell drivers you’re “Turning Left” or create your own message to share. Using the included remote control, you can adjust the message’s speed and brightness as it scrolls across the LED display. Just be careful where you drive as not all states allow scrolling displays in moving vehicles. Roadmaster also makes a Scrolling Digital License Plate Frame. Both items cost about $60 each.


Of course mine would probably include a few phrases like “WTF? Back off” or “That was a stop sign, moron.” I could have so much fun with that. Genius.