[ntp:questions] Re: [TWiki] Document Format Poll

Brad Knowles brad.knowles at skynet.be
Sat Oct 11 17:33:50 UTC 2003

At 1:40 PM +0100 2003/10/11, David Woolley wrote:

>  The effect of this restriction is to skew an already very skewed poll
>  even further.

	No more than people voting multiple times.

>                 A valid poll would be polling people who were installing
>  ntpd but had no knowledge of the existence of this newsgroup/mailing list
>  or the web site, including those with no internet access (who could still
>  be installing from CD and using a radio clock, although they are probably
>  insignificant, although from questions asked here, just as likely to be
>  newbies).

	A valid poll would select a random sample of people who use the 
software on their machine, including people who download the code 
provided by ntp.org, the code provided by third-parties directly 
based on the code from ntp.org (e.g., RPMs or other pre-built 
binaries, but reasonably up-to-date), the people who use whatever 
code is shipped by their vendor, etc....  Based on this random poll, 
there would have to be enough respondents to ensure that the results 
were statistically valid, and provide enough sensitivity to be able 
to accurately determine even relatively small differences.

	To properly design a poll in this manner, you really need to have 
a doctorate in statistics, or be using guidelines developed by people 
who have a doctorate in statistics, and ensure that there aren't any 
unexpected holes or other flaws.

	We're not making any attempt to go to these lengths.  We know 
that the results will be self-selected, but we're making the best use 
we can of the tools available to us.

Brad Knowles, <brad.knowles at skynet.be>

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
     -Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania.

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