This survey idea has really taken off. I now have 12 or 13 volunteer pollsters, maybe more. And I’ve set up a new private blog for discussion of the questionnaire wording and design. It will also serve as HQ when the survey starts being done, and results start coming back. Invites have been sent to all the volunteers, and about half of them have showed up there.
So this blog will revert to normal over the next few days. Most of the survey discussion will take place over there.
But I’m still open to suggestions and advice. There was a very interesting anonymous suggestion that instead of using checkboxes, I should just use a simple line for people to mark. The more I thought about it, the better the idea seemed (with the slight variation of having a scale along it so that it could be easily read.)
Anyway, I’m very excited about the whole thing. I started off suggesting that that pollsters might only poll 10 or 20 smokers. But on reflection this seems a bit of an underestimate. In a city, a pollster might easily poll that number every day. Maybe they could easily poll 100 smokers or 200 smokers in total. And with 12 pollsters, that would be a survey of 1200 smokers in 5 different countries. And asking them questions about what always seems to me to be the really terrible thing about smoking bans: the damage they do to people’s social lives. To the best of my knowledge, this a question that Tobacco Control never asks. The only thing they seem to be concerned about is whether smoking bans make smokers give up smoking. Nothing else matters. And maybe that doesn’t matter either.
I think it’ll be a triumph if we can organise a poll in several different countries, and carry it out, and collate and process the results, and publish them. It’ll be a triumph of online organisation.
But of course, we haven’t got there yet. So it may actually turn out to be an example of how not to do it. We will see.
But even if we totally screw it up, we’ll learn from the experience, and see how to do it better next time.
Anyway, it’s a rather wonderful thing that, quite spontaneously, a bunch of people from all over the world have started working together to try to make this survey fly.