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Hi everyone! We are grad students at the University of Florida, we are using Lobste.rs in the final project for one of our classes and wanted to get your firsthand perspective of the site and how you use it. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask, we don’t bite :)

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    You could write queries to answer the first seven questions on this survey.

    I’m curious, how are you using the site? What’s your class? And: how will this data be used and shared?

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      Would you please post the raw data here once it’s collected?

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        I’d like to see the results as well.

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          I second this.

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            I third (for the sake of visibility)

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          Well, maybe first give some more information about the purpose of this survey and how you process and use the data? What is the (broader) context of your questions? I’m happy to help if you have a good goal and if it’s useful (also, I work within the higher education sector, I always like helping students). Also, what personal data will ‘surveymonkey’ collect and use and what for?

          Without such information it feels quite amateuristic to be honest. Lobsters violating the GDPR is one, but people doing research within a university should know better :-).

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            Isn’t this human subject research? Did you get approval from the university’s IRB committee? It’s not clear to me from the guidelines published by your university if this counts as human subject research. You may want to check with the IRB.

            Also personally I’m weirded out that a class is using the lobsters userbase for some sort of case study.

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              At least at my institution, class projects are usually exempt from IRB approval. But, if the authors ever want to share their results outside of their coursework, their request for IRB approval will probably be rejected because IRB doesn’t really like retrospective approvals (plus, it will be nearly impossible for the authors to get participants’ retrospective consent because the survey is anonymous).

              This project would have a fairly high chance to be approved by my IRB board. It has minimal risks to participants (the most likely risk is to be outed as a participant in the Lobsters community). My concerns are mostly related to instrument quality and data analysis methods. The survey seems to ask pretty basic questions that could be answered by just looking at the logs (as @pushcx mentions here). If I were a faculty advisor sponsoring an IRB application for this project I would be worried about the research questions that this survey is trying to answer and how well it could do it.

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                Also personally I’m weirded out that a class is using the lobsters userbase for some sort of case study.

                Why? I figure it’s just some fans who have a project that want to use a favorite site in the project. Maybe draw attention to it. What we do on here is public anyway.

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                I don’t mind taking surveys, as it is helpful for the broader community.

                In this case I am not sure what is the data being used for which makes me not want to fill out the survey. For all I know this could be some sort of psyops operation under the guise of University of Florida grad students to build profiles off of lobste.rs users for some nefarious reason(not likely I know).

                Who is your advisor, what is the topic of your research? What will you do with the data once the research project is over, will it be deleted? Will the paper be published so that we can read it?

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                  The first question is “how long have you had a lobste.rs account” with the first answer “>6 months”.

                  That should be “<6 months”.

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                    I’ve discovered that it’s surprisingly common to get that flipped around. I remember getting it drilled into me which way the sign opened when I was in elementary school, but adults still seem to have a lot of trouble with it.

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                      Did they tell you too that the sign is a little crocodile is opening its jaws to eat the biggest number?

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                        I think that’s what everyone learns. Although back in my day, Pac-Man was also a popular mnemonic.

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                          FWIW, I just remember that one end has 2 line ends/points, and the other has 1. 2>1 so the bigger number goes on the side with 2. I think that’s what they taught us in school? But maybe I just made it up.

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                      Same question should also have a “>5 years” option, fwiw.

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                        It made me do a double take for sure.

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                        Heheheheh. It’s questionable how much useful data you guys might get out of the survey, but hopefully you learn a thing or two about the process. 😁

                        I’m actually curious… Are you doing this for other sites to cross-compare? Do you get as many persnickety questions from those too?

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                          I’d like to know what the class is, and more about the project before answering.

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                            I use this website primarily to bring attention of my projects to a wider audience. I find that interesting things that require more than cursory knowledge on a topic tend to be overlooked here. As an example, if you look through my submitted stories, all of which I’ve authored, you’ll find that the submission with the most Internet points by a wide margin is not my machine code development tool, disassemblies using this tool, nor my Common Lisp library submission, but a book recommendation, because who can’t understand a book recommendation?

                            I find, in general, websites that do nothing but collect links and discussions concerning them are rotten. They lack a special quality that permits topics to go for long periods of time, for one. This thread will last a few days, at most, in all likelihood. A voting system, even when one is forced to provide a reason, still has issues, but these issues are rather well known, I suppose; I’ve never given an upvote or a downvote here.

                            So, asides from that, I occasionally scan the pages and, if I find an article I read and disagree with, I tear into it with a comprehensive critique. This usually goes rather well in collecting Internet points or starting subthreads with varied discussion, but occasionally I encounter that you simply get negative Internet points because people disagree with you and so label with ’‘troll’’ or ’‘incorrect’’. Still, I have my own ideas on programming and whatnot and you can view my posting history to see no lack of letting people know when I believe something is fundamentally misguided or stupid. There is no lack of dogma or ritualism here and I don’t intend to ’‘go with the flow’’, which is also what I’m doing with this comment.

                            So, to conclude, I use this website to get a wider audience for my projects and articles and whatnot, but I’ve had much better experiences with other websites, such as anonymous imageboards, where threads last months or years, it’s not inconvenient to see which posts are new, and, as an acquaintance put it, people tend to have high ’‘trait openness’’ in contrast to a website such as this where people tend to have high ’‘trait agreeableness’’. Still, I keep my account because this website is invite-only and I may as well.

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                              Promotion is a big draw for this type of site. Before I was a member, I had a peice linked from here that was on the front page for more than a day that drew considerable traffic. It’s a reliable way to get clicks for content marketing efforts, not that I personally do that.

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                              The last question “how many years experience do you have” was a bit confusing: I’ve been a PhD student for a few years, and that’s what I put as my “job title” and 3-5 years as my “experience”, but I also have several years of professional software development from before that, so it’s a bit ambiguous.

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                                On the first question, it looks like “>6 months” should instead be “< 6 months”.

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                                  I think a survey about what hardware, software, programming languages, etc. we use would be more interesting.

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                                    Thank you for your responses! We will not be releasing the results of this data publicly outside of this site and our class purposes. We want to understand all of you on a deeper level and see how you engage with this website. We will only be looking at the data for our final project. We will be closing the survey tonight and will post the raw data once we do so. Since we are students we are all still learning, and appreciate any feedback you have and your participation.

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                                      We want to understand all of you on a deeper level and see how you engage with this website

                                      While this may be benign and well-intentioned, it sounds pretty creepy. I think you should expand a lot more on what you’re exactly looking into.

                                      Also how do we even know this is a university study, or that there’s any kind of oversight - this survey could be made by anyone with an account, right?

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                                      This site has a higher signal vs noise ratio than most of its kind. The moderation is more transparent with constructive criticism to help people improve. The main draw for me is that there’s lots of people here that do interesting, hands-on work or give deep comments on a lot of technology. That includes C, formal methods, system administration, pentesting, web applications, accessibility… lots of good submissions and wisdom-fill comments on each over time. You will often see little to no votes or comments in general on lots of that. Then, folks just show up out of the blue with a whopper.

                                      So, I kept contributing more stuff. Most of my submissions are geared toward building highly-robust, nearly-invulnerable systems. I throw in programming and other compsci research on the side. Although people just mostly read for fun, there’s people who do FOSS, commercial development, and education that have applied some of that in their work. Love being able to help people achieve their goals even if indirectly. :)

                                      Note: You can see lists of submissions by type by clicking on our tags. You can also see users’ stories and comments via their profile.

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                                        Respectfully, I decided some years ago that I dont do free surveys.

                                        Good luck to you.

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                                          I’m happy to charge for the survey if that helps. (I’m also not on the survey team)

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                                            Can I ask why not?

                                            I’m not part of the survey team, I assure you.

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                                              because my time is valuable - to me anyway.

                                              why should I give my time away for free?

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                                                I hear that.

                                                I should probably give less of my time to lobste.rs.

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                                              If you would like your viewpoints to be represented, especially in a small site such as lobste.rs, then you might as well do them. You are much less likely to get lost in the data then on a large site such as /..

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                                                Represented in what? Some unknown study for an unknown purpose by some unknown grad students? Not even to talk trash at these people, but honestly the great majority of studies are never used for anything past the students’ degree. I think I’ll live if my viewpoint isn’t represented in that.

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                                              What information do you have in your user account. checks My username. I also technically have an email there but I automatically throw away every email except ones I expect, so it’s not meaningfully available unless you ask to send me an email.