For advertising purposes only
Bogus polls are only useful for advertising, but as long as they are honest about it, that’s not a problem.
As a meritorious example, consider Forest & Bird’s Bird of the Year poll, which starts today. It exists to raise awareness of NZ birds and to get stories in the media about them, but it’s not claiming to be anything else.
At the time of writing, the kereru, ruru, and albatross were tied for first place. They’ve got more security to prevent multiple voting than the newspapers do — you can only vote once per email address — but it’s still just a self-selected poll of a tiny fraction of the population.
Radio NZ science broadcaster Allison Ballance is lobbying for the albatross, which is an excellent choice, but the only official StatsChat advice is to watch out for the penguins.
Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »