Cluster Computing Research
Creative Commons License photo credit: stwn

Once in a while, someone will pop into my community and ask members to fill out some survey. If the first time I hear of you and your survey is from reading a public post that you made in the community, that is not a good look for you.

I’m fairly protective of the community when it comes to people taking advantage of them. While our members are a great resource, the community doesn’t exist to fill out surveys for people. If you wish to utilize the community in this way, you really should ask the manager first and receive permission for doing so.

It’s a courteous, respectful thing to do. You don’t want to assume that your request is acceptable and if you post it and it is not, it’ll be removed. If your request is appropriate, having the stamp of approval from the manager can help you to get more responses as members know that it is alright.

I tend to reject commercial requests, but if it is a student working or a professor doing research on a paper, I’m usually happy to help them out, as long as they disclose their efforts properly. Though I do like to know where the data is going, whether or not the community will be cited as a source and whether or not the paper will be available to members to look at, once published.

All in all, the important thing to remember is that online communities weren’t built for you to conduct research. You are just another member in a community of people and you should always check to make sure it is OK before subjecting your fellow members to an off-site survey or for data collection that will be appropriated into a paper or report.

I always think well of people who ask first, even if I have to tell them no, while I don’t think so highly of those who simply take the liberty.