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Poll Results

Poll 452: Which would you find a less objectionable format for ads on a DVD movie? The ads are completely unskippable, with any technology whatsoever (this is a hypothetical, okay?).

Total votes: 3204

30 minutes of ads before the movie begins: 2543 (79.4%)
Ad breaks, like on broadcast TV (before TiVo): 661 (20.6%)  

For those curious to know, 217 people elected to submit the poll with <choose> as their response. Which is actually fewer than I thought.

This poll generated some interesting discussion on the IWC forums. Several people expressed the opinion that neither option was even remotely acceptable, and declared their decision to refuse to vote. While perfectly within their rights to not bother answering my poll question, I found this rather frustrating.

Many of the poll questions I post are, by design, difficult decisions. I find the collection of data on how people think about such decisions to be interesting. In this case, I certainly agree that either option is pretty awful, and if I was faced with this sort of choice in real life, I would consider very strongly the option of not buying either sort of DVD.

However, this is a poll question, not a real life decision in which that "opting out" option is available. My goal here is to make you, dear reader, think about the relative pros (if there are any) and cons of these two options, and decide which one might be slightly better than the other. (Or which one is slightly even worse than the other, if you prefer to think of it that way.) Because that, to me, is the interesting answer, rather than the fairly obvious answer that "they're both terrible".

I think enough of you understand that to make the result of this poll truly interesting. It seems the front-loaded half hour of ads is perceived to be not as bad as enforced ad breaks. Presumably because you can set up your player in advance, read a book for half an hour, then enjoy your movie without interruption. The people who prefer the ad break format might have been thinking that waiting that long for the start of the movie would be worse than the sort of ad breaks you're used to on broadcast TV anyway. Whichever way you voted, thanks for taking the time to consider the question in the spirit intended.

For the people who voted <choose>, or refused to vote at all, I'd like to leave you with a thought. With these poll questions, I'm trying to learn something about how people think about difficult questions. I'm building a little confined box, with limited choices in it, and (for some of my polls anyway) the choices might all be ones that are unpalatable. I'm really hoping people will apply their minds to the question inside the box, and pick whichever of the options they find least horrible.

But you're clever people, and we live in a world where individuality, initiative, and thinking "outside the box" are valued. So naturally the reaction of some of the clever people who read these polls is to rebel and refuse to select any of the nasty options. Unfortunately, this is getting out of the hypothetical box I've constructed, and depriving us of some of the opinions of the people who would give the question the most careful thought!

I can't force you to select an option if you really don't want to. But in future, I'd be delighted if you gave a bit of thought to these really difficult poll questions and tried to pick one of the options, rather than just declaring them all to be so bad that you refuse to pick any of them. :-)


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