Facebook’s Questions design is poisoning answers

Within the last month or so, facebook overhauled their Questions feature to resemble polls.  I’ve been tinkering with Questions through my RestlessNapkin facebook page to see how well it worked.

It doesn’t.

Through a combination of answering questions that pop up in my news feed as well as starting my own questions, it’s become apparent that facebook overlooked the effect of showing other’s answers prior to voting.  I currently have a Questions poll asking people simply “What’s the best queso in Austin?”  I was expecting to see answers all over the board, instead one place commands 58% of the 19 current votes.

Why?

Because when I created the poll, I voted for the place that is currently in the lead.  Sure that’s not the only reason, I voted for the place because their queso is amazing.  However, this is Austin and there are countless places that should emerge on an open poll like this.

I don’t see any reason to show other’s votes prior to voting.  Imagine someone walking up to you and asking whether red, green or blue was the best primary color.  What would your answer be?  If that same person instead approached you and asked whether red, green or blue was the best primary color and included that red currently had 256 votes while blue and green had 45 and 18 respectively; what would your answer be then?

This is another fail to add to facebook’s increasingly flawed designs.  As I read a few days ago, facebook is the new ebay.  With their rapid growth, they have the network effect on their side preventing anyone from entering the market.  Unfortunately, this means we are all forced to use features that are half-thought out; built by the best engineers money can buy, but not designed by socially intelligent people.

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