Results of Poll 11: Unoriginal IP Games
Redefining Hardcore & Casual

New Poll: Public Spaces

This is a little different from the typical poll here... if we discount the market, which we are all inextricably embedded within, which of the public spaces in our world has the greatest influence on your life?

Perhaps your weekly rhythms are dictated by the football schedule, or the demands of following your baseball team. Or you might play in a local sports team, or have some other connection to the sporting world. If so, Sports might be the public space with the greatest influence on your life.

Or perhaps you go to a church every Sunday, or a synagogue on Sabbath, or a mosque to offer salat, or a temple of some other kind. Or you might be influenced by religion but never attend any public space - either way, Religion might be the public space with the greatest influence on your life.

Or maybe you are someone for whom the machinations of the political world hold your interest better than sports or religion. Or you might be a political activist - a campaigner for this-or-that cause. In which case, it might be that Politics are the greatest influence on your life.

And of course, there is always the possibility that none of these public spaces has a significant influence upon you, in which case there is always "none of the above" to fall back upon.

Which public space has been the biggest influence in your life?


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Yeah I need a "Friends and such" category. I mean, Footie is a minor religion for me, but it isn't the greatest influence on my life.


If this was about greatest influences on people's lives we'd just have a stack of "Friends" answers, and that would tell us nothing.

The whole point is to focus just upon the influence of the public spaces - hence Sport, Religion, Politics.

You decide! :)

Erm, how do you define a 'public space'?

I'm trying to work out what might be included in the unlisted options.


Yeah, I'm a little confused. None of the options are actual public spaces. They are open to the public, in so far as they allow most people entry, but sport matches are ticketed limited-attendance arenas, politics have very few public spaces or buildings where you can see it in action or discuss it, and certainly I don't really understand what you mean by the option ;) (If it is "political rallies" then that's a bit different then going to the local council or PTA meeting).

When I saw the title I immediately thought "Parks" or "Historical Places of Interest" or "Museums" or "Art Galleries" or things which are, actually, owned by the public/government and free to access.

Any chance on clarification here? I agree, if the list is as it is, then there is more relevance putting down "Music" (which I bet people who only go to one of those others always have been to see live music, or go to clubs), or "Drinking" or better "Socialising", where no doubt a ton of influence and discussion comes from, if only from the sheer amount of time doing it. There's a lot more influential, and even more then the "Sports" option free to enter locations which house a lot more influence, in my opinion.

Oh, and do you mean watching sports, or actually doing them? I am finding a weekly swim pretty nice (not the greatest influence, but there we go), but I barely ever ever watch sport live.

Basically, I can't choose anything but "None of the above" :) Which is fair enough, just an opinion on these "other things" would be nice.

I blinked at this and nearly went "Er... null question?" - so I suspect your question doesn't mean what I think it means. From the puzzled responses so far, I suspect I am not alone.

Of the three listed, Politics clearly has the greatest recent influence on my life. I don't actively participate, but the social structure in which I live is far more dictated by the political and religious processes over the last few thousand years than by anything else. In England, religious processes have declined in significance; therefore the political process has the greatest recent influence. It's difficult to see how anyone (other than perhaps a monk) could answer otherwise, as the political process has tendrils extending to all corners of our lives.

If you thought you were asking a different question and we're playing different language games, then I may need to change my answer.

Personally, I'd say the internet is the public space that's most influential to me.

The schedules of the Ceroc (dancing) franchises in my city. Tell me where this comes. I don't really think dancing counts as a sport...

Also the competition practice schedule... as the practices were for a choreographed event I definitely think that counts as a performance art and not a sport.

Okay, great confusion all around. :)

Firstly, what do I mean by "public space" here - I was following Hannah Arendt's ideas of private and public, that we looked at in the serial covering her book "The Human Condition", which you can find here.

Secondly, are these all the public spaces? No, I don't think so. Certainly art and so forth is also a kind of public space, and I did consider trying to include this, but eventually thought that a showdown between sports, religion and politics would be more interesting and less confusing - it seems I was wrong about the confusion! :)

Andrew: "none of the above" is bound to be the answer for many people, so if that's where you land, so be it.

Peter: you seem to be thinking about the influences on the culture, and then extending this to yourself by the (reasonable) assumption that the culture is the most influential force. But this takes this question in a way I did not quite intend. If the only way you can track these influences is at a cultural level, "none of the above" would have to be your answer.

If you do not actively follow or engage in sports, do not actively participate in religious activities and do not actively participate in any aspect of the political (or counter-political process), "none of the above" is the 'intended' answer for you.

Deirdra: ha, nice. Yes, the internet is a wholly new kind of public space... one which we are still exploring how to operate. But like the art world, this is outside of the scope of what is being asked here - if you don't feel the influence of sport, religion or politics, you have to take "none of the above" in the terms of the poll itself.

Interesting observation, though.

Katherine: I tried ceroc once - I found it more stressful than line dancing, but still quite good fun. But as you say, it's not really a sport. "None of the above", I'm afraid, once again.


So what's the point of the poll if so many people have to put "none of the above?" I suppose the point of the poll is to make a strange comparison between sports, religion and politics.

Just to share some results with you so far, of the 24 votes so far only two people have picked sports - one in Liverpool (or thereabouts) and one in Japan. Three people have picked politics - one in Penzance, and two on the eastern side of the US. The real "battle" seems to be between religion and "none of the above" - which are at 9 and 10 respectively. Europe and the East Coast of the US seem to be the main focus of "none of the above", while religion has cropped up in six different countries and three different continents.

So I apologise if the thrust of this poll is too strangely obscure, but I'm finding it quite interesting myself. :)

I think the basic problem here is that many people are reluctant to pick "none of the above" for some reason - perhaps the negative result is harder for people to assert?

Anyway, I hope these explanatory notes serve to give some clarity to the foggy mystery of it all. :)

Best wishes!

I think many people have been trained to believe that a questionnaire is only meaningful when you stay away from median scores and 'none of the above' as much as possible.

Even on a personal level, 'none of the above' can feel like a cop-out - for me, certainly it seemed as if maybe I was answering a different question to that asked.

Of course, as people, we all want as many things to cater for us as possible, so the N.o.t.A. answer can make us think, "Hey! Why's this question excluding us!" (I think being listed as a 'miscellaneous' option can make us feel like our stance is marginalised.

I fit the Sports description above a LOT more than anything else, however I already voted Religion before reading this as I was thinking of what had affected me most as a person.. as opposed to the weekly schedule kind of effects described here. Whoops. Change my vote if you like ;)

Politics? Ha!
Religion? Double ha!
Sports? Triple ha!

Well I think taking away the NotA would help people choose from that list. Also, having a question that only you are understanding or seeing a point to is less likely to garner interest from others.

I would be interested in the numbers who vote on this at the end of the voting period - compared to the numbers voting on the previous polls.

I certainly don't feel like there's a point to answering, which is a first for the polls you've had here. :-\

Bezman: I think you're right - the number of people here who have commented *because* they hit the "none of the above" answer is tangible. Which is a shame, because this is one of the interesting answers! :)

I wonder if there was a way to word this that would have made it seem a more acceptable to answer? I certainly expected this to be a popular response, which is why it was included.

Rik: what has influenced you most as a person is a perfectly legitimate way to answer this question. If that was your gut reaction, I'd run with it. The discussion of schedules was more to help people think about it if it *wasn't* obvious to them.

Sirc: so that's an indignant "none of the above", then? >:)

Neil: taking away none of the above destroys the purpose of the poll - it forces people to choose between three categories which self-evidently some people are not going to register as influences, when half the point is to see how many respondents don't rate these influences.

As for a question that only I understand, ha! It's not a tricky question to follow. :) The problem, as Bezman suggests, seems to be people's objection to taking "none of the above", not the question itself.

On the basis of the rate of the response, we're going to have more answers to this than the last poll on unoriginal IP, but less than the last role-playing games poll, so it seems there are plenty of people who can just take this at face value. Also: the high rate of response for the RPG poll was driven up by thousands of extra visitors when we got Kotaku'd.

As for you not thinking there's a point to answering - this is a head scratcher. I don't understand why you thought there was a point to the previous polls that is absent here. I ask the questions to explore the percentages that result, and people answer the polls because they like answering polls... that's about as far as it goes! Perhaps you're trying to read too much into it.

It's interesting that Peter also saw it as a null question, because it's relatively clear that most people aren't having a problem with this. So you and his difficulties perhaps say more about the two of you than the poll itself...

What's doubly interesting in your case is why you are reluctant to tick the sports box, which you've already intimated is the answer for you. Is it that you can't square this response in your head? Are you still thinking this is asking about the biggest influence in your life? Because it isn't asking that. And you can't honestly think it's none-of-the-above in your case. So what, other than a lack of motivation to answer, is the issue...

It's interesting that Peter also saw it as a null question, because it's relatively clear that most people aren't having a problem with this.

I'd be interested in your rate of answers before and after your expansion/clarification of 2008-09-08. My comment (and several other confused comments indicating that, yes, people were having problems with this) came before that.

Well maybe it is the wording. I know you are trying to ask which of the categories given has had the greatest effect on your life, but when you give the "None of the Above" option, it nullifies it for me. It feels more like you are saying, has one of these had greater influence on your life than anything else (which is the "None of the Above" in my eyes).

So in effect I feel like I am being asked, can I pigeonhole you into one of these three holes, or would you say something else has had more influence on your life.

And then to say, yeah sport is in effect the greatest of all influences on my life, is simply not the case for me.

To try and further clarify this position, I then feel offended when you are effectively telling me that Sport is the greatest influence in my life. It isn't.

I also appreciate this is all taking it a bit seriously or whatever, but I have a problem with the question, and if it was anywhere else I would just move on, but as a regular et al, I felt it worth trying to communicate the issue. :-)

And on a tongue-in-cheek note, Sport might have an influence on my life of some sort, but if you had put Football as an item, I may have felt differently. :-D

But probably not ;-)

Neil: You were the one who flagged sports as your possible answer (see above), don't shoot the messenger! :)

Let me reiterate that this isn't a poll about what's the greatest influence in your life. It's a poll about which is more influential in a person's life: sports, religion or politics. For those people who do not feel especially influenced by any of these (or are amusingly indignant at the suggestion, like Sirc), none of the above is included.

Perhaps 'none of the above' should say 'I can't decide' or some such, but I'm really not getting the impression it's a problem for most people.

To clarify the question one more time, you could replace it as follows: "Which of the following would you say has had more of an influence in your life?" To me, that's synonymous with what's written, but I guess to you it plays differently.

Anyway, if you don't want to answer, I really don't mind.

Peter: no idea about the rates before and after the clarification, but most people respond to the poll as they pass through, so it seems unlikely to be an issue - except in the case of people like Rik who were pulled one way by the poll and another by the post. :)

Best wishes!

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