Emacs User Survey

Frequently Asked Questions

During the 2020 survey, a lot of questions were raised. Based on them, here's a preemptive FAQ for the 2022 survey.

What is the point of the survey?

By the nature of the Emacs and its community, the only way developers tend to get feedback on how Emacs or an Emacs package is when somebody raises an issue with their experience or requests that a feature be added. This provides a poor understanding of the community's general experience and thoughts.

This survey essentially aims to bridge that gap, and in doing so provide more information that Emacs maintainers and package developers can use to guide their decisions.

Who are you?

Hi 👋, I'm Timothy, and I've been the driving force behind the 2022 Emacs User Survey. Adrien did a fantastic job with the 2020 survey, and I've worked with him to refine the 2020 questions and re-use the emacssurvey.org domain.

How is the survey being conducted?

To provide a smooth survey experience that satisfies the ethical and technical requirements of a survey on a free/libre and open source project, I ended up building my own survey framework. It requires no JS, and does no tracking, beyond simply recording an encrypted, xor'd form of respondant's IP addresses to enable the detection of duplicate and/or suspicious responses. You can see the set of questions used in the survey here.

This survey framework has been deployed on a simple Debian 11 VM, with the entire set up done by one short script, documented here.

What happens with the data?

The data collected in the first fortnight will be analysed and presented at EmacsConf 2022. An analysis on the complete results will be made available online at a later date (check back here after the survey closes).

The raw results themselves are available live, and can be found on the results page. In addition to a basic web view the results can also be downloaded in several formats, though the JLD2 data will be the most detailed.

How were the questions chosen?

The 2020 questions were taken as a starting point, and then a process of iterative refinement started. This involved a chat between myself and Adrien, a thread on emacs-devel, and the feedback of a lovely group of beta-testers (thanks everyone!).

It is safe to expect that the 2023 survey questions will undergo a similar process.

Why didn't you ask about…

In this survey I am specifically trying to maximise the value provided by the results for the amount of respondents time taken up by the survey. As such, while there are hundreds of potentially interesting questions, this survey tries to focus on the most impactive ones.

That said, there are likely some very good questions that haven't been considered. If you think you have a good idea, don't hesitate to get in touch 🙂.

How about an Emacs package to respond?

That's a fun idea! This year the focus has been on making the web-experience better. In future a survey API could well be added, on top of which an Emacs Survey package could be built.

Feel free to attempt this yourself if I take too long to get around to it.

How can I help out?

There are three primary ways you can help out with this survey:

Where can I report an issue or make a suggestion?

You can always send me an email (see the address listed on my GitHub profile).