Google Forms: Multiple Choice, List, Checkbox [en]

[fr] Attention: dans Google Forms, "multiple choice" n'est en fait pas un choix multiple. Il faut utiliser "checkbox" pour ça.

Like I did last year, I’m currently preparing the blogger accreditation request form for the LeWeb’09 conference in Paris (if you’re not a blogger and want to come, be sure to grab a very early bird ticket before the end of September — if you’re a student, get in touch with Géraldine). We’ll by the way shortly be letting you know which dates the form will be open for you to request an accreditation.

This is not the purpose of this post, however. I was a bit mystified by the difference between the “multiple choice”, “list”, and “checkbox” elements one can use to build a form using Google Forms, so I decided to build a quick test case to see how things worked. Brace yourself for a surprise (the test form is below, with explanations):



  • list is your normal “one choice only” drop-down list, no surprise here
  • checkbox is your real multiple choice list, with optional “other” choice which can be filled in manually
  • multiple choice is very poorly named, and is in fact a radio button “one choice only” list, but which allows an extra “other” choice which can be filled in manually

In all cases, multiple values are stored in a single spreadsheet cell as a comma-separated list. View the resulting spreadsheet.

I hope this will save somebody the trouble of working it all out themselves like I had to do!

More Musings on My Blogging [en]

I’ve been a blogger for the better part of my adult life. At 34 this summer, I’ll have spent 9 years of my life writing in this blog (which started its life as Tara Star’s Weblog) — and you can add to that an extra year of online publication experience before I discovered Blogger.

I have never really tried to accomplish much with my blog: it’s really mainly a place for me to dump stuff in written form, reaching a certain number of people who happen to read it every now and again. Though I do try to “think of the reader” to some extent when I write, it’s probably obvious to most of you that I have not put a huge amount of effort into tailoring my blog to make it as successful as possible (define “successful”, while you’re at it).

In that respect, I’m a bit of an anti-ProBlogger. Not that I have anything against Darren at all — he seems to be doing good stuff, but… well, I guess I just can’t be bothered.

The result, I’ll admit, is that CTTS is not exactly very reader-friendly: long periods with nothing, then spurts of posts during a week or two, huge long unreadable essays, and don’t get me started on categories and cross-post navigation in general. It also doesn’t do the best job it could of showcasing my writing and expertise (as my most valuable or important stuff is drowned amongst the over 2000 posts).

So, in a way, despite the modest success CTTS has attracted over the years, I tend to consider myself a Bad Blogger. Not that I don’t know how to do it (I do it for my clients pretty well)… but I wouldn’t say I’m a role-model 😉

All this to tell you that I’ve realised, again, that the less you blog… the less you blog. Specially when you have a tendency to write long-winded essay-like posts that take days (or at least a full whole day) to write. Blogging, for me, used to be about jotting down quick tidbits, Tumblr-like, and I keep having to drag myself back into that here on CTTS, because otherwise I just remain stuck not writing posts about Big Ideas and Serious Research. When I do things, I like to do things well. It’s a disease some call perfectionism, and it gets in the way of doing things — I’m mostly cured but I relapse regularly.

When I don’t blog, it’s not that I’ve run out of things to say. It’s usually that I have so many things to say I don’t have the time to do it properly. So I don’t. Because maybe a part of me would like to be a Good Blogger, writing well-researched and well-built posts, and Getting It Right.

Once again, then: back to the messy writing you’re used to see around here. Oh, and if you have suggestions for 20 or so categories in which to sort my posts… I’m listening.