I recently compiled results from our annual school survey of parents. This was the first time we have used the new survey platform from Constant Contact. We received SEVERAL complaints from parents that 500 characters is not enough room for their comments. Some of them were so frustrated, that they ate up several of their characters to tell us how frustrated they were, demand that we "fix it", or something else to that effect.
I don't recall ever having that complaint with the old platform where we had the option to allow up to 1000 characters. Perhaps it might be a good idea to provide that longer option again?
Thanks for posting! Do you have a specific situation that requires a set number of characters?
I needed to limit the character count to another amount than was available, and had to pick the next one higher. Even thought I stated the character limit in the question, it was overlooked, as people just looked at the counter in the text box. It would be of great help to allow a custom character amount.
What are some cases where you would want a larger comment section? What type of information are you trying to collect through these comment sections?
The parent survey is one of the few ways some of our parents feel comfortable providing specific feedback and concerns. Most believe the survey to be anonymous, so they are more honest than they would be otherwise. (For the most part, the survey is anonymous, as I am the only one with access to the full results; when I compile the answers, names and emails are not associated with the comments.) There is an option for them to add comments after many of the questions so that they can provide specific examples or clarify their rating. Not all of our parents enter comments, but those who do sometimes need more than 500 characters.
Knowing this limitation, I included instructions at the beginning of the survey suggesting that they could write their comments in an email or document and send them directly to me, promising that I would add those comments anonymously to the compiled results. Only one parent took advantage of this suggestion. This could be either because they didn't believe that it would remain anonymous, or because they did not read the "instructions". Both scenarios are very likely.
The most common comment I received in this survey had to do with the survey itself. Several parents complained about the new system (thought they were not specific about what they didn't like about it), and nearly all of those complaints included something to the effect of "you need to give us more than 500 characters for comments."
Basically, this year-end survey gives parents an opportunity to voice their complements, concerns, etc. While the comments can bring clarity to some of the data, we do focus on the data over the comments. But the comments are part of our parents feeling like they were heard and their frustration with the system this year proved that it is an important part of the process for our parents.
Thanks for following up with these examples! We have opened up your idea so other users can weigh in as well.
CC really needs to increase their character limit from 500 to at least 1,000 characters on their surveys and collected response questionnaires, etc.
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