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If we want to define ourselves, and who we want to be as community, it might be informative to explore who we are now. Therefore, I propose a census. This of course voluntary, and might reflect strong self-selection (meta? what is that?). Still, this might be anecdotally interesting.

Before actually carrying it out, we could discuss about:

  1. whether it is worth it,

  2. if so, what is the best approach to it

As I think it is worth it, I will add my proposal as an answer. You could comment on it, add your own, and of course argue against the whole idea though comments, votes, flags, another answer, DDoS attacks, account hacking, et cetera.

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    $\begingroup$ There was a similar, albeit less ambitious, attempt in 2015 which received a rather limited response: economics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1298/… $\endgroup$ – Adam Bailey Sep 12 '17 at 16:57
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    $\begingroup$ I agree it would definitely be interesting - but i wonder what use can we make of it, and which reach would we have. Say that you get 20% of the members to respond and you find out that most are academics or students. What happens then? (Not flaming, just trying to be constructive before we invest our time ;) $\endgroup$ – JoaoBotelho Sep 13 '17 at 0:08
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    $\begingroup$ Worse than a yes/no is (almost) complete indifference... :( $\endgroup$ – luchonacho Sep 21 '17 at 16:51
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Proposal

  • Make the survey through a meta post, rather than an outside online poll mechanism.
  • This should be a community wiki post, and remain open until the end of times.
  • Make it featured. This way it will appear in the main site and attract surveyees.

  • The options to be voted are predefined in advance.

  • Protect the question so that no more answers than those predefined are allowed (could be changed by mod of course).

  • One category per answer.

  • I propose to predefine the categories in advance. I suggest:

    • Undergraduate student of economics or finance
    • Undergraduate student, other
    • Graduate student of economics or finance
    • Graduate student, other
    • Post-doctoral student in economics or finance
    • Academic (lecturer, associate professor, professor, etc)
    • Professional economist (e.g. working in a research institute, think-tank, finance, etc)
    • Hobby economist (general interest in economics but not formal studies).
  • Regarding the voting, I suggest each votes up the answer that represents her/him, but only one answer per person. This probably cannot be enforced, so remains voluntary (no downvoting undegraduates please).

  • Anonymous? Not sure, but if not, we could ask each user that votes to include her/himself in the answer via editing, ideally via linking to her/his profile page.

  • Cannot think of anything else... maybe we could bet on the outcome? :)

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  • $\begingroup$ One refinement on the categories: the student options are for current students or people who graduated as such? My example: i'm a management consultant who graduated from economics 10 years ago. I don't identify so much with professional economist, but i do identify myself with "Professional with economics studies". Would it make sense to separate? $\endgroup$ – JoaoBotelho Sep 13 '17 at 0:05
  • $\begingroup$ Do we need the distinction of study levels? Several master and doctoral students would be simultaneously researcher/ academics. $\endgroup$ – JoaoBotelho Sep 13 '17 at 0:08
  • $\begingroup$ @JoaoBotelho I think academic is widely understood as not being a student, but a full-time researcher (+ maybe teaching). $\endgroup$ – luchonacho Sep 13 '17 at 8:23
  • $\begingroup$ If you must a poll, consider using comments rather than answers: comments can only be upvoted, not downvoted $\endgroup$ – 410 gone Oct 13 '17 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ I think "graduate student" is too broad a category. It can refer to Masters or PhD students and in countries with widespread terminal Masters degrees (e.g. Europe) there is a big distinction between a Masters and a PhD student. $\endgroup$ – BB King Nov 12 '17 at 11:29

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