If done correctly, a survey can be really useful. Asking the right questions is everything to getting an accurate result.
The surveys that NWI hands out to get feedback on the game feel really closed ended.
Having outcomes based on popular opinion for game updates is alright; but if the popular opinion is made up of uneducated individuals who have wild ideas on what the game should be, then it can be very damaging.
I get the NWI wants Sandstorm to be a unique FPS and a refresher for the market, but skipping out on fundamentals that make up any video game is just plane stupid.
Because of the massive gap in gameplay styles between COOP and PVP and the outright difference in direction the two communities want the game to go, it just does to add, remove and tweak mechanics that effect both gamemodes. And having surveys that are for both makes it even harder to determine what players want.