I am looking for a word describing people giving fake answers on a questionnaire. The specific behavior is, for example, choosing 'one' out of a five-points Likert scale for all the questions of the survey. I thought of:

  1. cheater, but it seems too negative
  2. liar, but it is not a lie since they did not try to hide the truth
  3. other negative words who are not very respectful

The sentence in which I would like to use this word: This procedure excluded 24 [cheaters] from further analysis, since they did not give honest answers.

Any suggestions?

Given that much information is spread in the comments I will try to make a summary it to give more context.

Respondents are first year college students (about 1200) filling in three personality questionnaires in exchange for course credits. The three questionnaires address opposing personality traits. As David K pointed out in chat there are statements contradicting each other, say two query per questionnaire. These statements are supposed to receive a score of '5' if one person scores '1' on the other (theoretically). Moreover, there are a total of 75 queries, each with five response options. Therefore I assumed that a person choosing the same response 75 times is giving meaningless responses. I believe the motive is laziness and they are encouraged by the study credits reward, not money but close enough.

A short detour on how I detected the persons giving meaningless answers. I checked whether they used 75 times the same response.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 23:52
  • Flippant, frivolous, insincere, feign, toadyish respondent, skimmer
    – AMN
    Commented Nov 22, 2020 at 6:24

6 Answers 6


I work in market research, and we call such respondents straight-liners or speeders.

Straight-liners are defined as those that answer the same way for each question, typically in a grid


Speeders should typically be defined as those that aren’t paying attention/engaged with the survey and are therefore poor respondents

Source for definitions: emi research solutions.

Sample use in a sentence:

This procedure excluded 24 straight-liners from further analysis, since they did not give honest answers on the Likert question.

  • I think OP was asking about people that deliberately lie in surveys giving valid and though answers made explicitly to manipulate market (or the survey). Not to speeders that just want money from surveys. Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 14:01
  • 2
    @DarioOO, thank you for the comments, and apologies for not being clear. I am meaning speeders.
    – HelloWorld
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 15:34
  • 1
    I think I need to start a similiar question then @HelloWorld :') Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 15:51

This procedure excluded 24 junk responses from further analysis, since they did not give honest answers.

2. anything that is regarded as worthless, meaningless, or contemptible; trash.

Note: I think the emphasises that it is the responses not the answerers that are discarded.

  • 1
    Nonsense also works well.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 21:39
  • 2
    Thank for the input, but I really meant the responders. Considering the responses I would have to say that I discarded 1800 responses (24 people by 75 responses). I also find junk responses too negative, I would prefer meaningless responses
    – HelloWorld
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 7:44
  • lol, I was not aware that a program can deduce which answers are not honest, actually In a recent survey I did honestly 2 contrastating answers because of a small difference in context, they automatically discarded those, and I made them notice that was wrong, but their response was "well never mind it is just a corner case". Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 14:00
  • 1
    Junk is a value judgement, so would need to be used cautiously.
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 15:13

"Outliers" might work well as a neutral term in your example sentence:

This procedure excluded 24 outliers from further analysis, since they did not give honest answers.

An outlier is "a person, thing, or fact that is very different from other people, things, or facts, so that it cannot be used to draw general conclusions." (Cambridge Dictionary)

An outlier is also "a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample." (Merriam-Webtser Dictionary)

"Outlier" does not suggest fakery, of course, but the context is supplied by the rest of your sentence.

  • 1
    +1 but "since they appeared not to give honest answers according to [specified] criteria" would be more descriptive (I know the wording came from the Q)
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 15:15
  • I really like "outliers", but it gives the connotation that the results are outside the standard set, and not all of the "cheaters" are outside the standard response set.
    – McKay
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 0:53
  • 1
    In the revision to his question, the OP has now stated: "Therefore I assumed that a person choosing the same response 75 times is giving meaningless responses." I think he is saying that he considers those respondents to be the "cheaters" who are outside the standard set of all respondents. (However, if I'm misunderstanding your point, please set me straight.) Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 18:58
  • @Mark Hubbard, you understood my point.
    – HelloWorld
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 19:21
  • As you mention, given that there is no implication of the disingenuous/false replies of the respondents in question, I would disagree with "outliers" on its own in this case. If an outlier is "naturally" made so because of his/her honest replies, perhaps it could work here with a modifier-- unnatural outliers? False outliers? Both good band names. Or intentional outliers?
    – cmcf
    Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 2:28

This procedure excluded 24 "fraudulent responders" from further analysis, since they did not give honest answers.


It depends rather on the motives of the person (and one’s attitude towards them).

Spoiler” might work if the intention was to invalidate the survey.

Privacy advocate” might be appropriate if the survey purported to be anonymous and the person suspected that it was not.

Feedbackphobe (or, US, feedbackfobe?)” might be a candidate neologism if you regarded it as a psychological condition*.

And if you knew nothing about the motive, you could always try “liar”.


I now find that “Feedback Phobia” (British and US spelling) does exist (e.g.in the book, Management Intelligence) but seems to be used to describe someone who fears receiving — rather than giving — feedback. Clearly more thought needs to be given to inventing an unambiguous term — something like “Questionnayer” perhaps.

  • 11
    Although I’m an American, I would never use feedbackfobe. Only the ph one is spelled correctly IMO
    – J F
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 23:57
  • Sometimes you are required to answer a questionnaire before you can make a complaint or get a coupon, and thus are motivated to click the boxes as fast as possible. I can't think of a word for this. Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 4:15
  • feedbackphobe/fobe Is this a thing now? Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 5:14
  • I think the motive is laziness and/or carelessness
    – HelloWorld
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 7:47
  • @JF and supporters. Confession. I invented ‘feedbackphobe’ — at least as a single word — and certainly its imagined US spelling. I have now added a question mark to indicate I am being ironic. (I was thinking of the US spelling of sulphur/sulfur but I imagine that relates to variation in — or indeed the most common — English spelling at the time of the Mayflower.) As it happens, the unconcatenated version has already been taken for a different meaning as I mention in a footnote.
    – David
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 11:00


Bad data deliberately recorded is said to be falsified.

Therefore, I would call people doing it falsifiers.

verb (used with object), falsified, falsifying.

  1. to make false or incorrect, especially so as to deceive: to falsify income-tax reports.

falsifier, noun

This term lacks the moral judgement of liar or cheater. It also does not denote (possibly illegal) wrongdoing like fraudster.


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