03-27-08 - 1

How to make casual group decisions.

Typical office conversation around noon : Where do you want to go to lunch? Uh, I dunno, whatever, where do you wanna go? Whatever. Well what about that one place? Mmm, nah, not there. Well how about blank? Nah.

I like to play "Choice Giver / Selector". This is sort of like the fair way to cut cake. One person cuts the cake into pieces, then the other person gets to choose which piece they want.

In "Choice Giver / Selector" , first someone is nominated or volunteers to be the Choice Giver. The Choice Giver should give 2-3 fair options which are reasonably distinct, eg. you can't just give the one option you want and then other straw man options. There's always protection against a bad choice giver, because the Selector gets to choose one of the options, or he can select to swap roles - he says "none of the above" and then becomes the Choice Giver and must give options himself.

In terms of a social dynamic, two details of this are important. The Choice Giver is only giving a few choices - not simply listing every possible option. By only giving 2-3 options he is expressing his own preferences, not putting all ther burden of decision making on the Selector. The Selector also can't just simply say "no" - if he doesn't like the options then he must take on the burden of giving options, and he must then offer 2-3 options that are reasonable and distinct.

I've given the example for two people, but this works in a group too. The initial Choice Giver volunteers or is nominated by the group. The group then votes on the options, or votes "none of the above". If none of the above wins the vote, then the group votes to nominate a new Choice Giver.

Of course it's quite common for people to play an informal version of Choice Giver / Selector but they leave out some of the very crucial aspects of the rules which ruins the entire balance of the game.

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