As I’m sure is standard in family trips, in Maine we need a means of finding something to do that everyone will enjoy. I don’t know how your families do this, but in my family there are two particular ways – reverse weight priority voting (RWPV) and black box.
Reverse weight priority voting is a traditional open-source method based on mathematically approximating the overall relative group disposition towards each of a set of given activities. The way that RWPV works is each participant nominates a given number of activities, often two. These activities are listed on the left side of a chart, and each participant’s name (or initial) is listed as the heading of a column. Each person gives each option one rating, where lower ratings indicate more desire to perform the activity, hence “reverse weight priority.” Ratings range from 1 to n where n is the number of options. Per person, each rating is unique – that is, I may not assign two activities the same rating. When assigning ratings, the previous person’s ratings are hidden so that ratings reflect as much as possible only the rater’s opinions.Once all ratings are in, they are summed, and the lowest total wins! If there is time for multiple activities, participants may proceed from lowest to highest. In the above example Alice and I decided that I would write my blog and she would exercise. We both gave the act of killing a poor score, but Alice indicated she’d rather engage in murder than watch yet another episode of “Flight of the Conchords,” which I thought was harsh. Just kidding, “The Act of Killing” is another movie we’re watching.
Now for contrast, the “black box” method involves giving all activities to one person, such as my mother, who then, according to a proprietary algorithm not available to the public, generates a calendar which she places on the refrigerator. The term “black box” originates from computer science indicating any system whose internal workings cannot be investigated. An alternative method known as the “birthday box” method involves the individual who’s birthday it is deciding all activities for everyone.