Re: Movinmg forward with the best info you havein decisionmaking.
From: normangauss (
Date: Sun, 20 Mar 2005 12:57:24 -0800 (PST)

> MOVING AHEAD ANYWAYS with what you know  rather than getting paralysed in
indecision and over-analysis.

   I don't think you can over-analyze anything.  I have studied
decision-making processes in college and have put them into practice in
making personal decisions.  I am methodical in my approach and am never
stuck in indecision.  But unless these practices can be put to use on any
community issue, we are left with intuitive approaches which can be
detrimental in planning for the future because they are not based on facts.

> Seriously, especially here in California (and even more in your lovely
> mid-coast region, as featured in the recent movie "Sideways"), plants
> grow fast - they are a renewable resource, flexible and changeable over
> time.

     We are considerably drier than the location of "Sideways", receiving
only about 13 inches of rain in an average year; sometimes as little as 5
inches falls.  The native plants are slow growing.  If we want to save on
our water, we have to be content with slow growing drought tolerant plants.
If our already high water bills cannot be reduced, and this fact is
presented, this is a cogent argument, especially if HOA dues have to be
> I really find that a sense of perspective is helpful for living in
> community. Learn more about your neighbors and their priorities. Go out
> of you way to respect theirs and help them with their goals, and in the
> process they'll get educated about your priorities and will respect them.
> If you have information that is relevant to a decision, make sure it is
> available. But consider the consequences to the social fabric of the
> community before continuing to draw lines in the sand.

    I do not draw lines in the sand.  I only want all the bases covered in
any proposal.  If all the factors both pro and con are considered, and then
the decision does not go my way, I can live with it.  I just would rather
that the negative issues of an issue be considered by the community before
arriving at a positive decision.  That way, nobody can say, "I did not know
this was a problem!"
> It's very easy to imagine the worst-possible consequences of any
> decision. But doing so without also assessing the best-possible outcome,
> and looking at the probabilities of either outcome (not to mention
> everything inbetween), weighted by the knowledge that the group can not
> only adapt to circumstances/new information but change decisions at any
> time, can prevent making any decision at alll, something which has its
> own (usually negative) consequences. It's not like the effects of a
> decision are hidden forever -- people have to look at the trees every
> day, and perhaps when one effect becomes apparent, somebody else will
> engage and help find another creative solution. If it's important for you
> to hear them say "Norm, you were right", then imagine them saying that,
> and move on.
    I do not imagine the worst-possible consequences as being a certainty.
As you suggested, I assign probabilities to consequences, and that enables
me to arrive at any decision.  Also, the magnitude of the consequences
enters into the equation.  Thus if a minor consequence has a high
probability of occurring, I am more likely to discount it. I assign weights
to consequences based on their impact and on their probabilities.
Multiplying the weights by the probabilities gives me an index of

I also do not need to hear "Norm, you were right".   If I am proven wrong
one or two years from now, I can live with it.  But if whatever decision we
make has a high probability of affecting us negatively, either financially
or esthetically, I would like this known and considered before any decision
is arrived at.

My problem is people's reluctance to be analytical at all.  Intuition trumps
analysis here and that is what disturbs me.

Norm Gauss

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