Re: We ditched consensus
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 12 Sep 2013 05:35:50 -0700 (PDT)
On Sep 12, 2013, at 1:50 AM, "Kay Wilson Fisk" <kwilsonfisk [at]> 

> Could you please explain how preference ranking would work? Would
> it take place during or outside a community meeting (e.g. a
> survey)?

I keep saying preference ranking and it should be preference _rating_ because 
each rater doesn't rank. Each rater rates each option without reference to 
other options (Ideally). One reason I like it is that it doesn't require a yes 
or no. If there are three options, I might rate two of them equally and the 
third very low, or the reverse.

You make a rating sheet with the alternatives listed. The alternatives need to 
be clearly described, either on the sheet or somewhere else accessible. On the 
wall if you are in a meeting. On your website, etc.

Put a row of number or stars next to the option. People mark their rating for 
each option. They do not rank them as first choice, second choice, etc.

If you will choosing on only the highest rated option, be sure to tell people 
to rate each one, not bullet vote for one, because it will backfire. The 
ratings are added up and divided by the number of voters. Then you have an 
average rating for each option. If people leave an item blank, they are not 
counted as a rater and the average for that item won't reflect what they think 
is a low rating. 

When people actually have no opinion on items that are not exclusive, this is 
fine. If they intend it to be very low rating, it won't be.

If you are rating a list of items that are not exclusive -- which activities 
would you like to see in the playroom, please rate these 1-5 -- it helps to put 
a 0 or something that says no preference. It saves questions. 

The counting up ratings is actually very easy. Make a spreadsheet, one person 
reads off the ratings and the other types them into the computer. It goes very 
fast. The computer adds and does averages. I usually do the ballot on a 
spreadsheet then add columns and formulas to do the tabulation.

I can send an example if people would like one. 

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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