Ranked choice with 4-5 options doesn't really seem to work / can be easily gamed with 4-5 voters. What options give the best way to ensuring more people are happy with the result?

  • 1
    This seems like it will attract a large amount of conflicting answers. The number of voters is not the only thing to consider when choosing a voting system and what works for one purpose won't work for another.
    – Joe W
    Jul 21, 2021 at 18:28
  • 6
    "Best" for what goal, exactly?
    – Joe C
    Jul 21, 2021 at 19:30
  • Best to ensure people are happy with the result. The scenario is fairly non-adversarial, e.g. a group of people choosing what to do on the weekend (non adversarial in the sense that the worst case is people don't want to do the thing and don't show up). Jul 21, 2021 at 22:32
  • Happy with the results? What do they need to be happy with them? Some could be happy by drawing names out of a hat and others wouldn't be happy unless they won.
    – Joe W
    Jul 22, 2021 at 0:57

1 Answer 1


For small groups, the 'best' system of arriving at a choice isn't voting at all. Rather, this is where you should turn to things like negotiated consensus

Where the line between negotiating a consensus vs. reverting to elections makes sense depends on the issues and cultures in play - but basically if it would be reasonable to have a discussion among all stakeholders, negotiation is always going to yield a better result.

As you note, voting systems can be gamed and weird outcomes become more prevalent and likely when you stress democracy's main philosophical underpinning, the law of large numbers, which holds that you can drown out noise - even malfeasance - by simply gathering a large enough sample.

Negotiation, however, is purpose built to foil bad actors (or at least make them obvious to their peers), and confront bizarre outcomes, by focusing on the circumstantial specifics.

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