Put it to a social vote: Hyperarchy
My Google alerts just introduced me to a new collaborative decision making tool called Hyperarchy Social, by Nathan Sobo of Pivotal Labs. The tool invites users to pose a question and offer multiple answer options. Where it gets good is in the ranking interface (drag and drop, which is fun) and in the ability for anyone add an answer option.
On the social side, the innovative piece is that you can see not just who suggested the question but everyone who answered. Clicking on a respondent’s avatar shows you how that person ranked the options.
There’s some methodology challenges on the accuracy of the outcomes because choices are displayed according to “current consensus” or popularity. This will result in what Mark Klein over at MIT calls dysfunctional ranking outcomes:
When people are asked to rate a very long list of items sorted by their current average rating, one can expect that the system will quickly “lock” into a fairly static, and arbitrary, ranking. People are more likely to vote for ideas that are already higher in the list, since if there are thousands of ideas, people will in all likelihood stop looking after the first few. So the first few winners take all, even if they are inferior to many other ideas in the list.
What I’ll be keeping an eye out for on this tool is an ability to embed the interface into another site, so it can be used to focus and advance discussions with your community or in a particular project.