Not all group decisions have to be made using votes.

It’s OK if some decisions are made through consensus, individual initiative, or random choice.

When and whether to vote on a subject is a complicated decision in its own right. The applicability of voting to any particular decision depends on any number of factors, including

Example: Three people are going to see a movie. Two people want to see an action movie, and the third wants to see a romantic comedy. If they discuss and come to consensus, they might work out a way to make everyone (kinda) happy. If they try to force a vote (“Which movie should we see?”), the minority will lose out.

Example: I want to quit my book club. I get to decide on my own; it’s not up to the entire club to vote on whether I get to leave.

Example: A math teacher is deciding which of 3 topics to discuss at the next lecture. The students have never heard of any of these topics before, so how could their vote be any more rational than picking straws?

Example: Is the bread in my fridge getting moldy? Voting on it isn’t going to change what I see with my eyes.

See also


As threatened, here’s a new StartOver? page about voting. Anyone who thinks that we always have to vote on every single thing is invited to start their own page on the topic.

There are many situations in which voting is obviously the wrong thing to do and many more in which it may be a relatively poor way to make a decision. Would it be helpful in the “StartOver?” context to list some of these?


Define external redirect: StartOver

EditNearLinks: FairProcess