I figured that most people would select something in the middle, so I should probably select something on the end to taper off the bell. Then I thought some people might be thinking what I was thinking, which would lead to an inverse bell, so I should select something in the middle. Then I thought, “You’ve already spent more than 2 seconds thinking about this. Just click something,” and selected 1.
Rather than trying to guess what everyone else would do, I decided to take an approach that, if everyone followed it, would naturally produce a bell curve: I rolled dice. Specifically, I did (3d6)/2, rounded down, which got me a 4.
But then I decided to take a second-order approach–I would pick a number that is likely to be picked less than its proper normal distribution would demand. I figured most people would pick either the center, with a few (but far more than should) picking the ends. So I decided to pick something just off-center, because it should have high weight, but most people who’d go towards the center would pick the center.
I picked 5 because I know that the SDMB has a lot of people who think they’re all special unique snowflakes and would want to express that with an extremity pick, and the curve would need more people in the middle.
Figuring that people are terrible at this sort of thing, I decided to make my contribution pure, in terms of expected value. So I came up with a bell-curve shaped distribution of numbers 1-100 (a plurality being assigned to “5,” the second largest amount assigned to “4” and “6,” etc.), then had a random number generator spit out a result. It gave me 93, which corresponded to a 7 (94 would’ve been an 8, 99 would be a 9).