Somewhere along the way, Dungeons & Dragons dropped the "caller" role. I learned how to play and run the game from the Moldvay Basic Rules back in 1981, and the caller was prominently featured - for each dungeon exploration session, the players were expected to pick someone to map, and someone to "call". Moldvay defines the caller as "the player who normally tells the DM what his or her party will do, based on what the other players tell him or her". Here's a description right from the introduction:
To avoid confusion, the players should select one player to speak for the entire group or party. That player is named the caller. When unusual situations occur, each player may want to say what his or her characters is doing. The caller should make sure that he or she is accurately representing all the player characters' wishes. The caller is a mediator between the players and the DM, and should not judge what the player characters should do.
When I've seen the role mentioned on the modern discussion boards, it's usually disparaged with that charming anti-establishment attitude that makes us 'Muricans so likable. I don't need a leader. No one needs to speak for me, I can speak for myself. Don't tread on me. You can't make me wear a COVID mask. You're not the boss of me, and I certainly don't need a caller. (If alignment was real, sometimes I think a sizable portion of our society would be "chaotic neutral".)
I now recognize I've been keeping the caller as a vestige from an earlier instance of the game. I no longer have any 3rd or 4th edition books lying around, so I can't go see exactly when it dropped out of guidance on playing the game. My sense is that as D&D shifted from 6-10 (rowdy) players to much smaller groups, it naturally fell out of vogue. The 5th edition ideal is 4 players. Nonetheless, I still see value and practical benefits in the role.
As noted by Moldvay, the caller is not a tyrant. The role is a facilitator, to lead discussion among the players when group decisions need to be made. It's more of a scrum master rather than a project manager, if you happen to be in the tech world and can appreciate the analogy. Since I mainly run exploration games, the players need to spend time at the start of each game session aligning on a course of action. The caller is the one who frames the options and collects feedback from the other players, soliciting opinions and votes and bringing the group to a consensus. When discussion and planning have ended, they signal to me play is ready to proceed and the caller relates what they're doing. During combats, where the 5E initiative order is based on the individual, the players narrate their actions in order, but even then, the caller might kick off a discussion about major tactics and coordinated actions if the players are conflicted.
My home games have involved dads and kids for well over a decade (although now the "kids" are all graduating from high school) and being named party caller puts a player into a spotlight role and gives them the chance to develop group leadership skills. By shifting the role each week, it ensures even the quiet players get a chance to be the center of attention. This was particularly useful when the kids were younger, so the dads didn't dominate all the decision making. It made the dads act more as advisors. So although the caller role is a legacy feature, it still maintained its utility.
Finally, it gives the referee a break. I rarely need to ask the players "which way are you going at the dungeon intersection, or what are you doing next" because there's a caller there already doing that for me! "Guys, looks like we can go left or right at the dungeon intersection, let's figure out what we're doing?" It takes a lot of energy to run a game, and it helps you stay a step ahead of the action when one of the players is expediting the group decisions. It gives the referee a breather to get the next set of descriptions right or consider some upcoming dialogue, or reflect on how to adapt the situation due to player activities.
Basic Red Book from 1981 is still arguably the best way to learn how to play D&D, run the game, and build dungeons. Like so many people involved with the basic D&D line, Tom Moldvay's influence is really underrated. In another 15 years when I'm considering retirement, I'd be happy to run classic D&D with my fellow geezers somewhere using nothing but those Moldvay/Cook Basic and Expert Rules. While I've got several personal copies stashed away for the future, I'd love to see WOTC make them print-on-demand or republished when D&D turns 50 - I guess that's 2025? Probably too early to start a write-in campaign for it.