Re: When the Captain's Away: TNG Version
I guess I just figured Riker would have a greater understanding of the pulse of the crew. There are subtle nuances that Riker would be able to pick up on before Data with a little bit more empathy. That and during diplomatic sessions you want your leading officer to be somewhat representative of the people he is speaking for. Data is petty much a one of a kind. I know there are many other races besides humans in the Federation but I think Riker would be better and has shown himself to be better at these things during the course of his career.
Searching for something, a million miles and a ways to go.