Campaign issue: wv vs m

Sun Apr 15 23:21:55 PDT 2001

Martin wrote:


>And remember that exactly equal-rated candidates isn't common when
>people know things about all the candidates. There may be some
>candidates between whom I don't bother expressing preferences. But
>then it's my equal ranking of them that's insincere, by laziness.

If I give candidate A a utility of 0.5 +/- 0.1, and candidate B a utility of
0.49 +/- 0.1, am I being insincere if I do not rank A over B? Personally I
would rank A over B because it would marginally increase my expected outcome
{assuming that the method is a sensible one}, but I don't think it's right
to penalise people who do not make that decision.

I reply:

True, but the fact that wv methods give a temptation to increase one's
expectation by ranking more candidates isn't the kind of strategy
problem that I consider a problem. I'm more concerned if a majority
of all the voters have to strategize to get their way, especially if
the have to order-reverse. Or if that has to be done to protect the
win of a CW, or to prevent a non-Smith-set candidate from taking the
win away from a Smith-set candidate.

Sure, ideally there are lots of strategy perfections we'd like. But
let's ask which strategy faults are the worst, and choose methods that
get rid of those faults.

Martin continued:

It gets worse than that when you consider the problem whereby a voter with
A=1, B=0 has as much weight in the A>B contest as one with A=0.55, B=0.45 -
a minor preference can cancel out a major preference. By refusing to express
a minor preference due to uncertainty or laziness, surely such voters are
helping to produce a better winner at the end of the day? Surely they should
be applauded for that, in the same way that we would applaud those who give
sincere ratings in CR rather than strategising like crazy?

I reply:

I agree. And so the wv methods' tempation to rank more candidates,
to increase one's expectation can be regarded as a fault. But, again,
I suggest that there are no fault-free methods, and so the important
thing is to identify the worst faults, especially (for me) the worst
strategy faults, and then choose methods that do a good job of
getting rid of those faults. That's what the defensive strategy criteria
are for.

By the way, what do you think of my suggestion that, in our polls,
we consider ourselves to be on an honor system to vote sincerely in CR?

I'm not criticizing those who strategized in CR in our previous poll.
In fact I was one of those who did. I'm just suggesting that, to really
show CR acting as a method different from Approval, and in fairness to
those who don't strategize, we should make it an honor-system matter to
not strategize in CR.

Mike Ossipoff

Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list