Definition of Condorcet's method

Mike Ossipoff dfb at
Sat Apr 20 14:00:20 PDT 1996

First, Bruce, would you mind explaining why you aren't willing to
reduce your line-length so that it will be compatible with e-mail?
Unless you do, it's difficult, & often impossible, as in the case
of your letter that I'm replying to now, to include a copy of your
letter in my reply. If you're going to write e-mail to this list
then you should use a line-length that's compatible with e-mail.
Shorten your line length, or say why you refuse to.

Regarding your list of my objections to your definitions of Condorcet's
method, some resemble (distortedly) objectionss that I've stated,
and some are news to me. 

But I'll very briefly summarize my objections: You're intentionally
wasting this committee's time by dumping on us a big list of definitions
for a method that some of us advocate. Why the hell should we be interested
in a big collection of new definitions for a method that we advocate?
You aren't saying that one of your definitions for Condorcet is better
than, or even as good as, my Condorcet proposal, according to any
specific standard or criterion. You're just dumping a proliferation
of definitions on us, for the purpose of wasting this committee's time.

But I will reply regarding each of the objections that you list:

1. You say that I object to the use of the name "Condorcet's method"
for any method that I don't approve of. On the contrary, I couldn't
care less how many bad methods you define & call Condorcet's method.
But they aren't of intererest to this committee.

2. You're right on with objection number 2: Yes, you've been 
misrepresenting my proposal, and you continue to do so in the
letter that I'm replying to. You're, in fact, repeating the same
misrepresentations that I'd previously commented on, further
confirming my dishonesty theory, to explain your postings.

After I told you that your definition of Condorcet's method counts
votes-for, while mine counts votes-against, you continue to claim
that your votes-for definition is the same method as the Condorcet's
method that I propose.

Also, my definition of Condorcet's method only looks at defeats.
I said that the winner, if no 1 candidate beats each one of the
others, is the candidate over whom fewest voters have ranked
the candidate who beats him who is ranked over him by the most

I worded this in lots of ways for you, so let me repeat a few
of the wordings:

The winner is the alternative least beaten by any alternative that
beats it, as measured by how many voters rank that other alternative
over it.


For each alternative, determine which alternative that beats it is
ranked over it by the most voters. The number of voters ranking that
other alternative over it is the measure of how beaten it is. The winner
is the alternative least beaten by this measure.


Careless or dishonest. I can't prove which it is, but I suspect
the latter, due to repeated instances.

3. You say that I object that some of your statements are true, but
wouldn't be true if you defined your terms differently. I agree with
you that this would indeed by a silly objection. But it isn't an
objection of mine. If you'll cite a particular thing I said that
you're referring to here then I'll explain what I meant in greater

Actually though, if something that you said is true only because of
an original definition that you're using, and it isn't true or 
important in terms of the definitions that we've been using, then
that is a valid objection. If I've used such an objection then
I stand by it & I don't agree that it's silly. If something that
you said only seems important based on definitions that only you
use, then that's a valid objection to it. Whether I've used that
objection, I don't know.

4. It seems to me that the 4th objection that you list is that
you might at some future time say something that isn't true. I'm
sure that I didn't post that objection.


But, returning to objection #2, would you mind letting me be the
one to define my proposal? If you must dump a heap of new definitions
of new methods on us, I'll have to insist that you not falslely
claim that any of them are the same as my proposal.


There seems, Bruce, to be a misunderstanding about the purpose of
the Single Winner Committee. We're not here to invent an ever-increasing
proliferation of new definitions for Condorcet's method or other
methods. Our purpose is to compare a few specific proposed methods
by certain proposed standards. If you want to invent lots of new
versions of Condorcet's method then I certainly encourage you to do
so in journal papers, but not here. 

If you believe that one of your versions is better, then say why
or don't bring it up. We're only interested in _proposed_ methods.
What exactly is your proposal? Copeland//Plurality.ext? If so then
answer the posted arguments about why it isn't as good.


And your "Condorcet(1/2)", as I said, shouldn't be called "Condorcet's
method", since its practice of inventing preferences that were never
expressed by the voter wasn't proposed by Condorcet. You're making
a very radical change in Condorcet's proposal there--too radical
to use his name for the method. Likewise, of course, with "Condorcet(1)".





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