SWC's original task

Steve Eppley seppley at alumni.caltech.edu
Sat Apr 20 16:56:25 PDT 1996

Mike O wrote:
>So then, my suggestion is that now we return to our original task.
>We've already got a lot of SW standards proposed. I'd add 1 more
>standard: Candidate Counting
>Surely that completes our list of standards, and now we're ready
>to vote on them. One issue is whether to vote, 1 at a time, on what
>standard we should evaluate methods by next. I suggest that there's
>no reason why 1 vote couldn't order the standards, so we wouldn't
>have to vote more times.

There's a third proposal, which is the one I proposed a couple months 
ago:  Every so often we use Approval to pick a few standards to 
discuss next (discuss one at a time).  

This has some advantages:
1. Flexible: allows new standards to be added to the list at any time.
   (There's no need to assume the list is complete.)
2. Flexible: the discussion of some standards may provide a reason to 
   elevate the urgency of discussing others.
3. Most-approved is easier to calculate than Smith-Condorcet.
4. It allows easy termination of the discussion: if no standards are
   approved, further discussion is stalled.  (We might also want to
   impose a requirement that no standard gets approved if its Nos are
   greater than its Yeses, or if it doesn't have at least 2 Yeses, but 
   I'm not sure these restrictions would be appropriate.)
5. Voting several winners at a time means fewer elections than if we
   just pick one at a time.

The flexibility (1 and 2) is important to me.

It's probably true that we wouldn't recommend Approval for use in
single-winner elections, but these votes aren't single-winner.  And
since the agenda order isn't critical here, there's no reason to be
overly concerned about discussing a less important standard before a
more important standard--the more important one would soon get its 
turn in the sun.

- -

We'll also have to vote on some other rival proposals which concern
how we'll discuss.  Rob had one and I had one.  

I proposed that we insert a special syntax throughout our messages
to aid in converting them to a single document later--the syntax will
make it possible to search for keyphrases which will be contained in
the Glossary, so our message folders would in essence become
searchable databases.  (For a definition of the syntax, see the end
of the Glossary periodic post.  But I'm not sure the syntax shown
there is complete; it may make sense to also use "rebut", or "rebut
rebut rebut ...", preceding the "pro" or "con" word where appropriate.)  
I was the only person who tried using the syntax, and I found it
easy, but it may have appeared intimidating to others.

Rob proposed that we do without any special syntax and have a
rotating volunteer convert the messages as they're posted.

My proposal doesn't specify whether the messages are converted as
they're posted, but that's certainly an option.  I'd at least like
to see the syntax tested (by the conversion process, to make sure
it's worthwhile) early, if we adopt my proposal. 

It's possible to try both these proposals for a few days each before
picking one. 


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