[EM] <<process>> Collective ordering of SW standards

Steve Eppley seppley at alumni.caltech.edu
Wed Mar 6 00:29:38 PST 1996

Mike Ossipoff wrote:
>It probably wouldn't be necessary for us to rate the standards--the
>ER members can do that for themselves.

I see value in presenting our ratings (or rankings) of the standards
in the report, along with our reasons for our votes on them.  This
would help the readers focus on standards we consider important and
help inform their own process of rating.

>Yes, it's true that, while PR is a new kind of legislature, SW reform
>is merely a better way of doing what we already do: electing 1 person
>to 1 office.

Or choosing one of a set of citizen initiatives, or proposals in a 
group.  Most groups are clueless how to do this well, as I was a few 
months ago.  (Group decision-making should be part of universities' 
core curricula.)

I've been participating some in the Alliance movement launched by
Ronnie Dugger, and taught some of the leaders the value of ranking
agenda proposals.  I hope I can also persuade them that the Alliance
agenda should rank electoral reforms high.  (Quite possible--
besides fighting corporate rule, the aim is to improve democracy. 
Flip sides of the same coin.  Ronnie himself was a lurker in
elections-reform until email volume caused him to drop out
recently.)  Some want to work within the existing system, though,
thinking the democratic tools are adequate if we organize well.

The Alliance is also struggling to organize itself democratically. 
It will be interesting to see if it evolves to prop rep.

>And I completely agree that SW reform will be easier to get for that
>reason. I've never heard any opposition to it, except for one clown

Do you think there'd be serious opposition to multiproposal (via
Condorcet ballot) Initiative reform?

> at the merit-discussing stage, as opposed to the actual
>initiative-organizing stage, I don't know that standards that none
>of us have proposed are at all relevant to our discussion. Standards
>that are important neither to the public nor to electoral reformers.
>However I'll bring those academic standards into the discussion if
>anyone wishes.

There's no harm in appending these standards to the list.  They'll 
still have to compete with the other standards to get into our 
discussion agenda.  I've already inserted a slug of "standards"
which might never receive our time, since I prefer to err on the side 
of completeness.

If you're right about those standards, then the report can include 
them rated low along with your explanation why we rated them low.
If the methods score significantly different on those standards, we 
should note how, too.

On ordering our agenda by standards:
>As I was saying in another message today, I wouldn't object to
>Approval, though it would probably be better to order all the
>standards in 1 Approval vote.

It's likely that additional standards will be added during the
process, and possible that our opinions on the discussion order 
will change.

What's gained by fixing the agenda at the beginning?  Less
administrative overhead?  Will that outweigh the loss of flexibility?

If we plan on occasional agenda votes, we can choose a voting method 
which distributes our deliberation over time.  The method need only 
set our agenda for a short term.

>I propose Condorcet's method. Collect rankings of the standards &
>do a Condorcet count for 1st standard to discuss.

A point in its favor is that Rob and Lucien have already implemented
a Condorcet machine.  A point against is that ranking takes more
deliberation than approval if the agenda order isn't very important.

pro {{Economic Feasibility {{EM-condorcet {{forethought
pro {{Voter Overhead {{EM-approval   


We don't need a method which is very precise.  It won't hurt the
report if we discuss standard3 before standard2. 

- - -

While I assembled the preliminary keyphrase faq, one thing I noticed
is severely lacking is decent descriptions of the standards.  I
won't feel comfortable voting to schedule a standard for discussion
before it's described.

Any descriptions submitted to the faq maintainer will be included in
the faq.


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