[EM] <process> Brief replies

Mike Ossipoff dfb at bbs.cruzio.com
Tue Mar 5 17:27:18 PST 1996


1. Discuss standards 1 at a time?
2. Purpose & method of voting on standards 
3. Standards causally related to other standards

I'll try to keep this a brief note.

1. Discuss standards 1 at a time?

I'd be agreeable to either procedure. Either discussing the standards
1 at a time, or having each of us talk about a standard & how a
method does or doesn't meet it. I prefer 1 at a time, and you seem
to agree on that. It will mean that no one dodges any standard, and
that will give ER a discussion rather than separate monologues.

2. Purpose & method of voting on standards:

a) Purpose

When I suggested voting on standards, I just meant for the purpose
of creating a collective ordering for the purpose of determinig the
order in which we'll discuss them.

I don't suggest that we necessarily emphasize to ER our ordering
of standards, because standards are an individual thing. 

b) Voting

Approval would be fine with me. But, since it's often difficult to
get many people to vote, wouldn't it be better to simply order the
standards based on 1 Approval vote, rather than conduct a new vote
for each next standard? This would reduce flexibility, but my experience
has been that the less voting that people are asked to do, the better.

But though I don't oppose Approval, and will quickly agree to it if
it's what anyone wants, Condorcet's method has a big plurality in this
group, and so that method, perhaps with NOTB & disapproval voting
added, might be the best compromise method.

We could collect rankings of the standards, and conduct a Condorcet
count for each  position in the collective ordering, to determine
which standard wins that position in the ordering. Of course only
1 balloting would be needed, and the counting would be quick & easy,
with so few voters.

In a committee that doesn't already have an established voting system,
there's always a dilemma about choice of voting system: Asking people
to vote on a voting system probably seems to many people like asking
them to do more voting than they'd like to, and may give some people
a Goldbergesque impression. On the other hand, if it isn't voted on,
and one or a few people choose the voting system, that could be
called undemocratic. Ideally I'd like to vote on the voting system,
but since participation in this discussion is open to anyone, maybe
the result of this discussion could decide the voting system without
anyone saying it's undemocratic. That sounds like the best solution.

So: I don't oppose the Approval proposal (though I suggest only
1 Approval vote for the whole ordering), but I also propose Condorcet's
method, with 1 balloting, and with counts to fill the 1st position in
the collective ordering, the 2nd position, etc. It's unfortunate, but
unavoidable, that tie-breakers are needed in small elections. Could
we consider Plurality to be the tie-breaker for Condorcet?

3. Standards causally related to other standards:

Many of the standards are about effects of meeting or not meeting
other standards. It would pare down our standards list if we
didn't use these indirect standards. For instance, many of the
standards, such as encouraging more people to run, are about
things that are consequences of the lesser-of-2-evils problem,
the need for defensive strategy.

One standard that's causally related to other standards in the
opposite direction is the standard of not rewarding offensive
strategy. The feasibility of successful offensive strategy would
make defensive strategy necessary. So the offensive strategy standard
is covered by the defensive strategy standard.

Likewise, but from the other direction, many indirect standards are
covered by more basic standards that are directly about how the
count chooses. In particular, the lesser-of-2-evils problem & 
(which is the same thing) the need for defensive strategy cover
many of the other standards.

Because I consider a multicandidate race a relative choice anyway,
it never occurred to me to consider absolute disapproval. Majority
rule could have 2 subheadings:

3a) Not electing someone to whom a majority prefers someone else

3b) Not electing someone whom a majority disapprove absolutely
    (though that's more difficult to define, and more difficult
      for the voter to judge)


Of course I was only kidding when I said "If disapproval can disqualify
someone, how would we ever elect Clinton?" I left out the :-)

But it's a serious fact that with our current lineups, it might be
difficult to elect anyone if disapproval can disqualify candidates.
The problem is that single-winner reform could then be blamed for
the chaos resulting from not having a President, and people might
react by throwing out the single-winner reform altogether, which
would be worse than having a disapproved President--if the lineup
is really so bad that a widely disapproved candidate wins.




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