# Standards

Saari at aol.com Saari at aol.com
Fri Jun 26 18:14:02 PDT 1998

```In a message dated 98-06-26 01:12:58 EDT, you write:

> it's the responsibility of anyone
>of it, some standard or principle or criterion that it meets
>and that other methods don't meet.

In discussing a voting situation, two key elements are:
1) How the voters feel about the candidates, and
2) How the voters vote on the candidates

In most discussions (including ones on this list), both #1 and #2 are handled
by "ranking", i.e. A > C > B > D.  I find this to be quite inadequate,
especially for #1 (describing how the voters actually feel for a given
hypothetical situation).  Does anyone else out there feel this way?

For a tired but useful example, consider:
6 voters rank  A > C > B
4 voters rank C > A > B

Most analysis on this list *starts* with data of the above form.  (They are
also generally blurry whether they are referring to opinions (#1) or votes
(#2) - usually both.)  I don't have a "perfect" method for expressing true
voter feelings, but it seems clear to me that using expressive words such as
"excellent", "very good", "mild support", etc. is superior to a simple ranking
EVEN THOUGH THE MEANING IS LESS CLEAR.

In the above example, with only the ranking opinions given (6 rank A>C>B, 4
rank C>A>B), any "sensible" voting system MUST choose A as the winner assuming
the voters vote honestly via a ranked voting method.  But now let us express
the above opinions using some "fuzzy" words:
6 voters rate A as "excellent", C as "very good" and B as "poor"
4 voters rate C as "very good", A as "awful" and B as "horrific"

With this "fuzzy" info to work with, it is no longer so obvious that A is the
best outcome.  Quite possibly C is a better overall result (as the entire
group likes C whereas only 60% of the group likes A).  This conclusion can be
debated, but it is clear that the original simple ranking leaves much to be
desired in terms of our ability to draw meaningful conclusions as to the "best
result".

As long as this group insists on using simple rankings to convey the "original
opinions" for any given scenario, I will continue to question ANY conclusions
reached.  It is clear to me that simple rankings do NOT contain enough of the
important original data.  The ranking method of representation makes it easy
to have long involved discussions, but I find them to be more-or-less
worthless.  Does anyone else out there agree with me, or am I the only person
willing to challenge the status quo?

Mike Saari

```