Returned mail: User unknown (fwd)

Mike Ositoff ntk at
Mon Oct 12 19:16:07 PDT 1998

Forwarded message:

This letter to EM was returned because I'd addressed it
to "election-methdos". So I'm forwarding it to the list. Sorry
about the resulting ">" characters in the left margin.

> Charles said that one goal of the vote on standards would
> be to show whether or not the various count rules really give
> different results in a real election, rather than just theoretically.
> But it's known that they'll give different results in real elections.
> For one thing, however, if they give different results in this
> election, that will especially mean something, since it will
> suggest that they _often_ give different results. Additionally,
> if your favorite alternative is on the wrong end of a method's
> failure, then its failure will be especially well dramatized.
> But yes, it's useful to conduct an election, to show the different
> count rules in action, maybe demonstrating their failures, maybe
> not. If it doesn't bring out their failures, that merely means
> that the ones subject to failure didn't fail _this_ time.
> Let's hope that it doesn't take failures in public elections
> to convince people of IRO's inadequacy. Sometimes it seems as
> if CVD is trying to embarass itself in that way.
> Maybe it's premature to do a count of the rankings, but
> the results so far do seem to favor majority rule & sincerity.
> Though those 2 standards can be interpreted different ways, 
> something can be said about those ways:
> Majority rule:
> Don's interpretation of majority defines majority as a
> majority between a reduced set of the alternatives, a set thkat
> has been reduced according to his method's rules. If his method
> dumps candidates so that there are only 2 left, and a majority
> prefer one remaining one to the other, then he calls that 
> compliance with majority rule if that candidate then wins.
> Though anyone can define any standard they want to, please be
> advised that a definition of majority in terms of the method
> that one proposes differs from what the word means to most
> people.
> Blake says that he prefers to consider a majority to mean
> a majority of the people who have indicated preference between
> a particular pair. Fine. Any method meeting the Condorcet Criterion
> won't avoidably violate the principle that if A has such a
> majority over B, then if we choose A or B, it should be A.
> Condorcet Criterion methods honor Blakes majority.
> But when Blake proposes that differences are important, be
> advised that he's now talking about something different from
> a majority principle. I'm not saying that differences, as a
> principle or standard in its own right isn't valid. Only
> that no Condorcet Criterion method violates Blake's majority
> principle.
> The majority principle that I've suggested for rank elections
> with more than 2 alternatives, however, is violated by Margins
> and IRO. If the majority of the participants in a multi-alternative
> choice indicate that they'd rather have A than B, then if we
> chose one of those 2 it should be A. Blake said he disagreed
> wit that, but it probably is as obvious to most as it is to me.
> The example Blake gave to show  a reason for disagreeing
> contained the implied assumption that margins are more
> important. And if margins are important to some because
> they can be used to try to determine which pairwise propositions
> are more likely to be "true" (A really is better than B), then
> that must be considered a whole different standard, apart from
> majority rule.
> More subsequently.
> Mike

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