Goals & preliminary results

Mike Ositoff ntk at netcom.com
Mon Oct 12 19:19:58 PDT 1998

Forwarded message:

I first got this message returned to me because I'd mistakenly
addressed it to "election-methdos". Then, when I forwarded it
to the list, with the correct address, I forgot to change the
subject line, which still said "Returned Mail...". But we've
been getting so many of those that, with that title, my
letter would be unlikely to be displayed by anyone. So I'm
forwarding it again, with a better subject line. Again,
sorry about the ">" 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

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list