More Standards

Mike Ositoff ntk at
Sun Oct 25 21:07:20 PST 1998

In a recent reply, I mentioned 2 criteria met only by
Approval (at least among the methods proposed here).

The criterion about a fixed set of alternatives is called
the Consistency Criterion. The one with the fixed set of
voters is called the Heritage Criterion.

I'm writing now to say that I'm not sure exactly what
assumptions the criteria make about the constancy of how
people vote. They say that they assume that people's
preference orderings don't change, and that's certainly
reasonable. Even assuming no order-reversal isn't so
unreasonable. But I don't know if they assume no truncation
for the rank-methods, or that truncation doesn't change
in the 2 elections.

In particular, and this is the purpose of writing now, I
suspect that they assume that, in Approval, people vote for
the same alternatives in both elections (except, in the Heritage
Criterion, for the removed alternatives, of course).

That doesn't seem at all realistic, for the Heritage Criterion,
that people would give Approval votes to the same alternatives
when the alternative set is drastically reduced. Maybe the
greater-evil has been removed, and they no longer need to
vote for their lesser-evil.

I wanted to clarify that. But the point was valid, that
there are innumerable criteria, and someone can say
"This seems to me to be important", and surely someone says
that about each one of those many criteria. For our purposes
here, though of course it's reasonable for me to say what's
important to me, the standards & criteria that have the most
weight must be the ones that many people say are important to

Mike Ossipoff

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