Blake reply N+7

Mike Ositoff ntk at
Tue Sep 22 20:05:49 PDT 1998


Strictly speaking, under some quite impossible offensive
strategy conditions, VA could require ranking a less-liked
alternative equal to a more-liked one. I discussed this at
length when I rejoined this list some months ago. It would require
the offensive stratgists to engineer not only a circular tie,
but a circular majority subcycle. 

For all practical purposes, VA never requires ranking a less-
liked alternative equal to a more-liked one as a defensive

For something more precise:

A method meets LO2E-2 is it's true that:

For any 1 particular alternative A and any 1 particular
alternative B,

If a majority of all the voters rank A over B, then there's
a way that they can vote that will ensure that A can't win,
and that doesn't require voting A equal to or over anything
that they prefer to it.


> > > However, I think we should consider that the same votes could result
> > > 44 A C B
> > > 28 B
> > > 28 C B A
> > > And that they are actually all sincere.  This results in
> > 
> > If they're all sincere, there's no Condorcet winner to protect.
> > And it isn't possible to avoid violating the expressed wishes
> > of a majority. That isn't the kind of situation where there's
> > a LO2E problem, where it's necessary & possible to avoid 
> > serious violations.
> I think this may be our main difference of opinion.  You are only
> interested in situations where there is a Condorcet winner.  I think it
> is important to use a method that is fair and reasonable even when there
> is no Condorcet winner.  A fair method would not punish voters for
> ignorance of the random-filling strategy.  A reasonable method would not
> consider a vote of 
> 	52 to 48
> as more decisive than a vote of
> 	51 to 1
> We should remember why we abandoned GMC in its original form.  To do so
> meant we had to abandon some of the stronger statements about the power
> of a "genuine" majority.  And the difference between original and beat
> path GMC only affected those cases without a Condorcet winner.  But we
> abandoned it anyway because of the strange way it forced a method to
> behave in these cases.  I think the next step is to abandon GMC and the
> genuine majority distinction altogether for the strange results it
> causes.
> I imagine someone could at this point say, "All right, it does not make
> any sense to sincerely leave candidates unranked in Votes-Against, but
> that is a small price to pay for the defensive strategy it creates for a
> Condorcet winner against order reversal.  That is, the purpose of
> leaving candidates unranked should not be because you consider these
> candidates equal, it is because your favorite is a Condorcet winner and
> you want to try to protect against order-reversal."
> Presumably, the introduction of the Votes-Against method would go
> along with a public education campaign.  The campaign would explain how
> leaving candidates unranked is not intended for cases where you think
> they are equal and lower.  It would be explained that this is instead
> intended to be used by voters if they are sure there candidate is a
> Condorcet winner, and want to defend against possible order-reversal.
> > Blake said that in Votes-Against, everyone would start
> > ranking everyone, even if indifferent between them, and then
> > the method would become equivalent to Margins, except for
> > offensive strategies. Big difference.
> > 
> > Say everyone starts ranking everyone, even without having
> > a preference between them, and that, as Blake suggests, that
> > will lead to order-reversal the way marijuana leads to heroin.
> > 
> > But what's the Votes-Against defense against order-reversal?
> > Strategic truncation. Avoid ranking more candidates than you
> > estimate necessary. Oh what a cruel dilemma that puts the
> > strategists in! They can't resist ranking everyone,even though
> > they know that it sets them up for the order-reversal that
> > everyone has been led to because of discovering the benefits
> > of ranking everyone.
> I would like to deal with the contradiction between the statements
> 1.  You should always random-fill instead of truncation
> 2.  Truncation defends against order reversal
> The problem is that although the random-fill strategy is best if what
> you care most about is getting your candidate elected, truncation can be
> used as a way to punish people who insincerely vote against you.  That
> is, given voters who vote X first, and then are evenly split between
> voting Y and Z second, truncation will never help X win.  It will make X
> more likely to lose.  It does not defend in the sense of protecting X,
> and for this reason I am doubtful of whether people could be convinced
> to use it.  However, it does mean that the election will tend to be won
> by whichever of Y and Z, has voters who sincerely or insincerely rate X
> the highest.
> > But wait, it gets better than that: In VA, the defensive strategy
> > punishes, & deters the order-reversal, while, in Margins, the
> > more effective your defensive strategy, as a C voter in my
> > example, the _safer_ you make the order-reversal. You make
> > it safer if you vote B equal to C. You make it completely safe
> > if you vote B over C. When order-reversal is less risky, it
> > will be more tempting.
> I doubt whether order-reversal will really be less risky.
> > In a public election, if you organized the B voters to
> > vote C in 2nd place, whether sincerely or not, do you think
> > that the C voters wouldn't hear about that? You'd be setting
> > B up for offensive strategy by C voters. And with Margins,
> > it wouldn't even take order-reversal. Mere truncation would
> > often do the job.
> I do not think you can criticize a method for both being more safe for
> the initial reversers and more likely to give the election away to the
> other side.
> > Look what you're saying the B voters would have to do to defend
> > against order-reversal. The defense that they have in Margins
> > is just the general pairwise defensive strategy. Whereas in
> > Votes-Against, they can defeat the truncation by merely not
> > voting for A or B, in Margins they have to vote the other
> > extreme over the extreme whose voters they expect to use
> > order-reversal. For 1 thing, maybe they don't know which
> > extreme will try order-reversal. Also, anytime defensive 
> > strategy requires you to insincerely raise someone in your ranking,
> > that can give away the election when you misjudge and do so
> > when you didn't need to. That's the trouble with drastic
> > defensive strategy.
> Remember that the whole purpose of the truncation strategy is to give
> the election away.  It cannot make your candidate win, it can only make
> the order-reversers lose.
> Furthermore, I suggest that the normal pairwise defense strategy is more
> natural than the Votes-Against truncation strategy.
> For example, lets say my preference is 
> B > C > A  with B being the suspected Condorcet winner
> Now, I here that A is mounting an order-reversal or truncation
> campaign.  This probably confirms my worst suspicions about them.  So,
> what does the truncation defense strategy suggest I do about this?  Rank
> B > C = A.  That is, increase A in my ballot.  Is it because this will
> help B win?  Well, not exactly.  On average my change of vote will hurt
> both B and C.  I am doing it so that if C order-reverses too, then A
> might win.  A is my last choice remember.
> This just seems totally unnatural to me.  What seems more natural is
> that people who would have voted B > A > C will now consider B > C = A 
> to punish A voters for their conduct. And that people who would vote B >
> C = A will now consider B> C > A.
> This is a clear punishment and deterrent to A in both methods.  I think
> it is important to remember that the real purpose of order-reversal
> punishment strategies is as a deterrent.  If the deterrent is strong
> enough, no one will attempt to organize order-reversal campaigns.
> You also mention the possibility that you do not know who will be doing
> the order-reversal.  Well, if both sides have order-reversal campaigns,
> both deserve to be punished.  You cannot punish them both under any
> method.
> I am not sure whether I would ever accept a method that violates SEC. 
> Such a method seems somehow fundamentally dishonest, or at least
> confused.  However, I do know its violation would have to be offset by
> tremendous advantages, and I do not see this with Votes-Against.
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