[EM] Participation & SARC
nkklrp at hotmail.com
Sat May 6 23:19:13 PDT 2000
> Markus wrote (5 May 2000):
> > The problem is: To be able to compare sophisticated outcomes,
> > you have to make presumptions about the used strategies. It is
> > not easy to make non-trivial justifiable realistic presumptions
> > about the used strategies.
> Presumptions? Voters' common use of defensive order-reversal
> in Plurality isn't a presumption--it's a well-known fact.
Sometimes this strategy isn't available. Please read "The
Alternative Vote and Ethnic Accommodation: New Evidence from
Papua New Guinea" (Electoral Studies, vol. 16, p. 1-11, 1997)
by Ben Reilly.
I certainly don't know what's available in New Guinea.
Defensive order-reversal is not only available in the U.S., but
it's a strategy that is sadly common. Saying that it sometimes
isn't available (though I don't know what you mean by that)
doesn't change the fact that it often will be what an
expectation-maximizing voter will do. I don't have to prove that
it's everywhere "available" (whatever you mean by that). It's
enough that it's known to be a problem, and that it will often
be voters' expectation-maximizing strategy, in IRV, as in
Plurality. That isn't a presumption. As I said, it's a well-known
And what was my "presumption" in SARC? It was that voters will
sometimes vote in a way that could give them their best result.
In general, the availabilities and the costs of the different
given strategies depend very sensitively on the properties of
the society. Therefore it is neither obvious nor unique which
strategies are used for a given election method.
Excuse me, but my criteria don't depend on a prediction of
what strategies people will use. Maybe somewhere people will
be so principled that they won't care about expectation-maximization,
and will vote for their favorite in 1st place even though it
probably won't give them their best possible outcome. So what?
I'm concerned about defensive giveaway strategy because it's so
common, and because it's often the strategy for the voter who
wants to maximize his expectation. If you've found a place
where voters are too principled to use that strategy, that's
irrelevant. It's a common problem, and therefore it's justified
to have strategies about it. Again, SARC merely talks about
people voting in a way that could conceivably give them their
best outcome. I can't believe that you challenge the validity
of considering what happens when voters vote in that way.
> But as a proposal, it's
> out of the question. [I'd said, referring to random methods]
Neither Steve nor I asked you to promote random election methods
in general or Smith//RandomCandidate in particular. We only said
that criteria should be defined in the probabilistic context so
that it is not possible for somebody else to claim that a given
strategical problem can be circumvented simply by using some
Sure that makes sense, as a pre-emptive defense against proposals
that will probably never be made. Still, academically, of course
it's reasonable to write those generalized criteria. I was merely
saying that there's little if any practical value to that effort,
because random methods will never be a serious rival. My point
was, then, that there's no need to add to the complexity of
criteria, or to add extra wording that will puzzle the people whom
we want to understand the criteria, in order to deal with methods
that will never be competitive proposals.
Mike wrote (5 May 2000):
> Excuse me, Markus, but what mathematical formulation is lacking
> in SARC? And will you please tell me what "non-trivial" means?
> Or maybe the way to word this question is: What is it about
> SARC that makes you say that it lacks a mathematical formulation
> that a criterion should have?
> And if you feel that some of my other criteria lack a necessary
> mathematical formulation, would you specify what it is about them
> that would make you say that they lack a mathematical formulation
> that a criterion should have.
> One thing I admit is that I still haven't put an extended
> "voting equilibrium" (extended to non-point systems) on a precise
> basis. So of course I can't write a precise criterion that
> speaks of that equilibrium. But I'd be interested in what
> you'd say that my other criteria lack, that a criterion needs.
> If you mean that all criteria have to be written in the stilted
> symbolic jargon found in some journal articles, then I'd ask
> who says criteria need that, and how would you show that they
> need that.
> If it's because spoken language can be ambiguous at times, I
> believe that it's possible to write something in ordinary
> language (as opposed to symbols borrowed from mathematics) in
> a way so that people know what it means. Surely that's the goal
> of language. And I've noticed that authors who use
> mathematical symbols still need lots of ordinary language to
> try to clarify what their symbols mean.
> Actually, I'd say the opposite: Criteria & method definitions
> that are written only in that symbolic jargon borrowed from
> mathematics are useless for showing to the people to whom
> criteria most need to be shown. Mathematicians can exchange
> symbols forever, but practical use of criteria & method
> definitions requires showing them to members of the public,
> members & leaders of organizations, etc.
> If there's an ambiguity in one of my criteria, then someone
> can point to it and ask me what I meant. I've tried to say
> them so that it will be clear what is meant.
I didn't criticize SARC. I only said that participation
Good enough. Participation indeed isn't SARC, and participation's
unrealistic assumption of sincere voting detracts greatly
from the meaningfulness of the fact that point systems pass
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