[EM] Participation & SARC

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Sun May 7 16:17:34 PDT 2000

Markus said:

>you wrote (6 May 2000):
> > 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.
>Almost every thicker book about voting theory contains a chapter
>about probabilistic election methods.

Sure, and I said that its discussion makes sense academically.

>You wrote (6 May 2000):
> > 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.
>The aim of the election methods mailing list is to discuss
>election methods in a scientific manner. How election methods
>are propagated is discussed in the election reform mailing
>list, in the instantrunoff mailing list, in the canada-votes
>mailing list and in all the other mailing lists.

Wrong, if you think that ER is the place to discuss criteria.
Doubly wrong if you think that criteria that don't cover random
methods shoudn't be discussed on EM. There are all kinds of
criteria, and there are different uses for criteria. The fact
that a criterion is only intended for practical use shouldn't
bar it from EM. EM's charter doesn't say that we all have to
be ivory-tower academics.

If you'll check the recent archives, I didn't say that you
shouldn't talk about criteria generalized for random methods.
What I did say was that that generalization doesn't have
practical importance, when it comes to one proposal vs another,
or reform vs no reform.

I thought I stated my point clearly: Talk about the generalizing
you refer to makes sense, for academic purposes. Neither I nor
anyone else said that you shouldn't conduct academic discussion
here. But you're wrong if you claim that all criteria, in
all uses of those criteria, need to be generalized so that they
apply to random methods. That was all I said.

>Suppose that you are in a public discussion outside the
>internet. Suppose that one of your opponents says that all
>those problems that you are talking about can be circumvented
>simply be using a random tie breaker. What will your answer?

My answer would be: "Go for it!" I wouldn't take such a proposal
seriously as a rival to the methods that I propose.

>If you answer "I refuse to discuss random election methods."
>then you have already lost the discussion. So -even if you
>don't like random election methods- you have to know what
>to answer when somebody proposes them.

I don't dislike random methods. Random Ballot would be an
interesting way to elect the U.S. President, and its results
could be very educational for the public. I do prefer determinate
methods, and no random method has a chance anyway, even if
we don't publish replies to Lucien & Albert.

>The aim of this mailing list is not to convince anybody of
>anything. Actually, for your success of Approval Voting in
>California it is completely irrelevant whether you can convince
>David in Australia, Norman in Canada or Markus in Germany.

So I shouldn't have posted the example showing how IRV fails
Participation? Or I shouldn't have mentioned the criteria met
only by Approval? I'm not sure what your point was in the
above paragraph. Unless I'm mistaken you were recently arguing
Schulze vs Tideman--I hope you weren't trying to convince anyone
about it. Convincing Blake & Steve about that won't have any
effect on a proposal of yours for Schulze's method in a jurisdiction
where you live, and less so if you don't have an active proposal
for its adoption there. (I'm not saying that you should).

>The aim of this mailing list is to exchange information and
>to give you the possibility to improve your argumentation
>so that you can survive in a discussion outside the internet.

Those are good purposes, and I thank you for your advice about
how to answer random method proponents; I just don't happen to
regard them as enough of a practical threat to design my
criteria & answers for them.

>You wrote (6 May 2000):
> > 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 participation.
>I don't understand your comment. Could you -please- explain it?

It wasn't important. Participation would be useful, and
legitimate to use, when arguing for a point system against
a non-point system. Unless it's a good non-point system that
meets more important criteria.

>Do you think that clone criteria are meaningless because it is
>unrealistic for large electorates that there is a set of clones?

No, because a method that isn't affected adversely by adding
or removing clones won't be adversely affected by adding or
removing the near clones that are more likely to exist in
public elections. However the clone criterion is rather weak, and
I personally wouldn't have much use for it until it's strengthened.

>Do you think that the Pareto criterion is meaningless because
>it is unrealistic for large electorates that there is a pair
>of candidates such that every voter strictly prefers the one
>candidate to the other candidate? Do you think that every
>criterion that makes idealist presumptions is meaningless?

The Pareto criterion is next-to-useless because it's met by
so many methods. But no, I never meant to imply that criteria
that make ideal assumptions are meaningless. UUCC assumes that
_everyone_ prefers X to Xc. In fact, I was a little premature in
my criticism of Participation: It can be regarded as a stronger
relative of Monotonicity. And my own recent posting about IRV's
failure of Participation convinced me that it isn't as meaningless
as I'd felt before, when it talks of regret for showing up &
voting sincerely. But the joke is that most of the methods that
pass Participation are among the methods that are most notorious
for discouraging sincere voting. As I said, Participation is
useful & legitimate to use when it's necessary to compare a
point system to a non-point system that doesn't meet more
important criteria than Participation--provided that it's a
point system that  isn't notorious for forcing people to
defensively reverse their preferences. Plurality won't make you
sorry that you voted sincerely instead of not voting; it will
just make you sorry that you voted sincerely instead of insincerely.

>It seems to me that you are very angry that I use Herve
>Moulin's participation criterion and not your SARC.

Come again? You have my permission to use or not use what
you choose. What I objected to was your claim or implication
that SARC makes an unreasonable presumption about how people
will vote. And when you made your cryptic statement about
how we can't nontrivially discuss a property without a proper
mathematical formulation, and said it in reply to something about
SARC, I wanted to ask you in what way SARC is lacking because
of not having some type of mathematical formulation, just in
case you meant that. Later you assured me that you didn't
mean anything like that. Fine.

But, though I'm not angry, I am curious what you use Participation
for--demonstrating how Plurality & Borda are better than
Schulze's method? :-)  _Using_ a criterion, to me, means using
it to compare methods, and to demonstrate a way in which one
is better or worse than another. Perhaps you discuss Participation,
but you probably don't use it.

>The main reason why I use Herve Moulin's participation
>criterion is the fact that his criterion is well known
>in literature.

But, as I said, I question whether you actually use Participation;
but that's none of my business. I surely don't criticize you
for sticking with criteria that are well known in academic
journals. But I feel that most of the academics couldn't find
their ass with a team of bloodhounds, and so I've not had any
intention to use only their criteria.

Mike Ossipoff

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