[EM] Regarding the interesting website

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Sun Jan 27 21:57:34 PST 2002

I'd said:

>>I checked out the website you referred to, but are you
>>sure that , when electing an executive who has the power
>>to veto the decisions of a legislature, it's more
>>important to elect someone who has a large 1st-choice base
>>than to elect someone who doesn't have majorities against

Anthony Simmons replied:

Are you sure I said any of that? I don't remember saying it.
Perhaps you confused me with someone else.

I reply:

You didn't say any of that. The website owner did, and I accept that
you are not he. Did I say that you said any of that?

What I meant was, since this website makes the silly & misleading
statements that it makes, and since it just recycles old garbage,
then why would you want to recommend it?

I realize that I didn't make that meaning clear in my previous

Anthony continues:

I see you have some disputes about various claims made by the
author of the site. So do I, though I am not inclined to
make a pointless issue of them.

I reply:

No, you're just inclined to make a genuinely pointless issue about
your belief that it's pointless for me to reply to statements on
the comparative merits of voting systems.

I make only the replies that
I don't consider pointless, but I, not you, decide that. There are
many statements on EM that I haven't replied to. But the silly
misunderstandings in the website that you recommended seemed to
call for a few comments, after you'd, for some reason, posted a
link to the website, and recommended it.

Is your proof of the pointlessness of issues about voting system
merit similar to your proof of interestingness of websites?

Maybe pointlessness is a subjective matter. Maybe it would be pointless to 
write to the website owner. That's confirmed by the fact that I'm
not going to write to him.

But you recommended a garbage website, and I mentioned some of the
misunderstandings that it propagates.

If some people look at the website that you recommended, they'll
encounter some of the silly statements, and so I identified some of them.

Comparison of the merits of voting systems doesn't seem to me to
be a pointless issue. Let me carefully explain why that is:

Voting systems play a crucial role in translating public preferences
into public policy. Some of us, and I'm not saying that includes you,
feel that our currently-used voting systems don't do a good job of
that, or that they cause voters to seriously misrepresent their
preferences. If that doesn't matter to you, then I won't pointlessly
argue its importance. Similarly, some of us believe that some proposed
reforms would remedy those faults better than others would. Improvements
in voting systems, such as replacing them with methods that wouldn't
cause voters to misrepresent their preferences so badly, could, some
believe, result in improvements in society, when voters are more
accurately expressing their preferences and the voting system is
responding more accurately.

If you check the EM charter, you'll notice that it has to do with
discussion of the relative merits of voting systems.
If that seems to you a pointless issue, well certainly each person
has a right to their own notion of what's important. But a posting,
to a voting system mailing list, claiming that the issue of the
comparative merit of voting systems is a pointless issue, doesn't
make a whole lot of sense.

As I said, I answered a few statements in the website that you
so pointedly recommended, because it's likely that some members of EM
might have looked at the website and encountered those statements there.

You recommended the website, and it's understandable if you're
defensive about it. But when you post to EM a link to material, and
recommend it, surely a reply to statements in that material isn't
more pointless than your posting of the link and your recommendation
of the material.

In fact, now that you've brought up "pointless", one could question
if there was any point in recommending that website.

But wasn't the alleged pointlessness of my reply to the website-owner's
statements a pointless issue for you to post about?

And yes, of course it's pointless for me to spend this much time
replying to your statements. But I sometimes reply to Demorep, and I
so I was afraid that it would seem discriminatory if I didn't reply
to you also.

Mike Ossipoff

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