[EM] Fascinating web site

Anthony Simmons asimmons at krl.org
Sun Jan 27 22:24:24 PST 2002

>> From: MIKE OSSIPOFF <nkklrp at hotmail.com>
>> Subject: [EM] Regarding the interesting website

I was doing something worthwhile (reading an article on the
spread of sharia in Nigeria) when this arrived, and now I am
going to return to it.

>> 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
>> >>him?

>> 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
>> letter.

>> 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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