[EM] Matt Matt: websites too have freedom of choice

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 11 00:10:47 PST 2003

Matt Matt said:

In my opinion, it is relatively easy to code a Condorcet method program to 
the user the choice of measure of defeat.

I reply:

No, as I said, it makes things complicated for the voter. S/he would
have to study the material that tells why one count rule is better than
the other, and would have to answer extra questions in order to use
the website count. Also, it does add to the programming work some.

Matt Matt continues:

So the only reason not to do so is
to use the program as a means for trying to enforce your preference on other

I reply:

Matt Matt, it sounds as if you want to try to impose your preference
on website owners. Maybe you'd also like to make healthfood stores
carry tobacco, hot-dogs, whisky, etc.

No one's obligated to cater to everyone's poor choices. You have the
freedom to not go to stores that don't sell hamburger and cigarettes,
or to websites that don't count IRV or margins.

Matt Matt continued:

The program should be open source and in the same spirit the program
shouldn't take sides on technical disputes where knowledgeable people can 
do disagree as you and Mike when you cite other knowledgeable people who 
to prefer margins.

I reply:

So then you're saying that all count websites should count margins
and IRV, and every conceivable rank-count?

And what do you mean by "knowledgable"? Surely you'd call the
academic authors knowledgable, but some of them say the most
astoundingly stupid things about voting system choice. It isn't just
a matter of knowledge. It's largely a matter of different people
wanting different things. You want something different? Go somewhere
else for it.

Matt Matt continues:

Furthermore, it seems to me that the choice of method (and
variations of a method) is logically related to the context. By context, I
mean variables such as the number of candidates, how well the voters know 
candidates, how many candidates are to be elected, how often the candidates 
elected, what authority the elected candidates acquire, how much the voters
will know in advance about the probable outcome, how much opportunity the
voters have to engage in individual and colloborative st
rategic voting and the like.

I reply:

On EM we try to tell why things seem to us as they do. Otherwise,
"it seems to me" carries no weight. I suggest that you check the archives, 
read the reasons why we don't care for margins, and then
show us circumstances in which our criticisms of margins wouldn't
apply. That's how your above-quoted comments would mean something.
It's easy to claim that those things you mention should affect the
choice between margins & wv. It would be quite another thing to
demonstrate that that is so.

Mike Ossipoff

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