# [EM] Final reply to Tom McIntyre

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 18 23:46:14 PST 2003

```

>Tom McIntyre Wrote:
>
>>>MIKE OSSIPOFF wrote:
>>>
>>>101: A
>>>50: BAC
>>>100: CBA
>>>
>>>About 60% of the voters have indicated that they'd rather elect
>>>B than A. And so margins elects A.
>>>
>>>WV counts, keeps, & honors the B>A majority. A has a majority defeat that
>>>wv doesn't lose or erase. With margins, what happens to that majority
>>>against A? Margins erases it.
>>
>>
>>And about 60% prefer A to C. What about honoring *that* majority? One of
>>these majorities has to be lost. Both WV and margins count, keep, & honor
>>one of them, and erase the other.
>

>The A over C defeat is not erased. The only way you could consider that
>defeat erased, would be if C had won the election. Take the extreme
>example: say there was a fourth candidate, "Adam Tarr", who received zero
>votes. Does electing A, B, or C constitute "erasing a majority", because
>the other two candidates' defeats of mr. Tarr are not counted? Of course
>not. Such a standard would force us to declare every nontrivial
>multicandidate election as a tie.

Tom McIntyre replied:

So the question is, which of these majority wins matter, and which ones
don't?

No,Tom, you're still missing the point. You're not listening. The point
is that Margins violates the B>A majority. Margins in that example
doesn't violate any majorities. You needn't worry about which majorities
matter. Let's just not avoidably violate majorites, as margins is so
prone to do.

Tom continued:

We should not be able to say
at this point, without applying further criteria, whether C should or
should not be among the winners. Yet it seems that you have already
decided C cannot be among the winners (therefore the A over C defeat is
not erased).

Again, Tom, it isn't quite clear what you mean, but I would repeat here that
wv doesn't erase the AC defeat, because that defeat
remains part of the active count, as the recorded magnitude of the AC
defeat.

Tom continued:

Can there be no tiebreaker under which C wins? My own
intuition, looking at the numbers, says this is pretty close to a
three-way tie.

The margins don't differ greatly in that example.

Tom continued:

Perhaps the A over C majority has not been respected
after all?

Well, it's areadly been carefully explained to you that the only way
to disrespect an X>Y defeat would be to elect Y. You still believe
that the A>C defeat is disrespected because we don't elect A, presumably.
Maybe I'm wrong about what you mean, though.

It's beginning to appear as if you, Tom, are going to keep replying
in that fashion for some time, without careful consideration of the
meaning of what you're replying to, and the meaning of what you're
saying. Without listening to what has just been said to you.

Replying to messages like that isn't a productive use of anyone's time.
Of course I reserve the right to reply if you've done justice to the
subject and have asked a sincere & conscientious question. But
most likely I won't have time to keep replying to you.

But now that I'm replying to this message, I'll finish this reply.

Tom continued:

Let's take another example:
101: A
1: BAC
101: CBA

In this case, B defeats A 102>101, A defeats C 102>101, and C defeats B
101>1 (with 101 abstaining). B>A and A>C are victories by majority, but
very weak victories. C>B is a non-majority win, but a resounding
victory.

give one the feeling of being stronger or more important. As I always
say, you aren't wrong. And if your impressions coincide with what
margins does, then of course there's no reason why you shouldn't be
the margins advocate that you are. You're fighting when no one is
fighting with you.

Tom continued:

Just to get to a three-way tie, we must assume that all 101
abstaining votes really meant to choose B over C

Come again?? It's a circular tie because the 3 defeats form a cycle.
Pairwise results are based on votes, not on speculations about how voters of
short rankings would have voted if they'd voted full rankings.

Of course no one's stopping you from defining any kind of voting system
you want to, even one that tries to guess how truncators would have
voted if they'd voted complete rankings. But if that's what you're

I suggest writing your message on paper, or on a word-processor,
and work on it till you're sure that you're saying what you mean to
say, and have listened to others.

By the way, by margins, your example is a 2-way tie between A & C.

Tom continued:

C is the winner picked by margins, but WV
stubbornly insists on the sanctity of a majority of all voters and picks B.

I really think this insistence on victory by a majority only makes sense
in a two-option election, in which case there's really no other way to
go.

That's what you think, and that's fine. No one is saying that everyone
has to take seriously the voted wishes of a majority. Some do and
apparently some don't. But, you see, when you say that "you really think"
something does or doesn't make sense, you aren't going to convince anyone
that they should agree with you unless you share with
us why you think that.

Tom continued:

Even then, what about the large number of eligible voters who
usually stay home? We must consider that at least some of them do so
because they have no preference.

We can speculate and guess all we want to about the political preferences of
those who didn't vote.

Tom continued:

If a third candidate were to enter the
race, some of these voters may choose to come and vote, selecting only
the third candidate and not specifying a preference between the initial
two. By the counting method that says C>B is not a majority victory, we
now may be able to say that there is not a majority win between the
first two. So even in a two-candidate election, what we really mean
when we say "majority" is "majority of the voters who bothered to
specify a preference". That's the only way to define majority that
gives the same result under both these two and three candidate
scenarios. And under this definition, C>B is a majority win.

sounds similar to theirs. To you, every pairwise defeat is a majority
defeat. You can speculate all you want about what would happen if
going by what's actually available, the votes, we can say that a
group consisting of more than half of the participants has the power
to get its way, that there's something uniquely powerful about a
group of that size. And it turns out that a group of that size
is also uniquely able to be freed from strategy problems, and that,
with certain voting systems, such a group can be made free of strategy
problems that they'd have in other methods. A method that retains
those strategy problems even for a group of that size is letting us
down when it comes to the goal of avoiding strategy problems as much
as possible.

Tom continued:

I think the concept of "majority", in the sense that you mean it, is a
concept that sounds intuitive, but is ultimately not workable

Again, you tell us what you think, without divulging why you think it.
And, again, that doesn't convince people that there's a reason why
they should agree with you. Perhaps you believe that the methods whose
purpose or goals have to do with electoral majority, by its usual
meaning, are somehow unworkable. But you haven't specified what kind
of working you would like from them. No doubt they don't work the way
that you would like. That's why they aren't your methods. But your
unsupported statement that definitions that you don't like are
unworkable sounds like that dogmatism that Blake warned us against.

Tom continued:

In fact, we can alter the
above examples to make C the Condorcet winner despite not having this
sort of majority in either pairing, and despite B>A being this sort of
majority. That's because margins -- not WV -- is used when determining
the Condorcet winner. Everyone seems to be happy with margins and with
non-majority wins when picking a Condorcet winner, so it doesn't make
sense to me that they should suddenly become inadequate halfway through
the counting process.

Ok, so Tom wants the measure of defeat-strength to be one that
is positive if the defeat exists, so that the defeat-strength measure
is also a defeat-existence indicator. If that's what you want a
defeat-strength measure to be, then you're free to use such a measure
that. Different things are important to different people,
and different people want differnt things from a voting system. you
obviously have different use for a defeat-measure than we do, and
that's fine.

Anyway, as I said, I don't have time to reply to more of your messages like
this one. As I always say when this time comes, my non-reply
to your subsequent messages shouldn't be taken as meaning that you've
said something that can't be answered.

Mike Ossipoff

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