[EM] Bill & our definitions

wclark at xoom.org wclark at xoom.org
Thu Jan 29 20:06:15 PST 2004

Bill said:

>>CC doesn't say anything about requiring "fully specified" preferences.

> I skipped over this part (because I figured I already knew what
> a "sincere vote" was, but apparently not:)

Mike replied:

> No, apparently not. But that didn't stop you from expounding on the
> list about something that you hadn't read about.

Here's the definition [ http://www.electionmethods.org/evaluation.htm ]

> A sincere vote is one with no falsified preferences or preferences
> left unspecified when the election method allows them to be
> specified (in addition to the preferences already specified).

I'd read it, or rather mis-read it... then on second reading, I flat-out
mis-understood it.  It was the part about expressing preferences that
threw me, because my mindset at the time was that "preferring" a candidate
was the same thing as having that candidate "voted higher."

I wasn't thinking in terms of a preference being something in your head,
but rather something you marked on a ballot.  So my working definition of
"sincere vote" at the time went something like this:

"A sincere vote is one with no falsified preferences."

Then, when I went back and re-read the definition, I didn't carry the "no"
through to apply to the latter half of the sentence, and so completely
misinterpreted its meaning. (And to be honest, I still have no idea
precisely what the parenthetical comment at the end is supposed to mean,
or why it's necessary... and I also still think another "no" in front of
"preferences left unspecified" would help make it less ambiguous.)

... and that's probably more than anyone probably ever wanted to know
about the process of one particularly confused chain of thought. :)

Bill said:

> It still looks like Approval satisfies CC, under the same sort of
> interpretation given for MC.

Mike replied:

> It would probably better to go by our definitions, instead of your
> "sort of interpretation", when handing down your ruling about what
> meets our criteria.

No, I meant the same type of interpretation given here (from the MC
section of the same page:)

> In the ordinal methods (Condorcet, Borda, and IRV), a candidate
> is "voted higher" by being ranked higher. In Approval Voting, a
> candidate is "voted higher" by being "approved" rather than
> "disapproved."

Again, I was initially thinking that "prefer" was something that happened
on the ballot, rather than in somebody's head... so it made perfect sense
to extend the notion of "voted higher" to "prefer" so that CC could apply
to Approval.

Anyway, it was all ultimately due to my incorrect thinking about
preferences.  But if you're going to get on my case, I figured it might as
well be about the right thing. :)

-Bill Clark

Dennis Kucinich for President in 2004

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