[EM] strategy and method complexity and the advantage of minmax methods

Abd ulRahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Wed Jun 8 21:45:17 PDT 2005

At 12:53 PM 6/8/2005, Juho Laatu wrote:
They might also trust a uniform voting method science community telling 
them that some certain method is the best one. This is however maybe the 
biggest problem of the Condorcet community - no agreement on which method 
is the best.

The problem, of course, is rooted in the absence of any consensus on what 
"best" means. This absence of consensus seems to exist with respect to the 
most elementary aspects of election outcome.

Which is better, a winner supported by half the voters plus one, or a 
winner with the largest approval rating? Does it matter how large? If there 
is only a plurality first-choice winner, is it better to find some way to 
declare a winner based on additional information (using IRV, allowing 
overvotes, or using more complex systems), or to run an actual runoff 
election, which will likely involve a re-examination of some election issues?

What is needed, I'd say, is consensus, not regarding the "best method," but 
simply upon the characteristics and likely -- or preferably demonstrated -- 
outcomes of the application of each method. Choosing election methods then 
becomes a deliberative process based on solid information and broadly 
accepted opinion.

Hmmm.... sounds like a job for a wiki!

(I have elsewhere noted that discussion systems, while they can certainly 
help develop a consensus, don't actually function to completion in this 
regard unless they include a mechanism for measuring true consensus. One of 
the fundamental problems with developing consensus in a mailing list with 
no adjunct polling process that includes all interested (or however else 
membership is defined) is that the appearance of consensus in that 
environment can be quite false. Sometimes this happens because the loudest 
voices ultimately drown out the rest. One would think mailing lists not so 
vulnerable to this, but extended flame wars, as we've seen on this list, 
can drive away a certain segment of people who would otherwise participate. 
Even very wordy sober discourse can drive away some, as list traffic 
becomes too much. Mea culpa. Enter our superhero, Delegable Proxy....)

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