[EM] electowidget/robla

Warren Smith wds at math.temple.edu
Wed Nov 2 07:16:03 PST 2005

As both a test of your software, and as a public service and help to me, 
could you run all the Debian elections using all (or at least a lot of) methods?  
Hyperlinks to the debian elections at
(click years).  
Then I will update this debian discussion page.

>> Second, I do not like negative numbers as votes.  They are confusing.
>> Make it 0 to 10 not -5 to +5, say.
>There seems to be some dispute on this.  I don't have a strong opinion
>on the subject, but I'd like to hear more from others on it.

--One possible fix is to go with a GUI input style like mine in
but with the numbers 0-9 omitted from the display.  The point is that the voter
then is inputting a "histogram" and there IS NO numerical range (or anyhow it
is hidden) hence no way for voter to get confused.   Another idea is the voter 
himself chooses the range to use, 0-10, 0-99, -5 to +5, or whatever.
(From a menu, perhaps.  Keep track of the popularity of each menu choice in that case,
please; I am interested in that data.)

>> I would like it to be totalled using lots of methods and see what happens.
> The list: ... Definite Majority Choice

--this would seem to also require an "approval cutoff", which seems to require some
kind of add-on to the vote-input gizmo.

>I am a little worried about load, so I haven't just piled every system
>into every election.  Let me know the two or three others that would be
>important to use.

--well, I very much doubt load is nontrivial, especially right now (perhaps if
100,000 users per day, then worry).  Seems to me there are 3 main purposes of electowidget
 1. demo
 2. public service
 3. data gathering tool and source of experience about how well different methods work in reality
For purpose (3) it is important to have all methods you can because that way people will
be able to spot whatever weird phenomena arise, when they do, and we'll be able to see how
often they arise.  I do not think purpose (2) and hence load will become important for some time
into the future (development not yet ready for prime time).

>> Fourth, I prefer it if we are allowed to offer "X" (no opinion, intentional blank)
>> as a vote for something we know nothing about.   Your "0" vote
>> can have the effect of supporting or denigrating a candidate (it depends on
>> what the other votes are for the other candidates).

>How are you suggesting this get tallied?  Anything I add, I'd like to
>have a way of mapping to all of the different systems Electowidget

--I don't know.  I am just saying, as a voter, I want this.  For example, I am
asked to vote on about 100 voting methods, many of whch I have not heard of, and I don't
want to take the time to think deeply about all 100 (say).  Right now the
only way for me to express my ignorance is to give th unknown 0 or guesses.
But if all methods are getting low or high scores, 0 will in fact have the unintended effect
of making the unknown method look better than or worse than usual.

>"stealing" electowidget software

--good, I probably will steal it (later when it gets nicer).  However, it seems to rest
on top of a lot of other systems (java, wikis), which might make it harder 
to (or less attractive to) steal.  I might find it nicer to steal if there were simplified 
version which rested on top of less stuff.  Naturally I have a range voting widget in
mind... it has been suggested CRV have one... but I have not actually written a range voting
widget for CRV for various reasons described at 
(this page is the partial widget CRV _does_ provide; click on the 
  "Why we do not also have a computerized election administrator"
link to learn why I did not do a full strength widget... you have more
fortitude than I do :)


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