[EM] "scored condorcet", etc

rob brown rob at karmatics.com
Sun Nov 20 23:29:16 PST 2005

Hi again.

You might remember me from a good while back when I did a little work on a
(web based) UI for a ranked voting system (it is still at
http://karmatics.com/voting/ ) Aside from my little question a week ago, I
haven't been around much, so let me introduce myself again and tell you
where I'm coming from. Like most here (presumably) I think that the
plurality system is seriously broken. In particular, I think it polarizes
people by causing parties to form. I like systems that tend to elect a
middle ground candidate, and that don't provide strategic advantage to
forming parties.

While I don't claim to be a math expert, I am confident that most any of the
condorcet methods -- if actually put into practice -- would solve this
problem, for all practical purposes. I can't claim to have a preference of a
particular one. To me, however, the biggest problem to be solved is that
existing condorcet methods (and IRV, for that matter) don't lend themselves
to showing results in a way that is comprehensible to "regular" people. In a
certain way, I suppose this could be considered more of a marketing issue
than anything, since I think this is standing in the way of people getting
comfortable with condorcet methods.

Therefore, my goal is to come up with a way of producing numerical scores
from a condorcet election that can be shown, for instance, as a bar graph.
When I suggested this here on the list over a year ago, the general reaction
seemed to be that numerical scores and condorcet methods were mutually
exclusive. I didn't agree, obviously, but I did accept that it is not as
simple a problem as it might appear.

I keep revisiting this problem, and each time, I seem to get closer and
closer to something that I feel would work well. My general approach has
*not* been to find a way to take existing methods (beatpath or ranked pairs
or what-have-you) and then work backwards to produce scores, but instead to
come up with a brand new method that produces scores first, with the top
scoring candidate being considered the winner. Meanwhile the system must
still meet the condorcet criterion...so if there is a condorcet winner, that
candidate must have the highest score. Of course it must do a reasonable job
of selecting a winner when there is a condorcet tie. Also it is important
that the scores do a good job of showing how the other candidates did
comparatively. For instance, if the #2 candidate's score is very close to
the #1 candidate, that would indicate that a relatively small number of
additional ballots could cause #2 to surpass #1 and win instead. Of course,
the more stable the scores, the better.

So before I start talking about the specific approaches I am looking at and
getting into the math and algorithms and such, I figured I'd first kind of
reintroduce myself (and my goals) to the list, and see if there is a
receptive audience to what I'm working towards.

Does this seem interesting (and valuable) to anyone?

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