[EM] electowidget

Rob Lanphier robla at robla.net
Wed Nov 2 01:16:07 PST 2005

Hi Warren,

Thanks for checking it out.  Comments inline.

On Tue, 2005-11-01 at 15:22 -0500, Warren Smith wrote:
> first, it wants me to "log in" which I do not know how to do, in
> order to vote.

There's a couple of places where you might see that text.  One was
already a hyperlink, the other wasn't.  I fixed the one that wasn't, and
clarified the text a little.

> 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.

> Third, your poll is totaled using Schulze.  Why?

I like Schulze.  :)

I added Range.

> I would like it to be totalled using lots of methods and see what happens.
> Which methods have been implemented?

Here's the list:
    * Approval
    * Copeland
    * Definite Majority Choice
    * Instant Runoff
    * Minmax (margins and wv)
    * Plurality
    * Range
    * Schulze (margins, wv and wv-mod [Debian])
    * Smith set

Additionally, it supports a "chain" method, meaning that any two (or
more) methods can be chained together, such that ties in one method can
be resolved using a second method (e.g. Smith//Minmax(wv) or
Copeland//Instant Runoff).

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.

> 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

> Fifth, I would like voters to be able to change their votes after time goes by.
> Is that possible at present?

Yup.  You create an account and vote.  You can change your vote at any
time while the "allow_voting" flag is still set for that election.

> Sixth, I hve no idea what the hell this "radioactive" thing means.

Since I wasn't sure what the implications would be of running it on the
same system as Electowiki, I put it on a test wiki.  I didn't have time
to do a fancy graphic to denote the "test only" status, so I grabbed
something that I knew would temporarily scare folks off of relying on
the system.

I'll eventually move the code over to the main wiki.electorama.com site,
at which point, the logo goes away.   I may create a different graphic
just to get rid of the radioactive logo.

> Your http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/Electowidget
> page is not user-friendly.  It starts out sounding like a programmer's
> manual.  Which is isn't.

Well, it's currently trying to be all things to all people.  I do also
want to engage other programmers, because I designed this as a library
to include in lot of different other software.

>   But anyhow, what is wanted is a VOTER'S MANUAL,
> and a HOW_TO_MAKE_YOUR_WON_ELECTIONS MANUAL, which this isn't

I need that as well.  Since it's a wiki, anyone can pitch in and help
write this, and I encourage you to do so.  It took me a couple of months
to get this far, and I've still got a lot of coding to do.  The more
others can help with documentation, the more time that leaves me for

>   So it is too
> usr-hostile at the moment.  And if I click on your
> "example elections" thinking, now I'm goign to get something easy to understand,
> Holy Cow, I get some total monster amount of data spew.

Absolutely.  That's the reason why it's 0.1.0, rather than 1.0.  I know
there's a lot of work to do, which is why I'm trying to appeal to
programmers more right now.  However, I'm also trying to appeal to
extremely motivated electoral reform advocates, since I'm hoping to get
a battery of test cases to use for ongoing testing.

I've been putting some thought into how to make the results a little
easier to digest.  It's going to take me some time to institute the

> I think electowidget is headed for glory, but right now it has annoyances
> that will turn off most people.

Thanks.  Sure, I understand it's not done, but I'm hoping to rally a
community around getting it done.

> When this reaches a higher stage of glory, I will probably be interested in 
> stealing the code if I may, for CRV...

Please do...it's not stealing at all.  It's released under an open
source license for a reason.

Also, for feature requests and bugs, an incredibly helpful thing to do
is to report it:

This gives me a scratchpad to keep track of requests and status.


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