The problem with "utility" (Re: [EM] Re: Election-methods Digest, Vol 15, Issue 1)

Rob Lanphier robla at
Fri Sep 2 17:18:16 PDT 2005

On Fri, 2005-09-02 at 15:17 -0400, Abd ulRahman Lomax wrote:
> At 04:07 PM 9/1/2005, Rob Lanphier wrote:
> >Range voting methods tend to give strategic advantage to those that are
> >prone to hyperbole, i.e. those people that declare "candidates A, B, and
> >C are PERFECT, while candidates D and E MIGHT AS WELL BE HITLER".  Your
> >strategic incentive will be to give the absolute highest rank to those
> >that you approve, and the absolute lowest rank to those that you don't.
> >Not everyone will do that; just the people who deeply understand the
> >system and those that are prone to hyperbole.
> >
> >I'd just as soon not favor a system that favors those prone to
> >hyperbole.  That would do real damage to humanity.
> This is the core problem with higher-granularity Range. It is very 
> much avoided with granularity 2 range, i.e., Approval, and there are 
> also other ways of avoiding it. But it is not avoided in the form of 
> Range advocated by Mr. Smith.
> I've made the same objection, I don't recall if it was here or on the 
> RangeVoting list. My point in responding here is to underscore that 
> this is not just *me* being stubborn, which is how Mr. Smith has 
> attempted to describe the situation.

You made the case here, very well, I might add:

I read your mail shortly after sending mine (the hazard of my shotgun
approach to reading the list).  

In response to a point you made there:
> So to go the distance, I'd suggest that Range ballots be analyzed 
> pairwise, and that they be normalized within the pairs.... I have not 
> considered all the implications, for sure.

James Green-Armytage has detailed this pretty extensively:


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