[EM] On Naming and Advocacy

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Sun Jun 18 18:00:55 PDT 2006

On Sun, 18 Jun 2006 13:40:26 EDT RLSuter at aol.com wrote:

> Brian Olson wrote:
>>Outside this list, I've been plugging "rankings and
>>ratings ballots" as the generic label for the issue.
>>I deliberately want to leave the back-end counting method
>>vague due to the IRV - the world feud.

The discussion is about two rankings methods, so "ratings" seems to be a 
noise word.

> That's an important point. As voting methods as opposed
> to counting methods, IRV and Condorcet are identical or
> nearly so and will be seen that way by voters. They will
> differ only if there are different ranking instructions,
> such as "you must rank all candidates" or "you may rank
> any two or more candidates equally." But assuming ranking
> instructions are identical, the only differences in the
> two are in how they interpret ballots after an election
> to determine winners. Both take information from ranked
> ballots and use it to simulate the results of voting
> methods that are too complicated and time consuming
> to be used in public elections. IRV simulates a series
> of elections in which one candidate is eliminated after
> each election, while Condorcet simulates an election
> in which voters are presented with all possible pairs
> of candidates and asked to choose the one in each pair
> they prefer more.

I have to try:
      IRV looks at top rank from each ballot. If a majority of the top 
ranks are for one candidate, that is the winner.  If not, the least liked 
candidate in the top rank has lost, gets eliminated from all ballots, and 
the looking starts over.  Note that the deciding does not require looking 
at all the ranking done by each voter.
      Condorcet looks at all of the ranking on each ballot and remembers 
for each candidate ranked the indicated win/loss against every other 
candidate as in a tournament.  Normally tournament winner wins election. 
If there is no clear winner, additional analysis resolves the near ties.

>>Virtual Round Robin vs. Instant Round Robin vs. Condorcet.
>>IRR is too close to IRV and may lead to confusion. I
>>suppose that's a desirable trait if you want to play on
>>the credibility that IRV has in some places, but I don't
>>want that. I haven't seen "IRR" in usage, but I may be
>>missing a proper tour of the election methods canonical
>>literature. Either way I think we should promote usage
>>of a descriptive name over the dead-french-guy name.

I find myself liking RRT - "round robin tournament" - for Condorcet. 
Three letters is a good length for a method label and the long name is 
exactly what is being done.
      Instant?  But the voters ran the tournament - all we are doing is 
counting wins.  IRV is into simulating reruns.
      Virtual?  Ditto.

While IRV and Condorcet use the same ballots and usually agree as to 
winner, Condorcet backers are into emphasizing the difference they get by 
looking at ALL that the voters say.

I am for bragging that a French mathematician came up with an idea worth 

> You worry that the two methods will be confused if they
> are similarly abbreviated, but abbreviations are introduced
> only AFTER the phrases they represent are introduced. No
> one but very careless readers will confuse them. IRV is no
> more likely to be confused with IRR than NBA is likely to
> be confused with NBC.
> As for playing on the credibility IRV has in some places,
> who is doing that? I'm not aware of anyone who is. The
> point of using the word "instant" to describe both IRV
> and Condorcet is to clearly show a fundamental similarity
> of the two methods. As pointed out above, both take
> information from basically identical ranked ballots and
> use them to simulate the results of voting methods that
> are too complicated and time consuming to be used in
> public elections. As I argued before, IRV is no more
> "instant" or any less "virtual" than Condorcet voting.
> The same word should be used for both of them.
> You also overlook the importance of using names that don't
> unnecessarily favor one method more than another. But the
> name you have chosen for Condorcet, "virtual round robin
> tournament," disfavors it compared to IRV for two reasons.
> First "instant" will sound much more favorable to most
> people than "virtual." Instant brings to mind positive
> qualities like streamlined and efficient, while virtual
> brings to mind qualities like artificial and nerdy that
> will seem negative to many people. Second, calling a method
> a "tournament" brings to mind unserious qualities like
> those people associate with games. It is arguably not
> a good word to use to describe a serious voting method
> unless your goal is to put it in an unfavorable light.

Here I choke.  Tournament went no further down that path than round robin. 
  While these words are used in games, they are used when we desire good 
choices as to winner.


> If you haven't seen "IRR" in usage, then you haven't been
> paying much attention. It has been used on this list a
> number of times. You also have apparently failed to check
> it out with rudimentary search methods such as a quick
> Google search. When I tried IRR and "voting method" I came
> up with 110 hits. When I tried VRR and "voting method" I
> came up with 7 hits, none of which appeared to refer to
> Condorcet voting. When I tried "virtual round robin
> tournament," I came up with three hits, two of which were
> from your website. When I tried "virtual round robin
> voting" I came up with zero hits.
> As for the history of different names and abbreviations, I
> doubt that anyone could give a very authoritative account
> of them. I can tell you that I first heard IRR suggested as
> a name about ten years ago by Steve Eppley on another list.
> At the time, IRV had also not yet come into widespread
> usage. People were calling instant runoff voting IRO or
> other things. At the time, the Center for Voting and
> Democracy had not settled on IRV as the best abbreviation
> and only recently had become aware that advocating IRV
> might be a good idea as a way of getting people to think
> about proportional representation, which was a much bigger
> issue with them at the time.
> I agree that "we should promote usage of a descriptive name
> over the dead-french-guy name," but the name you've chosen
> for Condorcet voting and propose to permanently incorporate
> into California law is not the one I believe we should
> choose. I urge you to reconsider the wording you have
> submitted, at least until you have gotten feedback from
> enough Condorcet advocates to show that most are likely
> to accept your proposed name.
> -Ralph Suter

  davek at clarityconnect.com    people.clarityconnect.com/webpages3/davek
  Dave Ketchum   108 Halstead Ave, Owego, NY  13827-1708   607-687-5026
            Do to no one what you would not want done to you.
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