[EM] Free Association / Delegable Proxy FAQ - Special Purpose FAs

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Thu Mar 2 17:34:44 PST 2006

At 07:12 AM 3/2/2006, Jan Kok wrote:
>Would it make sense to have a Voting Methods FA, with some people
>supporting Condorcet, some supporting Approval, some supporting Range,
>some supporting IRV?  Would it make sense for Plurality advocates to
>participate in the FA as well?

If you could only get them to participate!

Back to the AA example: there are plenty of people, perhaps even a 
majority, who think that drinking is just great and "alcoholics" are 
just weak-willed, basically inferior people. The minds of these 
people, the "pro-alcohol" set, might be opened if they actually 
attended an open AA meeting. And they would do no harm to the regular 
members. The *hard* thing is getting alcoholics to come to meetings 
and meet with others with similar issues. And, to bring this back to 
the question, the *hard* thing is to get plurality advocates to 
discuss election methods.

>Or does it make more sense to have one FA per voting method?

You can do both, actually, i.e., have special purpose FAs and more 
general FAs. Right now, the easiest way to start an FA is to start a 
mailing list and run it as an open list. The Election Methods list 
functions under many of the FA rules, and the differences mostly are 
of no effect at the moment. They might be at some future time.

I actually started an Approval Voting Free Association wiki and list. 
How would that be different from an Election Methods Free Association 
wiki and list? The former would have a narrower general focus, and 
that is the only difference, and presumably there would be many 
people who would belong to both. If you are particularly interested 
in Approval Voting (pro or con), you would join the AVFA. If you are 
interested in election methods, specifically or in general, you would 
join the EMFA. DP actually should make it possible to belong to 
*hundreds* of organizations, this is one of the major possible 
benefits of DP. There is no need for the AVFA to formally affiliate 
itself with the EMFA, but, at some point, an AVFA consensus might be 
to encourage all AVFA members to join the EMFA, even if only to add 
their proxy votes to a trusted proxy within the EMFA -- whom they 
would know from his AVFA activities.

FA/DP organizations should be able to effectively merge with almost 
no effort. If they have the same focus, they might literally merge, 
using the same communications facilities. If they have differing 
focii, the more specific might effectively join the more general 
through proxy representation within it, as I just described above. If 
there are two "competing" FAs, members of both who see a value in 
having a metaorganization would form it.

It may seem complicated. But actually it would be very simple. DP is 
what makes it simple. If you are, for example, clear in your own mind 
that AV is the way to go, you'd join the AVFA. And you would also 
join the EMFA, but in the latter case, you might join, name someone 
you trust as your proxy, and put yourself on web-only or similar such 
status with the EMFA mailing list. You don't want the general 
traffic, and you trust your proxy to either represent you or to 
inform you if there is anything the proxy thinks you should look at or do.

There would be, I'd expect, multiple AVFA members active in the EMFA. 
They would have differing perspectives, and some of them would be 
open enough to considering other methods, even to the point that they 
might abandon their original preference for AV. And they would take 
this change of opinion back to the AVFA. The same thing might happen 
with advocates of other methods, such as Condorcet. Or, for that 
matter, Delegable Proxy....

The point is to build networks of trust that will, among other 
things, avoid the insularity and isolation that naturally happens 
with special interest groups. DP is the key to making this efficient.

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