[Election-Methods] Election-Methods Digest, Vol 42, Issue 69

CLAY SHENTRUP clay at electopia.org
Sat Dec 29 19:30:01 PST 2007

On Dec 29, 2007 5:23 PM,  <election-methods-request at lists.electorama.com> wrote:
> From: "rob brown" <rob at karmatics.com>
> Subject: Re: [Election-Methods] rcv ala tournament
> Approval is simple only if you find it convenient to ignore such questions
> as "how should a voter vote to best pursue his interests?"  If you happen to include such things in the
> equation, Approval mind-blowingly complex.

good. we want it to be hard for people to vote strategically, and we
know that it is easy to use strategies like burial with ranked methods
-- what a great point rob!

the simplicity of AV is in the administration, which is where
simplicity is good, because we want to keep costs down, and reduce the
rate of fraud, etc.

> Message: 2
> From: "rob brown" <rob at karmatics.com>
> Subject: Re: [Election-Methods] would range/approval have changed
> I was comparing an election of Bush Gore under approval/range to one with
> Bush/Gore/Nader, demonstrating that adding Nader to the race would have hurt
> Gore.
> Was that really so confusing?

what you said isn't confusing, it's just incorrect.  for the record:
> Nader would have thrown things to Bush in 2000 with Range just as he did
> under plurality.  Or with Approval, for that matter.

do you stand by this claim, or do you admit that you were mistaken?

as for your new claim, you presented no evidence that adding nader to
the race would have hurt gore.  it would have caused some people who
otherwise would have given gore a 10, to now give nader a 10 and give
gore an 8.  it would also cause some people who would have given gore
a 0 to now give nader a 0, and give gore a 2.  the net effect is that
it may have hurt gore, or may have helped him.  so in trying to save
face with revisionism, you merely made another incorrect claim.

> So....you are suggesting that the best way for us all to reach a consensus
> and "move ahead" is to....just do things your way?
> Wow.  Deep thinker you.

no, i am suggesting that the way to move ahead is to support a
superior voting method.  a method that is simpler/cheaper/easier to
implement, and has a superior utility efficiency. (and will plausibly
break up duopoly, increase voter turnout, reduce ballot spoilage
rates, and decrease the effect of money in elections).

> > i don't know why we're still talking about ranked methods in this day and
> > age.
> Because most people don't agree with you.

the science on the subject most certainly agrees with me.  so do most
experts in the field.  but if you put popularity ahead of science,
feel free to start believing in angels and creationism.

> I know, it would be nice if those
> who yell louder get their way, but it doesn't work that way.  Well, I guess
> it does under range voting.

strategic exaggeration has a comparatively mild effect with range voting.

as for your underlying axiom that intensity of individual preference
should be irrelevant in determining the "best" candidate, that is

> For the record, I endorce condorcet as the actual tabulation method.

but condorcet voting is based on an axiom that X is better than Y if
preferred to Y by a majority, which is disproved above, quite

and condorcet voting is more harmed by strategic manipulation than
range voting is.

and range voting is plausibly a better condorcet method than _real
condorcet methods_ in practice.

these points utterly obliterate any claim you could make that
condorcet is preferable to range voting.  or to use your word

> Because I am just as interested in fairness and stability as in
> net-short-term-tangible utility, which you claim is the end-all and be-all.

you haven't provided any evidence that range voting would cause less
stability.  and since you can't distribute candidates out like pieces
of cake, elections will NEVER be fair - all you can try to do is make
the most people the most happy.  you're so obsessed with wanting an
even distribution, that you'd rather distribute the wrong thing
(power) evenly, than maximize the right thing (happiness).

and the absolute bottom line is that even if you cannot see this, you
should at least be willing to face the reality that strategic
exaggeration prevents condorcet from doing what it was supposed to do
in the first place.  and so range voting may be better at picking the
condorcet winner than an actual condorcet voting method.

> Well, you don't usually use the term "net-short-term-tangible utility", you
> just say "social utility", so you can slide it by us as "by definition" what
> we want, using statements that distill down to the tautological "we want
> what we want".

i have conceded that there are indirect effects of voting methods that
are not measured in warren's simulations, so you can stop repeating
this sort of thing.  the point is that we can cite strong evidence
that many of those externalities will actually be beneficial.  and you
have yet shown no real evidence for negative ones.  you've postulated
absurdities like "people are going to stay home and cast no vote,
since they can't stand to show up and cast a weak vote".

so if you want to talk about externalities, let's do it.  but you need
to stop repeating the line about how simulations don't encompass
everything, because you've said that over and over again, and i've
agreed with you from the first time you said it until now.  but that
alone does not vindicate you.  if there are externalities, you have to
show evidence that they harm range voting and help e.g. condorcet.  we
have substantial evidence totally to the contrary.  are you up to the
challenge of defending your point of view with any actual facts or
figures, or even semi-plausible hypotheticals?

>But then all your "proofs" only count the short term tangible stuff.

you're wrong.  i've repeatedly cited a proof that is not limited in that way.

the point there is, if you believe that candidate X is better than
candidate Y because he is preferred by a majority to Y -- whether in a
short-term way, or a long-term way, or any way whatsoever -- then you
contradict your own statement.

> I suppose using your "net-short-term-tangible utility" angle, you could make
> the argument that, by definition, the "best" movie is the one with the happy
> ending, but the rest of us would see that for the nonsense it is.

there is nothing about social utility efficiency calculations that is
"short term".  people base their perceptions of candidates on the
perceived net long-term outcome of electing that candidate.  social
utility efficiency calculations take that sort of thing into account.
if you think that the indirect effects of range voting will be
negative, they can be negative immediately just as sure as they can be
negative in the long-term.  but we have discussed many _plausible_
even _likely_ externalities from range voting.  you're hypothetical
negative externalities are flimsy and even self-refuting.  if you can
propose some better ones, we can start taking you more seriously.

> I've listened to your arguments at length (in private email, in person, in
> other places on the web), and they all miss the concept of long term,
> intangible utility

no they don't.  you think that because you are confused and often fail
to pay attention to the minutiae.

> they are based on sloppy definitions

you are confused.  you claim that i've switched my definition of
social utility back and forth, but i haven't.  i've talked about
social utility, and "the component of social utility stemming
specifically from the election results, and simulatable".  your
attention to detail is sloppy.  my usage of the relevant terms is not.

> they are filled with erroneous claims of opinions to be fact.

of course you can't show a single example.  how convenient.

> And for all the words you use, they sure are simplistic.

wow, my arguments are "simplistic".  what a refutation of their veracity!

> You direct response to my story hurts my head with your verbose convolutions
> of logic, so I'll skip responding directly to it.

this is such an incredibly ironic statement, all i can do is roll my
eyes.  every attempt you've made to demonstrate such a "convolution"
has shown me that you actually did not understand what i said, or did
not understand the underlying logic.  take your statement on the 2000
election for example.  you clearly said something that was just wrong.
 no question about it.  then you made a rather pathetic attempt to
portray me as being confused for not understanding that you really
_meant_ something else, which was _also_ false.

then you talk about how much you want to prevent people from being
able to have a stronger effect on the election by voting
strategically, yet you support voting methods which give strategic
voters a _larger_ benefit, and are _more_ harmed by strategic voting.

you are cognitive dissonance unleashed.

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