[Election-Methods] rcv ala tournament

CLAY SHENTRUP clay at electopia.org
Sat Dec 29 17:23:38 PST 2007

On Dec 29, 2007 1:40 AM, Juho <juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> > i don't know why we're still talking about ranked methods in this
> > day and age.
> Simply since many if not most experts seem to feel that they are good
> if not best (for typical political single-winner elections).

well, they're not.  and most of the experts i'm aware of (e.g.
smith,brams) are aware of this.

> This mail stream is about joining forces in defending all the good methods.

well, "good" is relative.  combining utility efficiency with
simplicity/practicality, range and approval are unparalled.  so why
would we want to spend time defending worse and/or more complex

> I have no problem in forming also a joint team for
> supporting both rating and ranking based methods. But in this case
> I'd like to make it clear for what purpose and environment each
> method is good for.

i do not know of any environment where rankings are better than ratings.

> Range(approval) is a method where voters are expected to vote as in
> Approval. Additionally voters are allowed to cast weak votes. This
> wonderful method works quite well also in competitive environments.

well, it's the same voting method as range(ratings), except with the
explicit declaration that people should vote strategically.  but
that's wrong.  the more people who vote honestly, the better.  we do
_not_ want to encourage people to vote approval-style.

> In (competitive) Range(approval) I would not recommend voters to cast
> weak votes unless they know what they are doing.

then you are malevolent.  it is good for voters to cast sincere
("weak") votes, as it increases social utility.

> It is not good if voters with less strong feelings cast weaker votes than voters that
> feel that they are always right and want to drive their opinions strongly.

it's not an issue of thinking they are always right.  people can vote
strategically merely because they are greedy.  we want as few people
to do so as possible.  so it _is_ good if more voters cast an honest
vote.  smith's utility calculations back that up.


> It is not good if "altruistic and cooperative" voters have
> less weight than the selfish ones.

i see two flaws in your reasoning here.  first and foremost is that
the weakening of the unstrategic vote (or more specifically, the
reduced fulfillment of sincere voters' preferences) is comparatively
small with range voting.  so your argument is actually fairly
supportive of range voting, compared to other methods.

second, you assume that the reduced weight of non-strategic votes will
have a disparaging effect on the "altruistic vote", but you ignore the
plausibly positive effect this can have on the "ignorant vote".  that
may sound elitist to some, but i think it is a very real factor.
strategy with most rank-order voting methods comes down to a simple
act of "burying", whereas it's comparatively complex to game Range
Voting - see the efficacy of various strategies here:

this signals to me that strategic effects of range voting are more
likely to decrease the strength of the unintelligent vote, who i
believe generally have a less enlightened/altruistic policy framework.
 i can speak from my midwestern heritage, and my texas range voting
exit poll experience.  the warmongering people i spoke with seemed
less articulate and informed about world affairs, and more likely to
hand power over to the nefarious corporate interests.  i believe that
the better educated generally have a more socially benevolent policy
framework (even if for selfish reasons).  i also believe that if you
are intelligent enough, and you want to vote strategically, you will
figure out how to game whatever system is thrown at you.  but if you
are less intelligent, you might be prevented from "getting through the
maze" if it can be made difficult enough.  and so i think range voting
has strong positive effects in light of its relative devaluation of
the altruistic-vs-unintelligent vote.

now of course many will make the claim that range voting is _easier_
to game, but that is myopic.  many of those who say that, like bob
richard, also claim that the way to game it is to vote plurality
style.  as rob richie and other irv advocates always say, "voting for
anyone but your first choice hurts his chances of winning."  well, in
that case, nader fans would want to only vote for nader, since also
voting for gore would increase gore's chances of beating nader.  such
absurd examples are illustrative of these people's logical skills.

> As a general rule I'd recommend
> all voters to use votes of same strength (one man one vote is a good
> basic rule in competitive democratic decision making).

that is a bad recommendation, since it implies condorcet voting (the
only method where every voter has the same strength), which is nowhere
near as utilitarian as range voting.

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