[EM] Why Mike Ossipoff's "unbised apportionment method" cannot be taken seriously

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Tue Jan 16 19:37:04 PST 2007

At 09:20 PM 1/16/2007, Warren Smith wrote:
>Regarding why Mike Ossipoff's "bias free apportionment method" is bogus.
>I am sorry Mike has forced me to explain this.  I wished to inform him
>re flaws in private, but Ossipoff has successfully forced me, quite 
>against my will, to make a fool of him in public.

Warren, Mike tossed gasoline at you. You tossed a match at him.

Ossipoff has a long history of falling into flame wars at the drop of 
a perceived slight. Reviewing what was quoted, I could acknowledge 
that Warren was a bit ... arrogant? ... in a manner that is quite 
normal for him and which did not indicate, to me, any personal animosity.

I do something similar at times. It's been called my "CalTech 
manner," because this is how, very often, students at the California 
Institute of Technology talked to each other. Actually, it is quite a 
bit more polite... and this would be friends talking to each other, 
not enemies or acquaintances. It really doesn't work with some people.

But I did not read Smith as being "angry."

 From Ossipoff's first flame:

>I'm posting some comments from Warren Smith, and my replies. I emphasize
>that Warren's angry tone was there from the start, entirely unprovoked. I
>had never criticized Warren.
>This discussion is on-topic, because it's about the electoral system, even
>if it reveals someone's anger. How we discuss, and what motivates us, are
>relevant on this list. I believe that it's a good thing to find out whom
>you've been correspoinding with.

This is a rationalization for discussing the alleged offensive 
personality of Mr. Smith. It is *not* on-topic. It has nothing to do 
with election methods. Yes, election methods are involved, they are, 
so to speak, the hammers with which flame warriors can start hitting 
each other with. The methods are on-topic, the personalities aren't.

Suppose that it turns out that I was a felon. I did spend quite a bit 
of time at San Quentin State Prison. Does it matter why I was there? 
If I were selling you, say, software, send me the money and I'll get 
it to you soonest.... my history would be relevant. But Warren isn't 
selling anything. His personality is visible to anyone who reads the 
Range Voting list, and anyone can review the archive. But his 
personality has nothing to do with Range Voting. And his personality 
has nothing to do with Apportionment.

The fact is that Mike, for whatever reason, took offense at what 
Warren wrote. He's got a right to do that. But to make this offense 
and the alleged offensive behavior that provoked it *the topic*, 
which Ossipoff did, i.e., "Meet Warren Smith," is entirely inappropriate.

Now, as to Warren's response, his detailed examination of the math 
is, I am sure, generous, as he claims. However, he is not correct 
that he was "forced" to respond, or at least not in the manner that 
he did. And his response took, to some extent, the bait, for it 
gratuitously continued to insult Mr. Ossipoff. We'll see what 
happens. For those who are new to this list, Ossipoff was famous for 
tenacious flame wars, until an extended period of "retirement." 
Warren isn't. But Ossipoff has a way of dragging people into the 
fray, it seems. I'd suggest to him that some of his old demons have 
awakened and he might well take steps to contain them. They do not serve him.

(If we are going to "meet Warren Smith," we should start with his 
being a mathematics professor. While I have certainly disagreed with 
Mr. Smith many times, and continue to do so not infrequently, I would 
hesitate to disagree with him about the math. If I think he is wrong, 
I would suspect that it is me who is wrong, and, if I have any sense, 
I would approach the topic, I'd hope, with some humility. Neither 
Smith nor Ossipoff are stupid. Both can make mistakes, I'm sure. Even 
math mistakes. However, I would hate to see their considerable 
talents wasted on senseless arguments over personalities. The world 
needs better than that.)

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