[EM] What have I started?!

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Mon Jan 22 09:32:00 PST 2007

At 08:38 AM 1/22/2007, Michael Ossipoff wrote:
>Yes, it was years ago when Approval won here. But it's all we have to go on.
>How would we vote on how to vote, if we don't use the most recent method
>that won? The only other alternative, which I have nothing against, would be
>to use "Voter's Choice", a method that I've proposed, and which we used when
>we chose Approval. Voter's Choice is for voting when there's no pre-existing
>voting system chosen.

Range Voting can be analyzed to convert the ballot into most any 
election method, I can't think of one that is seriously proposed 
which can't use a Range Ballot with sufficient resolution. Indeed, 
Range is generally of higher resolution than that, but not 
necessarily, for Approval is a Range method.

If Approval is the favorite method, and if there is no significant 
cost to using higher-resolution Range, then, quite clearly, Range is 
better for us to use, because it allows analysis of the results in 
more detail. With sufficient deliberation, it may be moot.

And voters are totally free to say "This is too complicated to figure 
out" -- I.e., "I don't want to take the time to rate methods in more 
detail than Good or Bad -- by voting the extremes in Range.

Converting Range to Approval, though, requires the specification of 
an Approval cutoff. Various cutoffs have been proposed. 50% is the 
obvious simplest one. This gets a lot clearer if the Range is 
expressed as -N to +N. 50% is zero, i.e., is easily interpreted as neutral.

Our votes here are only advisory. The advice will be more useful if 
the collection of opinion that it is based upon are expressed in more 
detail. There is no risk of strategic voting in Range causing some 
harm, because if ballot analysis shows the possibility of strategic 
voting, the analyst can compensate for that.

This is all FA/DP stuff, actually. FAs don't move power, they merely 
advise. And those using the advice can analyze polls whatever way 
they like. They could use the date of joining the organization to 
discriminate between newcomers and seasoned veterans. They could use 
caucus membership to consider affiliational bias. And if it is a 
Range Poll, they can consider preference strength if they want to and 
not if they don't. (And in DP organizations, of course, they can 
analyze the poll results using a proxy list to give greater weight to 
those who are more massively trusted.)

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