[EM] Simmons' "solution" of voting system design puzzle is inadequate

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Mon Jan 22 21:27:23 PST 2007

At 02:11 PM 1/22/2007, Chris Benham wrote [privately to me, but I'd 
prefer to keep this public. Besides, since it arrived in my mailbox 
with the unaltered subject, and I filter lists by subject tag, I 
thought he had written it to the list and didn't notice the 
difference until I was ready to send it.]:

>>Now, if there are strategic considerations, my answer may come from 
>>that. But we are discussing "sincere" ratings, not strategically 
>>distorted ones.
>Sorry, who is this "we"?  This "discussion" originated from a 
>message of  Warren's in which he claimed that Range meets "AFB" 
>(better known on EM as
>FBC), which it does, and  that it met his version of  ICC.

Does it matter who "we" is? Does this add anything to our 
understanding of these matters?

Warren Smith has written, and then confirmed his meaning later,
>ICC: political parties should be unable to usefully manipulate an 
>election by running clones of their own, or of an opposed, 
>candidate; voters here are assumed to vote honestly and to have only 
>tiny preferences (which they may express in their votes, if they 
>exist) among the clones.

This is explicit that what is being considered are sincere ballots 
(ranked ballots, originally), and then Range was brought in, it would 
be tedious to track it down, but I think Benham was involved....

>None of this has anything to do with  "sincere ratings only", so 
>what are you talking about?

Does it matter? If you don't understand me, pass it by; if someone 
else understands me and thinks it important, they will perhaps 
mention it. And if what I'm writing makes no sense, you also gain by 
passing it by.

>Also while you are blathering about the meaning of  a 63 rating 
>versus a 64 rating for the sincere voter and suggesting that the 
>range should be smaller
>than 0-99, you apparently haven't noticed that  Warren's preferred 
>range is 0-999999 (or more).

Again, is Warren's preferred range relevant? Warren has not spent any 
significant amount of time advocating that to the Range community. I 
noticed the mention that he prefers to allow *any* rating in the 
interval. I can imagine reasons for that, but they do not impact what 
I wrote. Warren said that he's not advocating such high resolution 
for practical reasons. And, I would note, if he thought sufficient 
value would be gained, he might well go ahead and advocate it anyway. 
But I don't think he sees that. He merely considers it optimum. Maybe 
in some elections it would be important. I did mention that there are 
conditions where one can calculate exact ratings. Perhaps I'd think 
it lucky to rate a candidate at pi/4 + 214.6024/1000.

For now, I will simply note that Benham totally avoided the substance 
of what I wrote. I had made an assertion that, essentially, a rating 
difference of one point on a scale of 0-99 was "down in the noise," I 
think was the language I used. Benham denied this, without 
explanation. When I pointed that out, he noted -- correctly -- that I 
had not substantiated my claim (I had not because I considered it 
obvious). So I substantiated it, and then, at the end, concluded this 
with what Benham extracted above:

>>Again, it becomes clearer when we look at 63 vs. 64. In terms of 
>>effect on election outcome, 63 vs 64 is quite the same as 98 vs 99. 
>>Yet I'd say that the overprecision of the former is much more 
>>obvious. If Benham can easily come up with meaningful numbers for 
>>candidates in the 63-64 range, well, my hat's off to him. I can't. 
>>And I think that most people can't. I suspect that research has 
>>shown that 0-10 is hard enough, but I don't have citations, just a 
>>feeling that I didn't make this up! Certainly I've heard it before, 
>>it's an argument often advanced against high precision Range and it 
>>is sometimes made even against 0-10 Range.
>>The ubiquity of this argument is evidence that my idea isn't 
>>strange! Certainly it is not a proof. But it is evidence to 
>>consider it reasonable. I was assuming that as a background.
>>Now, what is the evidence to consider Benham's opposition reasonable?

I did not see a shred of evidence in Benham's post. Did anyone? Does 
anyone have such evidence?

(The claim of Benham is that 98 vs 99 (Range Ratings) is meaningful 
in terms of the voter appreciation of candidate election utility, 
though that is not exactly how he stated it, he stated it negatively, 
by denying my claim that it was not significant. It has a meaning, 
which is most likely that the voter is voting strategically but 
wishes to leave a shred of preference indication.)

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