[EM] Are proposed methods asymptotically aproaching some limit of utility?

Matthew Welland matt at kiatoa.com
Sun Mar 11 09:44:32 PDT 2007

I can't follow every thread but I'm starting to think that the search for 
some perfect voting method is asymptotically approaching some sort of 

That doesn't mean that the pursuit isn't useful but there is an academic 
path and a pragmatic path. I want to know what to advocate in various 
forums and what to implement on my own web site. My current choice would be 
range voting. It is simple (only slightly harder to expain than approval) 
and it seems to do a good job at leaving voters satisfied. It is hard to 
imagine that more than 50% of the voters would be dissatisfied with the 
results of a range vote.

I see several important qualities to consider:

1. How hard is the system to describe to others and to implement.
2. Will the ratio of people satisfied to dissatisifed with the results
    be greater than 1. A "satisficity(*) ratio" if you will.
3. Voting effort. How much effort does it take to express your vote?

Voting system  Complexity  Satisficity(*)    Voting Effort
------------------  ---------------  ---------------    ----------------
Pluratlity              simple         terrible              low
Approval              simple         ok to good        low
Condorcet           complex       good?               medium
Range                  simple         good                 medium

Based on what I know now I would settle on Range Voting. However for a while 
I was dead set on approval voting and before that I was advocating IRV. Is 
Range Voting "satisficient" or are its flaws or limitations serious enough 
that there are many scenarios where it will fail to meet a satisficity 
ratio of greater than one?

(*) My definition is "degree to which it satisfies" which may differ from 
definitions found out on the web :-) and yes, I know I should be using 
Bayesian Regret but a)  don't really understand it and b) I like the sound 
of satisficity.

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