[EM] Problems of FARCS

Michael Ossipoff mikeo2106 at msn.com
Wed Mar 21 02:11:21 PDT 2007

I’ve just posted a definition of FARCS, and so now I won’t say that FARCS is 

But compare it to my criteria: My criteria speak of preference, sincere 
voting, falsified voting, etc. My criteria speak directly of the 
considerations, terms, and concerns of the real world.

Although I’ve pointed out that it doesn’t matter what “prefer” means, and 
though I’ve posted a precise abstract definition of “prefer”, that term has 
an obvious real-world interpretation, one that is self-evident from the term 

Compare that directness with FARCS. It’s far from obvious what a FARCS 
criterion has to do with actual voting and strategic concerns. Such a 
criterion speaks of rankings, something that is meaningless for a method 
that doesn’t use rankings.

Criteria involving preference can (or at least so the assumption goes) be 
“votes-only”, if they’re written only for rank methods. So, the idea of 
FARCS is to write rankings complying  with the criterion’s premise, and then 
write actual votes consistent with the rankings--with the justification that 
the rankings are what the voter “intended”. Is it pretty obvious how weak 
that justification is? In what sense do you mean that a voter in Plurality 
intended a ranking?? If it isn’t clear to you what that means, it isn’t just 
you--it really is not clear. FARCS advocates on EM haven’t succeeded in 
clearly answering that. Do you see the sloppiness there? In contrast, with 
my criteria everything is defined, and relates directly to the actual 
concerns that criteria are about.

Now, maybe the FARCS criteria can match the results of my criteria. But, 
even if so, that isn’t enough, if their assumptions can’t be justified. If 
they don’t clearly relate to real-world concerns. Remember?--That’s what 
criteria are intended to be about.

Aside from all that, how good is the assumption that criteria involving 
preference can be written votes-only if they’re written only for rankings?

It works for Condorcet’s criterion: If a candidate pair-wise beats each of 
the other candidates, then s/he should win.

But how about SFC? SFC involves the CW. The CW is defined in terms of 
preference. You could try substituting  “beats-all candidate” for CW. Would 
that work? With any pair-wise count method, the beats-all candidate wins. 
That means that candidate over whom a majority rank the beats-all candidate 
must lose. So every pair-wise count method would meet votes-only SFC, if we 
use “beats-all candidate” for CW.
And, if we don’t use “beats-all candidate” for CW, then how do we interpret 
“CW”, if we aren’t allowed to mention preferences?

So, in addition to FARCS’ other problems, can FARCS criteria even be 
equivalent to preference criteria?

Can a FARCS advodcate on EM post a votes-only criterion which, with FARCS, 
is equivalent to SFC?

Another thing: When  your criteria are written in terms of rankings, and 
Plurality fails, you’re not in a good position to say that the criterion 
isn’t merely acting as a “rules criterion”. Maybe Plurality fails because it 
doesn’t have the kind of balloting on which your criteria are based.

Because my criteria make no mention of balloting system, it’s clear that if 
Plurality fails, it isn’t because Plurality is being disfavored by a 

Mike Ossipoff

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