[EM] FARCS: Be careful how you use it
mikeo2106 at msn.com
Fri Mar 23 04:12:26 PDT 2007
Maybe there should be criteria for evaluating criteria. For instance, FARCS
doesnt pass the laugh test.
I consulted my JoAnn Q. Citizen consultant.
I said, Im going to tell you two criterion definitions. Theyre supposed
to be very similar, but they dont sound at all alike. Tell me which one
makes you laugh harder.
I told her the definitions of SDSC, and then Minimal Defense with FARCS.
Well, I should say I _tried_ to tell her the definition of Minimal Defense
with FARCS. I must admit she didnt let me finish the FARCS definition.
Heres what I old her, quoted reasonably accurately:
If a majority of the voters prefer X to Y, then they should have a way of
voting that ensures that Y wont win, without any member of that majority
having to vote a less-liked candidate equal to or over a more-liked one.
Then I told her about Minimal Defense with FARCS:
If a majority of the voters rank X over Y, and dont rank Y, then Y
Now, you might say, that only applies to rank methods. Oh no, youre wrong.
It can apply to nonrank methods too. For instance, it can apply to Pluralty.
All we have to do is assume that the voters come to that Plurality election
intending to vote rankings. Rankings that have, in first place, the
candidate that the voter wants to vote for in the Plurality election.
You might ask why these voters, on their way to a Plurality election, are
intending to vote rankings. We arent supposed to ask that. I dont have to
explain that to you.
Now, the actual use of a criterion is in writing a failure example, an
example in which a method fails that criterion. The failure example writer
can derive an actual ballot from a particular voters intended ranking as
1. The actual ballot must not vote X over Y if the ranking ranks Y over X.
2. If the ranking ranks X over Y, then voting X over Y is voting an
ordering in the ranking
The actual ballot must not fail to vote any ordering in the ranking that
the balloting system in use would have allowed it to vote in addition to
whatever orderings in the ranking it actually did vote.
[Note that I left out, for brevity, the definition of voting X over Y]
The example writer can contrive, for a particular voter, any actual ballot
that complies with those two rules. If he can thereby write a ballot set
that violates the criterions requirement, then he has found a failure
Actually, I didnt get that far. When I was trying to tell her how the
example writer can derive an actual vote from a ranking, she stopped me and
said that no one wants to hear that.
Kevin and Chris can, of course, use FARCS criteria among themselves, or with
others who are willing to listen to the definition of FARCS. But just try
using them in a speech to political or reform activists. Well, looking on
the bright side, it could be the beginning of your career in stand-up
But the professors dont like us to speak of preference. They prefer FARCS.
Theyre professors. Doesnt that mean that theyre right and that we should
Now Im not saying that this is really for sure the explanation, but voting
system academics seem to be acting as if their goal were to obfuscate the
subject. As if their goal were to never give you anything that you could
take to the public without getting laughed or booed out of the room.
But theyre professors. Dont they know something we dont?
Yes, it would seem so. Maybe they know that theyre making a fool of anyone
who trusts and follows them.
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