[EM] RE : Chris: Approval

Michael Ossipoff mikeo2106 at msn.com
Wed Mar 21 02:57:01 PDT 2007


I’d said:

My criteria describe some ways that a method can limit strategy need.

You replied:

The effects of your criteria aren't really being considered.

I reply:

By whom are the effects of my criteria not being considered? Taken 
literally, your statement means that their effects are not being considered 
by anyone, including me. Is that what you meant? If so, can you justify your 

I’ve posted much about the “effects of” my criteria, in relation to voters’ 
freedom from strategy-need.

You continued:

You and I use almost the same criteria, just under different schemes.

I reply:

Yes, and my criteria are defined in terms of preference, sincere voting, 
falsified voting, etc. They’re defined in terms of real-world 
considerations. Though I’ve said that it doesn’t matter what “prefer” means, 
and though I’ve posted a precise abstract definition of it, it’s also 
obvious what its real-world interpretation is, and its name is consistent 
with that interpretation.

Hearing my criteria, someone knows what’s being said in terms of real-world 
concerns, terms, and considerations.

The same cannot be said for your fictitious rankings system.

Can I give your system an abbreviation, since I refer to it often in this 

Fictitiously Assumed Ranking Criteria System (FARCS)

Ok now let me clarify that I’m only calling it _your_ system, or Chris’s 
system for convenience. . I’ve been told that FARCS is the standard academic 
approach to criteria involving preference, as their way of trying to avoid 
preference.. “Oh, say no more, where do I sign up?”

That’s why you and Chris like it.

And what do I always say about most voting system academics? But I 
understand that there’s a strong instinctive need to adopt, believe in, and 
follow authority.. I’m not criticizing that instinctive need.

And I’m not just referring to FARCS and voting system academic authorities 
when I say that, throughout much of human history, uncritical following of 
authority must have been survival-adaptive: “Our leader Throg say all spear 
should have point!”

If authority-worship hadn’t been adaptive for our ancestors, then it 
wouldn’t be so well-expressed in current specimens. But what was importantly 
helpful in our million-year past, including our taste for sugar, animal fat 
(for which we have zero requirement), too much meat, and too many 
calories--and our natural worship of authority--may not be so helpful in 
today’s world.

FARCS is an elaborately, unnecessarily roundabout approach, just to avoid 
saying the “P” word. FARCS is ridiculous. And it just replaces preference 
with a silly story about something with vague meaning and without an obvious 
real-world interpretation.

So I’m not criticizing something of Kevin or Chris. I’m criticizing an 
academic approach.
But, I might sometimes still call it “your criteria” or “your system”, 
though it’s understood that I don’t mean that it is that.

Do you tell your imaginary rankings story with each criterion-definition (if 
so I haven’t noticed that being done), or do you just expect it to be 
understood that criteria mean something different from what they say?

I’d asked:

What  reason is there to believe that they [my criteria] are or might be 
ambiguous for some > method(s)?

You  reply:

I bet you could easily contrive a method where your definition of "vote A 
over B" is not currently adequate.

I reply now:

…and would your method be proposable? It’s enough that my criteria apply 
meaningfully and seamlessly uniformly to all proposable methods.

I’d been using a slightly wordier definition, before Richard suggested the 
current simpler one. I’d previously considered that simpler definition, but 
adopted it at Richard’s suggestion. I don’t know which definition is more 
resistant to unproposable methods.

Another thing: doesn’t FARCS likewise need a definition of voting X over Y? 
Could it be that the reason why FARCS has never been defined that way on EM 
is because FARCS has never been defined on EM? FARCS advocates seem unable 
or unwilling to precisely define FARCS.
I’d said:

>I’ve repeatedly asked you to show that Approval and CR pass or fail > 
>Condorcet’s Critrerion, by your fictitious-ranking approach. You never > 

You reply:

I believe it is not true that you ever asked me this specific question prior 
to February. Back in 2005 you asked me e.g. how I would define WDSC.

I reply:

Ok, I’ve asked at least three people to define and apply FARCS, and so I 
could have been mistaken about which criterion I asked you to apply it to.

You continue:

And I showed e.g. why FPP fails minimal defense.

I reply:

Using FARCS? Not when I asked for an application of FARCS..

You continue:

I don't remember you asking me to show that some method passes or fails some 
criterion under my scheme.

I reply:

I did, but the important thing is that you’re going to answer the question 

You continue:

I'll address this specific question now. This is how it works with CR: It 
doesn't matter whether the privileged balloting system is ratings or 
rankings since Condorcet doesn't make reference to ratings. Either way, the 
"intended vote" contains the ranking data. It doesn't matter how the method 
selects its winner; if the privileged balloting system is rankings, then CR 
would appear to select its winner for mysterious reasons (judging from the 
intended votes). All that matters is who the winner is and whether this 
agrees with the Condorcet winner appearing on the intended votes. With 
Approval, there are several ways to treat it under this scheme (and I'm 
already repeating myself, so I will omit them here), and not one of them 
guarantees the election of a CW. I guess it should not be hard to imagine, 
that when you suppose that all voters are able to specify unrestricted 
rankings, that there is no way to phrase Approval so that it will always 
select a CW from these rankings.

I reply:

Ok, now, I hope that that isn’t your definition of FARCS, or you application 
of your system to Approval and Condorcet’s Criterion. I was asking for 
something a bit more specific and less sketchy.

Must we still say that no FARCS advocate has ever defined and applied FARCS 
on EM?

I’d said:

Anyway, as I said, you > don’t want to speak of preference, but you think 
it’s ok to speak of > intent.

You reply:

Because there is almost no distinction between "intent" and the cast ballot. 
The only distinction is that the former may have to be adjusted to conform 
to the requirements of the latter. Instead of "intended vote" I could just 
call it the "cast vote" and call the "cast vote" the "adjusted vote."

I reply:

Do you notice what a roundabout, tangled mess that is? Compare it to the 
simple, concise and precise terms in the criteria that I propose, and their 
obvious interpretation for real-world concerns.

Jim Hightower asks, “How many feet does a dog have if you call its tail a 
foot?  Answer: Four. Calling a tail a foot doesn’t make it a foot.”

You say:

Sincere preferences and intended votes are not the same thing at all.

I reply:

You got that right: Sincere preferences have an obvious real-world 
interpretation, and are obviously part of the discussion of voting

I’d said:

>The difference is that you enshrine a privileged balloting system,

Ideally the balloting system is flexible enough to represent every method 
you deal with. It could be that ratings are sufficient. But as I've always 
said, there is no reason to define the system beyond rankings until you want 
to use criteria that use more than rankings.

I reply:

Defining a criterion in terms of a balloting system leaves open the question 
of whether that criterion is a “rules criterion” rather than a “results 
criterion”. Maybe Plurality fails FARCS Condorcet Critrerion because FARCS 
is about rankings and Plurality doesn’t have rankings. A rules criterion.

You continued:

On Feb 21 I showed how CR can fail a votes-only interpretation of SFC. Your 
reply was Feb 22.

I reply:

I’ll check it out.

You’d said:

So an advantage of using intent over preference is that the voter only > has 
 > input at one stage. > >

I replied then:

1. I don’t know what that means, or how it applies to my criteria or your > 
fictitious ranking criteria system. > > 2. If you tell what it means, will 
you also tell why it’s important?

You answered:

It means you can't tell anything about the cast ballots from the sincere 
preferences. Whereas the cast ballots are determined from the intended 
votes. You get to use a simpler system without running into problems like 
FPP satisfying Condorcet on a technicality.

I reply:

You’re actually calling FARCS’ roundabout fictitious tangle a simpler 

I asked:

So why the need for the elaborate, Frankenstein-stitched, inelegant  

You said:

The only inelegant thing is the notion that cast ballots are automatically 
adjusted in order to conform to the ballot's format. In exchange, you don't 
have to word criteria as though you don't know what the ballot format is.

I reply:

So now you’re wanting to make a virtue of basing a criterion on a particular 
balloting system? And, for you, wording a criterion without mentioning 
balloting systems is something that you don’t want to have to do? <smiley>

My criteria don’t require “adjusting” the ballots. And, by not mentioning 
balloting systems, they’re objective in a way that FARCS criteria are not.

When a criterion is based on a particular balloting system, no one can 
really have confidence that a method’s failure of the criterion isn’t due to 
having a different balloting system from the one on which the criterion is 

Mike Ossipoff

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