[EM] Free Associations (was: Trees and single-winner methods)

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Fri Mar 23 21:41:01 PDT 2007

At 01:36 PM 3/23/2007, Juho wrote:
>In my other mail I wondered what the intended use of the FA/DP is.
>These comments seem to point in the direction that FA/DP would be an
>"intelligence adding" preprocessing system that is independent of the
>actual political decision making process (but proxies could jump to
>the political side too) (and probably the politicians could as well
>jump to the FA/DP side).

You are getting it.

>This phenomenon could be also closely related to free mailing lists
>like this.

Sure, but with formal structure of a kind. Fractal structure, to be 
sure, but, after all, nervous systems are fractals. Self-assembling.

>  Or to public press, the scientific process etc. Same tools
>could be applied in all these arena. I have sometimes wondered how to
>keep mailing lists like this in order and fruitful to all. One
>approach would be to have a proxy like or other voting/support system
>that would give at least feedback, maybe also control to the
>contributors on how wide support their opinions have, how much
>bandwidth they should use, if they should be more or less verbose,
>more formal/exact/practical/real life oriented, and if their attitude
>towards their fellow contributors is appropriate. :-)

Again, yes. I won't go into details, but it may not have escaped the 
notice of some participants here that if too many people joined and 
started participating, list traffic could become unsupportable. It is 
self-regulating in that people then leave, typically unsubscribing.

What we don't have here is any mechanism for making decisions about 
our own process. The only power that FAs exercise is over their own 
process. Sometimes polls are taken here, but an essential in 
deliberative process is how the questions are set, you don't just 
stand up at a meeting and say "Everyone who prefers Range Voting say Yes!"

I proposed, at one point, formal process for the Range Voting list. 
Contrary to what one might think from what Mr. Ossipoff wrote abut 
it, the list was actually evenly divided when we finally took a vote. 
As I recall, the vote was 3 to 2 against electing a chair to manage 
process, but I was acting chair and, as such, I didn't vote. And I 
could have gone ahead and done it anyway, given that I wasn't 
proposing that anyone be bound, but I decided that there wasn't 
enough interest, period, to justify my personal involvement in making 
it happen.

Again, I've considered starting the Election Methods Free 
Association. We do have a Range Voting Free Association with a tiny 
membership. But I'll leave it to someone else. There are starting to 
be, by the way, a few people around who understand enough about this 
to carry it on without me.

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