[EM] Advanced Voting Systems

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Sun Dec 28 14:52:20 PST 2008

At 08:42 AM 12/28/2008, Michael Allan wrote:
>Abd ul-Rahman Lomax wrote:
> > The wayback machine for BeyondPolitics.org should have most of the older
> > stuff.
> >
> > http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://beyondpolitics.org
>2003 then.  I can't find an earlier description of recursive
>delegation + continuous recast.  So I cite you in these footnotes:
>   http://zelea.com/project/votorola/d/theory.xht#fn-1
>   http://zelea.com/project/votorola/d/theory.xht#fn-8

Thanks. I think, though, that some of the writing on Liquid Democracy 
predates this, and it used recursive delegation. "Continuous recast" 
simply means that you can change your proxy or representative at any time.

> > Some writers have been concerned about proxy loops, but I consider them
> > unavoidable, in the first place (the alternative implies a superproxy, one
> > person who represents everyone, which *might* be dangerous!), 
> with the harm
> > limited to lack of representation in some discussions, a 
> situation which is
> > easily remediable if the members of the loop want to remedy it.
>I've discovered that cycles in vote flow may be useful, as illustrated
>in these 4 figures:

Thanks for looking into it! It's about time!

(Ideally, everyone should name a proxy, there is little lost and much 
gained. All it means is that "If I don't participate, consider this 
person's participation as more likely to represent me than not." It 
doesn't have to be perfect, and that is *especially* true when the 
proxies are simply representatives in collective deliberation and 
don't generate binding results, but only advice to their clients, who 
then act with binding participation in some other process. -- or who 
have, where allowed, delegated their right to act as well, a totally 
different issue.)

(If everyone names a proxy, there must be loops. The only question is 
how large they are, and whether or not their existence leaves some 
"members" without representation or connection with the group 
process. Given that this is, ideally, on open system, with a list of 
votes or participants, together with a proxy table, anyone can 
determine who isn't represented, and ping them. The organization 
might do it practically automatically, though individuals should be 
able to shut that off. -- I'd still require member notification under 
some conditions, just not routinely.)

>   http://zelea.com/project/votorola/d/theory.xht#figure-10
>(I'll finish the text in a few days.)

I'll look.

> >> > Carroll was the first I know of to propose votes transferable by
> >> > the first preference candidate...
> >>
> >> And if I understand, that entails *recursive* transfer?  I'll need a
> >> source for that, too.  I'd better read Carroll...
> >
> > No, it doesn't imply delegable proxy, itself...
>I'll read him and see what he says.  I'll send you a copy if the
>librarian lets me.

Got a digital camera?

> > And who would want to be represented by someone who one can't raise on the
> > phone, or sit down and chat with in an office or elsewhere? ...
> >
> > My proxy would understand! And would know whom, on the next level up
> > (levels informally appear with DP), to talk with, perhaps, but not limited
> > to, his or her own proxy. And so on. An idea would rise until it meets
> > *cogent* objection, which would then go back down, always through
> > relationships of rapport. I'd get an answer, quite possible an answer that
> > would show me why my great idea wasn't. But if my idea is really sound, I
> > might be able to answer the objection, convince my proxy -- if I can't
> > convince my proxy, who in the world *can* I convince? -- and thus the idea
> > goes back up, this time with a persistence marker which will slightly
> > increase attention.
>The idea is definitely compelling.  So we ought to implement it.

Yes. Join the Election Methods Interest Group! You can also register 
at the Beyond Politics wiki. EMIG and BP are FA/DP organizations. So 
far, not enough members to provide *much* utility, but it's already 
been useful to me, for example, faced with some dedicated IRV 
supporters in one EMIG discussion, to be able to point out, when they 
claimed I was totally out to lunch, that, with proxy assignments, I 
represented more than them.... That doesn't prove I was right! But it 
shows a bit how it can work, informally.

EMIG has done little yet. It may be coming, maybe not. If it all 
depends on me, quite possibly not.


http://beyondpolitics.org/wiki (not much there now, but register!)

> > It's little less than mass intelligence, a device for "thinking" 
> on a large
> > scale. And that's a lot more important than voting! Voting is just about
> > the outcome....
>Yet it all depends on the voting system.  There is no communication
>channel without recursive delegation.  And nobody will be listening
>without continuous recast.  So we need to code the voting system.

Perhaps. However, the proxy structure is itself intelligent, i.e., 
each link formed in it (client proxy designation and acceptance) is 
an intelligent filter, and information can flow through that link 
without central control. The trick, though, is in getting people to 
recognize the possible power of this.

It is such a simple thing to do, to add a record to a database, that 
most people will think that it *must* be useless or next to useless. 
But the cost is very low!

Belonging to an FA/DP organization should be as low cost, at minimum, 
as can be imagined. If one names a proxy, one could unsubscribe from 
mailing lists, and do practically nothing, there has been a service 
simply in naming a proxy. (Though some channel for communication with 
the organization should remain open: for example, instead of 
unsubscribing to a mailing list, one would go on Special Notice 
status, which still allows the receipt of broadcast messages, but 
admin can still email when needed.)

(We can get away with this with Free Associations, which exist to 
negotiate consensus, and votes aren't binding; thus creating a dummy 
member, and then using this sock puppet to increase one's vote, is 
pretty silly. Those who use EMIG polling information can and will 
factor for this. A publisher who uses an EMIG discussion to make 
publication decisions isn't bound to any particular standard, and 
could, for example, only look at the votes of recognized academics, 
their proxies, or other known experts or knowledgeable members, and 
they can pick and choose. I'm not describing it here, but someone who 
tried to take over an FA/DP organization, illegitimately, would end 
up with a mouthful of hair. Even a true majority can't truly run away 
with the thing.)

What I'd like to do is to encourage some of the names in voting 
systems to join EMIG and name a trusted student as their proxy.... 
That would give us possible access to this person, when it could be 
important, *through the named proxy,* who acts as a filter. We 
actually have some "names" as members, but no proxies designated by 
them yet, as far as I've noticed.

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