[EM] it's been pretty quiet around here...

Jameson Quinn jameson.quinn at gmail.com
Fri Sep 3 07:23:41 PDT 2010

Simplicity is THE most important factor when trying convince people without
> a computer/maths degree, especially as I want to use proportional top-down
> ranking methods for party lists and possible council elections.
This is very true, and easy to forget for us theorists. It's why I think
simple two-rank, two-round Bucklin, while it is not the best method
theoretically, has the best combination of simplicity and robustness for
practical application.

> Explaining beatpath methods is not easy, and it does not become easier when
> you go to proportional ranking STV.
> Ranked-pairs seems to be easier to explain and code than Schulze at a first
> glance.
> I don't know which method would be simpler to explain than Schulze-STV
> (which also has some nice properties, which makes it easy to explain).
> Why not minimax? I understand that it's not as good as Beatpath or Schulze
theoretically, but it is identical up to 3 serious candidates, which covers
I'd guess over 97% of the real-world cases. And it is much easier to

> On the other hand, Schulze-STV handles incomplete ballots completely
> differently (proportional completion) than standard Schulze methods
> (winning-votes), which is rather annoying.
> I am not sure how well the multiwinner extention CPO-STV handles large
> number of votes, seats and candidates although Juho was kind enough to
> program a web-app.
> CPO-STV and many other ranked proportional methods are a computational
> challenge if the number of candidates and votes is large. It is not too
> difficult to write a program that with good probability finds the best
> winner quickly, but such uncertainly may be difficult to market.
I think that generally speaking, Condorcet methods are not ideal for PR. If
you use some form of elect-and-discount, they go for the compromise
candidates first, instead of getting good representation of the interest
blocs. And if you do condorcet-over-winning-sets, it quickly gets
computationally complex and hard to explain or intuitively understand.

I need to write up and code up my proposal for STV-like Bucklin-PR. Not now,
though; I'm on deadline.

It would be great, if you could aggree on a method to promote.
> Why not try to vote? :o)
> There is a "favorite voting system" bonus question on the ongoing poll
(until the end of the month) on branding voting systems. That is, just as
Hare was rebranded as IRV for easy promotion, we should have snappy names
for our systems. There are 13 votes so far, and no runaway winners yet for
Condorcet or Bucklin.

Betterpolls.com is well-done. It gives results for Condorcet, IRV, Range
(-10 to 10), and approval (0.5 cutoff).

I would happily participate in a more thorough poll on which voting system
is best. I think it should be done in two stages: what's the best variant of
each general class (Condorcet, Range, Bucklin, hybrid, etc.) and then what's
the best overall class. I'd also be willing to vote twice, once for
theoretical best results, and again for most practically-applicable (where
simplicity is much more important).

> That might be a big fight. I once proposed to the Range proponents to use
> Range voting to decide which voting method is best but I did not get any
> support to this idea (maybe better so for the Range promoters) :-). Maybe
> approval would be one working method, not to pick the winner but to provide
> data on what methods different expert consider acceptable for some
> particular use case. I'm actually somewhat surprised on how difficult it is
> for research oriented people to even find approximate consensus on which
> methods are good for the most usual needs. I guess many people are more
> "promoters" of their own favourite methods than "scientists" when they have
> to decide between these two approaches.
> Or why not promote both Schulze and Ranked pairs, but with one preferred of
> these two options.
> If you start voting in this forum, you might also want to consider
> introducing a "blocking vote", meaning that the person is so strongly
> dissatisfied with the vote, that he/she plans to leave the forum etc. if the
> majority alternative will win. If a significant number of blocking votes is
> cast (say one vote or 10% of the votes), then there will be re-elections
> after a new round of discussion.
> As discussed above, maybe one could collect such opinions without trying to
> decide which method is the absolute winner. (One problem is that list
> members and voters probably are not a representative set of the whole
> scientific community.)

Just leave the voting open-ended, to make it clear that the idea is not to
arrive at the Final Right Answer, but to improve our activism by seeking
areas of consensus.

> I guess what most organisations need, is what I wrote down, when hunting
> for a good election method for the Czech green party.
> 1. a simple method - I think I wrote this before, this is the main
> criterion
> 2. proportional ranking multi-winner elections for party lists and
> board/council elections.
> There are also other alternatives than proportional ranking based
> approaches.

...such as proxy-based alternatives (liquid democracy, asset voting,
whatever you call them.)

> 3. draft text to use in statutes
> 4. an open-source freeware program
> Yes. (No further comment until/unless I can put my code where my mouth is.)

> Otherwise - about the voting methods:
> I strongly consider a second  top-two runoff election between the Condorcet
> winner and the candidate with the most first preference votes as a safeguard
> against dark horses and against criticisms from the unconvinced.
> Do you think it is a good idea?
Probably the combined method is not any better. But if that is necessary to
> make the reform acceptable, then why not. In theory the Condorcet winner (if
> one exists) should win also the second round. The main impact is maybe the
> added second round of discussions that may change also sincere opinions.

Agreed; this is worthwhile, but remember to note when promoting it that you
can skip the runoff if there is one clear winner.
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