[EM] Kristofer, 4/18/12

Michael Ossipoff email9648742 at gmail.com
Wed Apr 18 13:25:28 PDT 2012

>* You see, there are methods for which we can assure people that it's *>*been proven that no one can benefit from favorite-burial.
* Yes, such methods exist, but you have to give up quite a bit to get FBC.


You have to give up Condorcet's Criterion. What else do you have to give
up, in ICT, to get FBC?

You continued:

In Approval's case, you have to give up the graduation of the ranked ballot
and do part of the parsing yourself.


Approval's strategies are simple. Condorcetists and IRVists are missing

But it's true that the unlimited rank methods allow a gradation of
preference that isn't expressed in Approval. The benefit of that is
largely or entirely illusory for nearly all rank methods.

Concider Condorcet, for instance. I've mentioned this subject before, but
I'm probably saying it in more complete detail now.
Condorcet has several strategy problems that undermine the goal and purpose
of rank-balloting:

All of these strategy problems will make a joke of Condorcet's criterion
and the supposed advantage of better expresivity. How much
do those things count for when people are engaging in these strategies?:

1. Condorcet, like Approval, is not defection-resistant. Lack of
defection-resistance is Approval's only actual problem. In other words,
retains Approval's only problem worth mentioning. The defection problem can
be dealt with perfectly well in Approval, in (at least) the five
ways that I listed and described in a previous post. It can probably be
similarly dealt with in Condorcet. The point is that Condorcet shared
Approval's problem.  Rank balloting doesn't get rid of it.

2. Favorite-burial due to FBC failure. I've talked a lot about why FBC will
be a problem even in Condorcet. You argue on that matter later, below, and
I answer your arguments there.  So, here, I'll just ask, How much do
Condorcet's Criterion and the rankings' free expressivity mean when people
are burying their favorites to maximally help compromises?

3. Offensive burial. With only 3 candidates, Condorcet well-deters
offensive burial. With more than 3 candidates, that deterrence pretty much
evaporates. I can find some losing candidate, someone who definitely won't
pair-beat mine, and my faction can make hir beat the sincere CW.
When that's being done, how much do Condorcet's Criterion and expressivity

Besides, whether or not offensive burial is rampant, you can bet that
opponents will make much of it. And they'll have a lot more airtime
and print-space than you will. And remember that you can't prove that
offensive burial will be rampant. You can say that you think it won't be.
Opponents and media, etc., can continually emphasize that no one knows for
sure, and that we'd be taking a chance on a method with which
we don't know what would happn.

Now, there are rank methods that meet FBC: ICT and Abucklin, for instance.
And there are rank methods that meet FBC and are defection-resistant:
ICT and ABucklin with conditionality (I've called one such version
"AOCBucklin".) ITC has better defection resistance, more simply implemented,
than that of AOCBucklin.

I won't deny that I, too, would like an FBC-complying, defection-resistant
rank method. I'm not saying that any of them are better than Approval. I've
spoken of the ways in which Approval is _the best_. There are other ways in
which ICT improves on it.

If I could decree what voting system would be used here, I'd decree that it
be ICT.

But that has no relevance to the question of what the best enactable
proposable is now. It's Approval.

Maybe someday, the great-great-grandchildren of today's electoral reform
advocates will enact ICT.

If we had ICT, I might even sometimes rank at more than two levels, if some
of the progressive candidates were highly questionable, or if some of the
others were significantly better than the rest. Probably the same marginal
candidates I'd middle-rate in MCA or MTA. Typically, though, I'd still use
only 2 rank positions, and so, for me, even the best rank method, the one
allowing the most _genuine_ freedom of expresssion, ICT, would only
sometimes offer more than Approval. That's because I consider our elections
to be u/a (meaning that they include unacceptable candidates who could win).

The reason why I qualilty my ICT decree with "probably" is that I have to
admit that, with a rank method, I can't claim that I know for sure what all
of its properties and consequences would be. I know for a fact the big
improvements that Approval would bring. Can I say for sure that a more
complicated method such as ICT, ABucklin or AOCBucklin would be better.
Even if better, it wouldn't be _much_ better, for the reasons discussed
ABucklin is such a straightfoward generalization of Approval that I feel
relatively confident that it would allow the extra expressivity that I
describe in the following paragraph. ICT, unlike ABucklin is
defection-resistant, and therefore looks like a sure (somewhat) improvement
on ABucklin and Approval.
But, with rank methods, it's difficult to make sure predictions, especially
when we're talking about a method as different from and unrelated to
Approval as
ICT is. Still, regarding the sense and the ways in which it can be possible
to improve on Approval, I consider ICT the best bet.

In MCA, MTA, etc., the middle rating is only for candidates barely
qualifying for an approval in Approval, and candidates almost
qualiifying for an approval in Approval. In ABucklin, I suggest that the
whole range of rank positions below top and above bottom should be reserved
for those same candidates whom you'd middle rate in MTA or MCA.  ABucklin
merely gives you the opportunity to more finely distinguish among those
middle-merit candidates.

Discussion about unattainable (at least in 1st proposals) methods can have
its value and interest. It has one practical value: To show that
the good rank methods aren't enactable now. Of course it's of interest just
for fun, too. But, as a practical matter, once we know what's enactable,
what good does it do to discuss un-enactable ideally better improvements?


You wrote:

More generally (and less controversially), FBC implies a constraint that
limits the choices of methods we might pick. I think that constraint is
significant, as there are few FBC methods out there.



You continued:

So what I'm trying to show, or show the possibility of, is that FBC might
not be a make-or-break thing. You've said that Condorcet is fine when
people don't overcompromise, and you've given that as a reason for why it
works in an organizational context. However, voters don't overcompromise
just for the fun of it. Something has told them that if they don't
compromise for Dumb, Dumber might win. The suspect party is obviously
Plurality, and so you say that it might also work where the people haven't
been taught to compromise early and often. But it seems to me that this
effect can work both ways. The Plurality dynamic is that for every election
where not compromising causes Dumber to win, the people learn to
compromise; but why shouldn't it go the other way? "For each Condorcet
election where voters that don't compromise find that Smart still wins,
they feel even less of a need to compromise".


Yes. But the problem with that is, how will voters ever find that out, if
they're afraid to try not overcompromising?

You wrote:

We know from Burlington that compromise isn't absolute. In the 2009
election, voters voted in a way suggesting a close race. (Then IRV punished
them for it.) If the election had been Condorcet, the right candidate would
have won. Wouldn't that encourage those who didn't compromise to keep not
compromising, and suggest to the compromisers that compromise wasn't
needed? Couldn't that, after enough elections, show the voters that they
don't need widespread strategy?


Sure, I don't deny that. I just doubt that it people will stop burying
favorites under one of "the two choices",  and so people will never have
experience in elections for national office.

You continlued:

FBC is obviously a much stronger assertion. When you're dealing with a
method that passes FBC, you know (and can tell the voters) there's
absolutely no need to betray a favorite. There's no need for the kind of
feedback I gave above. Yet if the scenario I gave is realistic, that means
one doesn't need to dismiss other methods like Condorcet for public


But what you said was based on Burlington. Municipal elections. Voters are
a lot more sincere in municipal elections than in elections for national

You continued:

But if the voters are like RBJ, for instance, they may prefer a ranked
ballot to an Approval or Range-type ballot; or they may think that (if the
concept was explained to them) the CW should always win because he has a
majority backing him against anyone else.


Though most people new to voting systems aren't interested in Condorcet
complexity, some people do like rank balloting. Of those latter, nearly all
want Borda or IRV. But even if they preferred Condorcet, it wouldn't
matter, when media and authorities insisted that the new proposals are
unpredictable, may have unknown adverse & undesirable, disastrous,
consequences.  ...and when they say, "This will need a lot more study."
Some people initially liking rank balloting won't be enough to overcome

You continued:

 Throwing away FBC and not getting anything in return is of course silly,
but throwing away FBC and *getting* something in return might not be


Ok, sure. As I said, if I could decree the voting system here, I'd decree
that it be ICT.

But take a closer look at the word "getting", in your above sentence. We
can't get anything more complicated than Approval.

You continue:

at least if FBC failure need not be as serious as you say.


I've seen its effect on Condorcet voting, in a presidential Condorcet
Internet poll. I only observed one voter,so this is "anecdotal".
But where is the burden of proof? Should we enact Condorcet (as if it were
possible) instead of Approval because we don't know if a significant number
of voters will favorite-bury?

And if someone would favorite-bury in a staw poll, where nothing's riding
on the outcome, then there's all the more reason to expect rampant
favorite-burial in an actual election.
*I'd said:*
* Most definitely. But it isn't I who must be sure. It's the
*>*over-timid, compromise-conditioned voter.
*You replied:*
* * Can't he be convinced by experience?


Only if he's willing to try taking a chance on non-burial. We don't know if
he will. I can't prove he won't. Can anyone prove he will?

Rather than risk not getting any significant improvement on Plurality, the
prudent course would be to use a method for which it
can be guaranteed that favorite-burial serves no purpose whatsoever. In
fact, it's necessary that it be a method in which it's
plainly, transparently obvious to the voter that there's no need or point
to favorite-burial.That can only be said of Approval.


Perhaps one can show that in an u/a setting, Condorcet passes FBC; and you
could reason that when voters are no longer thinking in u/a terms, they
have already moved beyond Plurality-style reasoning.


That hadn't occurred to me. But if it's understood by all to be  u/a
elections, then there would be very little reason to have anything other
than Approval.

The matter of Condorcet and FBC in a u/a electoin hadn't occurred to me,
and I don't know--Would Condorcet pass FBC then? Maybe; I don't know,
because I haven't considered that matter before. If it would, then, as you
said, maybe, under u/a conditions maybe voters in Condorcet would
get over their overcompromise habit. It's a new idea to me.

As for IRV, I don't advocate it at all, for existing electorates. I've only
said that it would be ok with a completely different kind of electorate.
That's a moot point,since we don't have that different kind of electorate.
So I definitely don't advocte or recommend IRV.

Mike Ossipoff
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