[EM] Dave: Improvement on Approval

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Mon Mar 26 11:44:31 PDT 2012


On Mar 24, 2012, at 3:49 PM, MIKE OSSIPOFF wrote:
Approval can't be improved upon, other than questionably and doubtfully.

You wrote:

This is a bit much, considering that there are many competing methods that offer various worthy capabilities.
Looking at the ABucklin that you mention:
Assuming that I wish to elect A, but want to have B considered ONLY if I cannot get A elected:
.     I cannot say this with Approval, where I must give equal approval to every candidate I approve.
.     With ABucklin I can give B a lower rank than I give A, to be considered only if A's rank does not decide on a winner.


Yes, and I don't deny that Abucklin's improvement can be desirable. In fact, if our voting system now were Approval with the
options that I've been describing, I probably would use the MTA option, or, better, the MTAOC* option.  The only reason why
I wouldn't use ABucklin or AOCBucklin is because there wouldn't, for me, be many levels of candidate-merit. Under different
circumstances, I might use ABucklin or AOCBucklin.

*(We've been talking about how the conditional methods have a ridiculous secondary defection strategy. I'd use the
MTAOC option anyway, because I don't think that people would use that ridiculous, counter-intuitive, and potentially
disastrous defection strategy. So, while 1st-level defection is discouraged,
there might well not be any 2nd level defection. Let me just add that, because I only suggest AOC and MTAOC, etc., as _options_, the
appearance of complexity of the conditionality-implementation software code isn't an acceptance problem, because
everyone will know that s/he needn't use it. An _option_ for managing one's Approval voting power isn't a problem. Anyone's
voting power is his/her own, and if s/he chooses a complicated way of managing it, that isn't anyone else's problem.)

It isn't that Approval can't be improved on at all. I'm just saying that voting system reform advocates often have (in my perception)
an exaggerated impression of _how much_ Approval can be improved on.

For instance, though I like ABucklin, and it's one of my favorites, it isn't perfect. Improvements and refinements of Approval
don't bring perfection. Maybe you rank one of the acceptable candidates in 3rd place, because you want to distinguish between
the merit of the various acceptable candidates. But then, in the count, someone gets a majority when ballots give to their 2nd
choices. A candidate unacceptable to you wins because you ranked that acceptable candidate in 3rd place.

Or maybe the opposite could happen: You give 2nd place rankiing to B, and 1st place ranking to A. No one gets a 1st place
majority, and so all the ballots, including yours, give to their 2nd choice. B then gets a majority and wins. But A would
have gotten a majority in the next round. Or maybe A and B  both got a 2nd rank majority, but B got a bigger majority
than A did. A would have won if you hadn't ranked B. Of course that can happen in Approval, and, in fact, of course
ABucklin makes it less likely. My point is merely that it's still possible.

Yes, I know that ABucklin offers something that Approval doesn't offer. I'm just saying that it doesn't _always_ prevent
accidentally giving the election away to a 2nd choice. And you can regret not voting Approval-style. Probably some
improvement--I'd use the multi-level MTA or MTAOC--but not the perfect improvement that some expect.

And, whether in Approval with options, or in Abucklin, the person voting an Approval ballot has simpler strategy 
(though he/she has to of course be willing to forgo the multi-level nature of ABucklin or MTA).

Of course ABucklin adds MMC compliance, and I value that.

Bottom-line: Improvement, yes. Perfect or complete improvement, no.

I suggest offering improvements, such as the options of AOC, ABucklin, AOCBucklin, MTA, MTAOC, etc., & maybe  delegation, sometime after
the enactment of Approval. Especially if there's considerable talk about wanting something fancier than ordinary Approval.

Mike Ossipoff

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