[EM] Scoring (was Re: OpenSTV 2.1.0 released)

Michael Ossipoff email9648742 at gmail.com
Wed Sep 19 22:20:57 PDT 2012

>> You said:
>>> For example FBC is an important criterion, but I can accept methods that do
>>> not meet it, but that are good enough in the sense that they allow voters to
>>> rank their favourite always first, as a safe enough rule of thumb. I don't
>>> like methods that fail FBC in the sense that voters often have to betray
>>> their favourite, or if voters have to decide whether to betray or not based
>>> on some complex analysis. In the same way many other criteria can be met
>>> "well enough".
>> That's what I used to say. There are a few problems with that.
>> You can certainly be forgiven for not knowing what's important to
>> voters in this country. No doubt each country is different in that
>> regard.
>> But understand that that means that what you say might not be
>> applicable to this country. And, from what I've heard, some other
>> Plurality countries have a very similar habit of lesser-evil voting.
>> So, in fact, could it be that what you're saying is applicable only to
>> countries that don't use Plurality for their main political elections?
> When I wrote that I was thinking about single-winner elections that genuinely elect from multiple candidates.

All single-winner elections do that.

What's that? Your tv tells you that there only two candidates in
November here? Your tv wouldn't lie to you, would it? :-)

> But I think it covers also plurality and two-party systems.

Most definitely, the subject of single-winner elections includes
Plurality. And the number of candidates can by any number greater than
1. In all of our presidential elections, there are more than two
candidates, even if some states or communities don't allow more than
two on the ballot.
In every one of our presidential elections there are far  more than
two candidates running and with public support. Don't believe
everything that your tv tells you.

The ">" seem to have trailed off, and so I'll go back to my other system:

You said:

The idea that there are third candidates but that are never elected,
and that can act as spoilers  does not fly very well.


In what sense doesn't it "fly well"? What does that mean?

In fact what is a "3rd candidate"? I don't use that term. I know that
you're referring to a "3rd party candidate", but I don't know what
that means either. I don't use that term either, because it's

Let me try to translate what you said:

"The idea that there are non-Republocrat candidates that have never
been elected to the presidency, and that an act as spoilers is either
unsatisfactory to Juho, or disbelieved by Juho."

Is that what you meant?

Well guess what: I agree. It's unsatisfactory to anyone who wishes the
best for the American people, as I'm sure that you do.

1. We don't want nonwinning candidates to be spoilers. That's why we
don't want Plurality, IRV, or unimproved Condorcet.

2. It's unsatisfactory (to the public) that only Democrats and
Republicans ever win, because the public regard the (Democrat and
Republican) politicians as sharing the same moral level as a
schoolground drug-dealer.

So I agree completely that those things are unsatisfactory,to the
American public, just as they are to you.

But I'm not sure that I've interpreted you correctly. Maybe you meant
that what "doesn't fly" is the belief that the winner must be a
Democrat or a Republican. Yes indeed, that doesn't fly.

I agree with you again.

I agree that there is something very fishy, when two parties that the
public regard as contemptible and disgusting are claimed by the mass
media to be the only parties that can win. No, that doesn't fly.

So, you see, we are in complete agreement.

You said:

If we want to have a two-party system...


Whoa. Who is this "we" who want to have a 2-party system. Are you
saying that you want Finland to have a 2-party system? Or that you
want the U.S. to have a 2-party system, and that I also do?

Maybe you do, but I don't.

You see, it isn't for me to say how many parties the U.S. should have.
Strictly speaking, we of course have many parties (Look at the
directory of American political parties, on the web).

We have two parties that have been winning. If you only count the
parties that have been winning,then by your count we have a two party

But it isn't for me to say how many parties we have, or how many
parties should sometimes win. That's for the voters to decide.

To say that there should be some particular number of parties (like
two) would be undemocratic.

But that doesn't mean that no one says it. You sometimes say it, or at
least dance around the saying of it. And some voting system academics
have said it. It seems to me that Riker at least suggested in a book
that Plurality is the best choice for the U.S. because it preserves a
two  party system.

So I'm not denying that some _do_ want a 2-party system. For instance,
I'll venture a guess that the Democrats and Republicans like there to
be a two party system.

In fact, I'll go farther than that, and suggest that maybe the wealthy
types who own and bribe the Republocrat politicians also like there to
be a two party system, in which the people owned by them are perceived
as "the two choices".

So certainly some people _do_ want a 2-party system.

Well, I'll tell you what: Make the two parties the GPUS and the
G/GPUSA, and you've got a deal.

But seriously, the number of parties should be as many as people want.
The number of sometimes-winning parties is enough if the people are
genuinely satisfied with what wins. If the deeds of the people who win
are what the public want. If so, then there are enough
sometimes-winning parties, whether their number is 1, 2, 7, or 1000.
But, otherwise, no there are not enough sometimes-winning parties, if
the public isn't satisfied with what they do.

But when you start telling us how many parties there should be, then
you start sounding like a Soviet.

You said:

, there are also better election methods for that purpose than plain plurality.


Apparently, then, you disagree with Riker. I'll take Riker's side on
that question: Plurality is perfect for making, maintaining,
preserving a two-party system. Oh don't get me wrong. I'm not saying
that Plurality can do it alone. No, it needs a little help. It needs
the help of a mass media system that continually hammers home the
message about "the two choices", and always reports campaigns and
elections as if there were genuinely only two parties.l Without a
media blackout regarding the matter of any public preference for
another party, or completely different policies from the Dem/Repubs,
or dis-satisfaction with all the Dem/Repubs, I fear that even
Plurality wouldn't be enough to preserve the two party system.

But still, for preserving a two party system, no voting system does
the job as well as Plurality.

If you think you can come up with a better one, then let's hear it.
And don't forget to write to tell Riker.

You said:

Or one approach could be also to have only two parties and two
candidates (=> meets FBC).


None can deny it. "Having" only two parties and two candidates could
definitely enforce a two party system. What part of the Soviet Union
did you say you were from?

>> As I said, I used to say what you said above. That was before I
>> observed a progressive lesser-evil Democrat-voter voting in a
>> Condorcet Internet poll, for a presidential election. Yes, I've
>> mentioned this before.
>> She's a progressive, and preferred the policies of Nader to those of
>> the Democrats. But she felt that Nader couldn't win, and that, because
>> only a Democrat can beat the Republicans, the one and only goal is to
>> maximize the probability of a Democrat winning instead of a
>> Republican. We've been over this.
>> So she ranked all of the Democrats over Nader. I couldn't tell her
>> that she needn't do that, because it was optimal strategy, given her
>> assumptions and her goal.
>> You see, that's what you're missing. It's what you were missing before, too.
> But wasn't that more a problem of the voter than a problem of the method?

Most certainly. The method couldn't care less. It was a problem for
the voter only.

The problem is this: When it's a problem to the voter, then it's a problem. No?

You see, that's the whole problem: It's a problem to the voter.

The reason why that's a problem: If the problem to the voter causes
the voter to favorite-bury, and there are lots and lots of voters like
that, and they favorite-bury. Then they'll then have yet another
problem, when their lesser-evil takes office--and does the things that
they don't really like.

I freely admit that it isn't a problem to Juho. But then you, Juho,
don't live here, and so why should you consider it a problem? I don't
care if lesser-evil voters get what they ask for, what they deserve.
Of course everyone else gets it too :-|

Perhaps it isn't a problem to Juho because Juho isn't the one who has
to  pay, with his taxes, for Obama's needless war in Afghanistan.

You said:

She betrayed her favourite although there was maybe no need to do so.

Based on her belief that no one but the Democrat and the Republican
can win, and based on her felt need to maximize the probability that
the Democrat will win, there was only one way for her to vote. Her
optimal strategy involved favorite-burial.

Now, maybe you wouldn't have done so, because you don't share her
belief that only the Republican and the Democrat can win.  Or maybe
you don't mind taking a little chance that the Republican might win
(After all, they win every few years anyway, so it would hardly be an
unprecedented disaster).

But she isn't you, is she. You keep not getting this. You keep missing this:

Given voters who share her preferences, predictive beliefs and goal
priorities, those voters will favorite-bury. That you wouldn't is
quite irrelevant. If lots of people do, then favorite-burial is
affecting the election result, is it not?

You said:

She just didn't believe that sincere ranking was "a safe enough rule of thumb"


Quite.   ...given her predictive beliefs and her priorities. Lots of
people here are like her in that regard.

So what are you trying to say?  ...that we don't need an FBC voting
system--We just need a different electorate?  :-)

You said:

, or at least a better strategy than the one that she used.

No no. You can't tell her what her best strategy is unless you can
tell her what her predictive beliefs and her goal priorities should
be. Given her actual predictive beliefs and goal priorities, her way
of voting was her optimal strategy.

But, again, I agree with you: Her predictive beliefs were wrong, based
on fallacious assumptions based on televised misinformation.

Her goal, that it's all important to elect the Democrat instead of the
Republican is wrong, in my opinion, because it's based on a mistaken
belief that the Democrat is acceptable.

But you need to try not to confuse mistaken predictive beliefs, and an
overgenerous notion of acceptability with a strategy error. Given her
premises, her strategy was optimal.

But, if you're saying that you want to tell all Americans that the
Republocrats _aren't_ "the two choices", and that the Democrat
_shouldn't_ be regarded as acceptable, then I encourage you and
applaud you.

Go for it, Dude.

>> If you believe that the winner must necessarily be a Democrat or a
>> Republican, if you believe that only a Democrat can beat the
>> Republicans, then you also believe that maximizing your expectation
>> and optimizing the outcome must mean maximizing the win-probability of
>> a Democrat.
>> In an election with a progressive (whose policies you prefer best), a
>> Democrat, and some Republicans, your optimal strategy, in unimproved
>> Condorcet, is to rank the Democrat _alone_ in 1st place.
>> When we discussed this before, I told why that is. The reason hasn't
>> changed since then.
> I'm not quite convinced.

Of course not. People don't change. I didn't expect you to say, "Yes,
you are right. I was mistaken."  :-)  I've said it, but I don't expect
it from you. As I just said, people don't change, nor do they change
their beliefs. I didn't expect you to be convinced. I answered your
arguments for the benefit of EM.

>> So it isn't a matter of "How likely is it that this method will show
>> its FBC failure?". Instead, it's a matter of "Does (can) this method
>> fail FBC?"
> Maybe the question is if (rational) voters converge towards voting sincerely or towards (some opinion groups) burying their favourite.

Are you saying that favorite-burial can be rational? Of course it can.
I agree with you again.

In Plurality, the u/a strategy is to vote for the acceptable who is
most able to win with your help.

That's why I advise progressives to do favorite-burial this November,
and vote for Jill Stein, even if they prefer Roseanne Barr (as do I).

In some circumstances sincerity is rational; in some circumstances
favorite-burial is rational.

So what's wrong with favorite-burial when you vote for the Democrat?
Nothing, except that I claim that, if you do that, you're all wrong
about what's acceptable. But of course that's for you to decide. But
the funny thing is that the same people who say that the Democrat is
acceptable, don't seem to agree with hir policies in office.

It isn't for me to tell you what's acceptable. But when it wins, then
_accept it_ and don't complain.

But FBC complying methods, by not giving favorite-burial incentive,
don't cause one person's notion of un-favorite acceptability to
disgust and revolt someone else. That's because, at least, people
won't be voting un-favorite "acceptability" over their favorites.

In ICT or Approval, I could say: "The Democrat is acceptable? That's
nice, but at least you aren't voting that "acceptable" over your

>> Maybe unimproved Condorcet won't often show its FBC failure.
>> Irrelevant. By the beliefs, assumptions, and goal that I spoke of
>> earlier--the beliefs, assumptions and goal of the fully-devoted
>> Democrat lesser-evil voter, the mere possibility of unimproved
>> Condorcet showing an FBC failure means that favorite-burial is the one
>> and only optimal strategy in unimproved Condorcet.
> Again, not quite convinced.

See above.

>> It's as simple as that. That isn't in doubt.
>> But there's good news: Not every Condorcet method fails FBC.
>> Improved Condorcet doesn't fail FBC.
>> And yes, Improved Condorcet is a Condorcet method. I've told, at EM,
>> why Improved Condorcet passes the Condorcet Criterion, when that
>> Condorcet Criterion defines "beats" so as to interpret equal top
>> ranking in a way that is consistent with the intentions, preferences
>> and wishes of an equal top ranking voter.
>> I've defined and described ICT and Symmetrical ICT here at EM. I've
>> extensively discussed their properties.
>> And I've asked this question:
>> Does anyone think that unimproved Condorcet can be defended in a
>> comparison with ICT and Symmetrical ICT?
> I tend to think that all common Condorcet methods are likely to perform quite well in typical large > public elections

And isn't that what EM is really all about? Assertion of unsupported
opinions like that?

So you, living a long way from here, know more about the psychology
and self-declared motivations of American voters than I do, right?

I gave reasons for my claims about problems with unimproved Condorcet.
That's the difference.

> (i.e. in elections where there are very many different opinions, it is not easy to guess how people > will vote, it is not easy to control the voters etc.).

A mis-statement like that is forgivable and excusable when it comes
from someone who doesn't live here. Actually it's ridiculously easy to
control the voters here. They believe whatever their tv tells them.
That makes for beautiful, perfect and complete control.

So why am I even doing this? Just for fun, of course.

Mike Ossipoff

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