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

Michael Ossipoff email9648742 at gmail.com
Thu Sep 20 18:05:43 PDT 2012

>> In what sense doesn't it "fly well"? What does that mean?
> I just meant that it is a waste of effort and energy to have "fake" candidates that appear as they >could be elected, but they can't, or whose presence may make the "natural" winner not win.

Again, you're quite right. We do have fake parties. They're called the
Democrat Party and the Republican Party.

Or do you think that heavy spending and selective media coverage are
the criteria for the legitimacy and genuineness of a party. If you
believe that, then you'd also believe that De and Repub are the
genuine parties, and that the others are fake.

Do the non-Republocrat parties merely "appear as if they could be
elected"? No. Any party or candidate could be elected, using any
reasonable voting system, including Plurality, Approval, Score, ICT,
Symmetrical ICT, IRV, MJ, or unimproved Condorcet...etc.

But, if you're defining a fake party as one that isn't getting
elected, when a certain two others are being treated by the media as
the only parties, then, by your definition every party other than the
Republocrats is a fake party.

When you say "can't be elected", you need to examine what you mean by
that. Do you mean "can't be elected under combination of a selective
media blackout, and Plurality voting"? Or do you mean "can't be
elected because the public prefer the policies of the Republocrats"?

When you say something, it's necessary to specify your meaning.

When I say "fake party", I refer to a party whose appearance of
legitimacy depends on selective media blackout, selective exclusive
coverage of certain presumptions and premises, and fraudulent coverage
or public preferences. That would be the Democrats and Republicans.

>> 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?
> Approximately so.
>> 1. We don't want nonwinning candidates to be spoilers. That's why we
>> don't want Plurality, IRV, or unimproved Condorcet.
> It is hard to find methods that have no weaknesses. Luckily we can often use methods whose weaknesses are weak enough.

We can do better. We can avoid certain strategy needs. For instance
there are now a wide variety of FBC-complying methods. They have
absolutely no favorite-burial incentive.

>All those three methods may meet that target in some elections.

"...may..."?   You're speculating about how things are here. I live
here. I've been answering your questions about how things actually are

Your information about Americans' political preferences and voting
motivations are based on such things as CNN, Fox, and maybe NPR radio,
etc. I suggest to you that maybe actual conversations with actual
people, here, tells a different story than your tv network sources.

>> 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.
> Depends on if they want "that only Democrats and Republicans ever win".

Most definitely so. You're right again. If the public, with full
information about the alternatives, prefer the policies of the
Democrats, the Republicans, and the mass media to all other policies,
then the public would want the winners to come only from two parties,
the Dems and Repubs.
(if you think that they qualify as 2 parties rather than 1 party).

As I said, how any parties sometimes win the elections should depend
only on what they voters themselves actually prefer, when they have
full information about the alternatives available to them.

If the public really liked Repub and Dem policies best, as described
above, then they want the "2 party system", and Plurality is just
fine.  --would be just fine if the "if" clause were so.

>> 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 meant that using a method that appears to elect any of the candidates but in reality can elect only certain candidates does not look natural.

As I said, any reasonable voting system, including Pluralty, Approval,
Score, ICT, Symmetrical ICT, IRV, or MJ, can elect anyone.

But, with a combination of an FBC-failing method, and a media that
pretends that there are only 2 parties, and a public who believe the
media about that--then yes, under that system, with all of the 3
components I stipulated, that system "in reality can elect only
certain candidates".

Does that look natural? Or course not. It's media-manufactured.

And, looking at its voting-system component, Plurality: Does
Plurality's forced-falsification rule "look natural". Hardly. There's
no way to justify the forced-falsification rule of Plurality.

So yes, you're quite right. The system here most definitely does not
"look natural".   --because it isn't.

What would be more natural? An unbiased non-corrupt, honest media
system, not controlled by corporate money, and a voting system that
doesn't have Plurality's decidedly-not-natural forced-falsification
rule. A simple point system such as Approval or Score would meet that

I suggest, in fact, that either of those 2 things (better media or
legitimate voting system) would be sufficient to make the system
"natural" enough to give results more in keeping with peoples'
expressed preferences.

And remember, I'm the one who lives here.

>> So, you see, we are in complete agreement.
> Pretty much so. But I didn't want to take position on two-party systems vs. multi-party systems.

That's better. As I said, it isn't for us to say anyway. The important
thing is that the public be able to freely support their genuine
preferences, without strategic need to do otherwise. We agree
completely on that.

>> How many parties we have, or how many
>> parties should sometimes win. That's for the voters to decide.
> In a representative democracy people elect representatives who will then decide.

Absolutely not. The people, themselves, decide and choose, by their
choice of representatives. By the time the representatives have been
elected, the public choice has already been made. The representatives
have no role other than to carry out the policies that they have

You said:

In this case the representatives of the two main parties will decide.


:-) They sure do, don't they. And of course they'll continue to
forever, as long as the public are the suckers and sheep that they've
always been. P.T. Barnum said that there's one [sucker] born every
minute. Of course that was an understatement. Sheep don't usually
change into anything else. They're sheep. So don't get your hopes up.

So why do I even bother with these topics? As I said: "Only for fun".
But it's only fun for so long. It's becoming tiresome. That's why I'm
retiring from voting systems, and from political discussion, and
involvement in public affairs in general.

Strictly speaking, of course, it isn't the "representatives of the
'two main parties'  " who decide, is it. It's their owners and bribers
who decide.

You said:

This is a general problem of political systems (not only a problem of
two-party systems) and also other organizations. Those that are in
power have tendency to maintain their own strong position.


...with a lot of help from those over whom they're in power. I've said
that the media's "the two choices" fraud, and Plurality's
forced-falsification rule, are all it takes to ensure the current
fraudulent system. But of course there's one more component needed:
Sheep. Cattle.

Have you ever noticed how perfectly the public psychology works with
the sheep-herder's efforts? It's as if the sheep and the herders were
made for eachother. It's as if those two sets of people were _born_
for their roles with regard to eachother. It's as if we have specially
bred sheep, to work with the sheep-herders. We do. It's just like
Huxley's _Brave New World_ ...except that, of course, it's anything
but new. It's the result of long evolution, over human and pre-human
history. That's where the actual situation differs from _Brave New
World_. It isn't done by drugging. It's done, instead, by natural

So, then, I suppose someone could argue that the situation _is_
natural, in that sense.

Understand that, though it's natural in an evolutionary sense, that
doesn't mean that I'm saying that it is good, or that its result are
good. Far from it. The results are anything but good. The social
instincts that might have well-served our prehistoric and prehuman
ancestors needn't be helpful now, under completely different
circumstances. Clearly they are not.

So, if you or anyone wants to make things better, I'm just letting you
know what you're up against. You're up against millions of years of
evolution, going back through human and pre-human times.

Yes, I advise people to vote optimistically. Voting, rightly, is
inherently optimistic. That's how everyone should vote. But, just
between you and me, what's the chance that they'll really start doing
so? Sure I wish that they would, and I even hope that they will.

>> To say that there should be some particular number of parties (like
>> two) would be undemocratic.
> Unless the voters or their representatives say so. (Or maybe someone just uses his freedom of speech and freedom of opinion.)

By the definition of democracy, if the public prefers only two
parties, then a two party system wouldn't be undemocratic. What their
representatives want is irrelevant to the matter of democrat vs
undemocratic. If the public are really electing what they want, then
that's democratic. The rightful role of representatives in a democracy
is merely to carry out the policies that they promised during their
campaigns for election.
>> 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".

You said:
> Yes, there may be also such people. But maybe not very many. Maybe there are also many people that make use of the situation but that don't have any philosophical thoughts on what political system would be good. They are just opportunistic, with not much interest in politics nor in theories on two-party systems, Duverger's law etc.


Of course you're right again: The percentage of the population who own
and run the system is tiny.
But of course it doesn't take many, does it.

But make no mistake. The tv consistently and consciously promotes
perpetuates and perpetrates the fraud of "the two choices". It isn't
accidental. If you want to work for the mass media, and keep your job,
then you say what you're supposed to say, and you don't say what you
aren't supposed to say. There have been plenty of such accounts from
former media employees who said something they weren't supposed to
say, or didn't say what they were supposed to say, and were let go

>> 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.
> Maybe he should have said "one good" instead of "perfect".

No, Plurality is the perfect voting system, for artificially
preserving a 2-party system.

You said:

Or maybe word "perfect" means that he is very happy with having "fake"
candidates that can collect the protest votes without making any harm.


Again you're right. He's evidently very happy with having fake parties
that, though their policies and conduct are regarded by all as odious,
and though they are universally known to be thoroughly corrupt, are
fraudulently media-promoted as "the 2 choices".  Plurality is the
method that will keep on electing those two fake parties,as long as
the voters believe whatever their tv tells them.

So, when you say that his suggestion that Plurality is the best choice
for the U.S. because it preserves the 2 party system, means that he's
Happy with fake parties, you're quite right.

You said:

> What I meant with "better" was that some methods could allow new parties to rise and replace >one of the old two parties

Ok, now you're saying that a better method would be one that wouldn't
preserve a media-artificial 2 party system and keep on electing two
fake parties. Again, I agree with you completely.

That improvement would be 100% reliably achieved by a method that
doesn't fail FBC.

I'm not claiming that sheep-instinct could overcome a better voting
system. But of course the trouble is: How would we get a better voting
system. It's like the fairy-tale about "Belling the cat".

You said:

, or that would allow those two parties to be internally more
responsive to voter opinions than they (maybe) are today.


Candidates and parties are financially motivated to give their first
allegiance to their bribers and owners, not to the public.

The voters are largely irrelevant, of course. To find out what I mean,
read some of the articles about the legitimacy of the presidential
election results of 2000 and 2004. Now, Diebold's opinion is highly
relevant. Check out, for example, the Harpers issue right after the
2004 presidential election.

Someone said: "The real voting power belongs to those who count the votes."


Expect Romney to "win" in November. Obama has done his job, served his
purpose, by giving people a little false hope, to encourage the belief
that Dem is different from Repub. Now it's time for Romney to do his
job, part of which is to not keep Democrat promises.

The voters prefer Obama to Romney? Irrelevant.

>> 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.
> I think the mass media strengthens the two-party system, but the two-party system might survive > even if the mass media would request the voters to consider also other parties.

No, the fake two party system wouldn't have a chance then. But why
would the mass media want to start requesting the voters to consider
also other parties. It ain't gonna happen.

As I said above, you're speculating about "maybe". As someone who
actually lives here, and encounters actual American persons, as
opposed to your contact with CNN, Fox, etc, I'm answering your

>> But still, for preserving a two party system, no voting system does
>> the job as well as Plurality.
> Maybe a system that would allow only those two parties :-). We have had also systems that allow only one party :-).

What do you think _this_ system is? :-)  As Gore Vidal said, we don't
have a two-party system. We have one party with 2 right wings.

We have a 1-party system, as surely as the Soviets did. Our owners and
their media merely call it a 2 party system, for a fraudulent illusion
of democracy.

Dem and Repub deeds don't differ sufficiently to make them 2 distinct parties.

You know, with the world's 3 largest countries being non-democratic,
that doesn't bode well for democracy in the world.

There isn't much hope for the world? Don't take it so hard. This
particular world we live in is only one of infinitely-many possibility
worlds. Sure, our lives are in the context of this possibility story,
and, as such, in the context in which we live, it's all-important that
we conduct our lives as well as we can. But, other than that, don't
take this possibility story that is your life, in this possibility
world that is this universe, unduly seriously. It isn't everything.
Nowhere near.

Does that sound ungrateful, regarding the gift of life? Not at all.

Sure, worldly life is a gift, for which we should be grateful,  but it
isn't the main gift.

So things are considerably better than they might seem.

>> 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.
> I might have some proposals, but I'd need to know what the target of the reform should be. If the target was to maintain the two-party system, then maybe a system that would not allow other parties - except that it is possible that such a system would lead sooner to a revolution than a system that allows "fake" parties to run and collect the votes of the protesters but practically never get representatives :-).


Correct. Our 1-party system is masterfully done. Much better than the
USSR's 1-party system. Ours has the beautifully-successful fraudulent
pretense of democracy. One can't help admiring its effectiveness.

As I said, it depends on 3 components: Plurality; the media 's"the two
choices" fraud; and a gullible electorate.

Clearly, all 3 component are in place, and the fraudulently-maintained
1-party system seems to be here to stay.

>> 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?
> Almost part, had to fight :-).

Certainly, I realize that, and no offense was intended. And Russia
(more correctly, the Russian empire) still has Karelia.

> A good system would have a good method and a good understanding of the method (and politics in general).

You're proposing a combination of something like unimproved Condorcet,
and an honest media system and educational system. That would be an
improvement over now. But your proposal is way to ambitious.

My own proposal is much more modest: I propose merely an FBC-complying
voting system, which, by itself, would completely eliminate
favorite-burial incentive.   ...without any favorable assumptions
about people's psychology.

And there are some really simple, especially do-able FBC voting
systems: The point systems. Approval and Score (of which Approval is
by far the more feasible and do-able). Few here seem to appreciate the
power that those simple minimal methods give to the voter.

> The opinion of other people does influence on what people do. Some methods might even reinforce this behaviour. I believe, in most methods the method specific "bad group behaviour reinforcing" factor is not very strong.


Again, you're speculating about a country (U.S.) about which your only
information comes from such as CNN and Fox tv. I live here. I've met
and talked with more Americans than you have. You're mistaken in the
above-quoted paragraph.

When the media fraudulently represent "group opinion", that has a
powerful effect, is entirely effective. The tv tells you that everyone
else prefers Repub or Dem. You believe that you're the only person
who' like something better, and that it's you who are out-of-step and
wrong. It works very well, masterfully well.

>> So what are you trying to say?  ...that we don't need an FBC voting
>> system--We just need a different electorate?  :-)
> Originally I was saying that good methods should meet good criteria "well enough".

And, from as far away as you are, you aren't as good a judge for "well enough".

You continue:

We also need good electorate, which could mean continuous education
and encouragement (by media, country and fellow citizens).


In other words, you're saying that we need for the educational system
and the media to act contrary to the best financial interest of those
who have controlling interest in them. Why should they do that?

That's why I say that your proposal is unreasonably ambitious.

>> Her predictive beliefs were wrong, based
>> on fallacious assumptions based on televised misinformation.
> Maybe combined with one's own mistaken beliefs.

But where do you think the mistaken beliefs came from?

You said:

I guess there are always some risks. For example in ranked methods
people might keep some rating style thinking and therefore e.g. rank
the strongest competitor of their favourite candidate last.


The success of that "burial" strategy depends on the rank-count. In
ICT and in Symmetrical ICT, it won't work for anyone unless their
favorite is the most top-rated candidate in the top-cycle created by
that burial.

That  can't be said for unimproved Condorcet.

You said:

Also ranking a strong, only barely acceptable candidate first may fall
in this category. ("first position = lots of points, last position =
as few points as possible")


I'm going to assume that, by "ranking", you meant "equal top ranking".
That's consistent with the rest of the above-quoted text.

Certainly. Unless there are exceptions that I'm not aware of, that's
true of all rank methods that allow equal top ranking.

In ICT or Symmetrical ICT, in a u/a election, you should always equal
top rank all of the acceptables.

In Symmetrical ICT, you shouldn't rank any unacceptables, making that
method's u/a strategy as simple as that of Approval

In unimproved Condorcet, you need to equal top rank the acceptables,
just as surely as you do in ICT or Symmetrical ICT. But the
difference, with unimproved Condorcet, is that there's a penalty and
risk if you do: One of them might, by pairbeating another, stop it
from being CW, and make a top cycle in which an unacceptable will win.
In other words, in a u/a election, with unimproved Condorcet, you
don't know what to do. That's in stark contrast to ICT and Symmetrical

Of course, to word it differently, that's also the FBC failure of
unimproved Condorcet.

In ICT and unimproved Condorcet, u/a strategy includes ranking the
unacceptables in reverse order of winnability. In Symmetrical ICT
there is no incentive to do that. You just don't rank the
unacceptables. As I said, Symmetrical ICT's u/a strategy is as simple
as that of Approval or Score.

> I try to avoid telling Americans what they should do. But I try to discuss especially with EM experts on how different political and electoral systems might impact societies (their societies or societies in general).

Very good. It's good to sometimes speak in generalities. And, when you
do, be sure that you aren't making favorable assumptions that
sometimes might not really obtain. A nice thing about Approval, Score,
ICT and Symmetrical ICT is that they have absolutely no
favorite-burial incentive. And that guarantee doesn't depend on any
favorable voter-psychology assumptions.

>>> 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.
> But I think you just proved that people can bury also irrationally :-).

The favorite-burial isn't irrational, given the assumptions, beliefs,
and goals of the voter I described.

But yes, favorite-burial is often irrational, in the sense that it's a
result of irrational assumptions, beliefs and notions of
acceptability. "I've been down so long, it seems like up to me" was
the title of a book. It sounds like a Democrat voter.

A nice thing about FBC methods is that even someone whose beliefs,
assumptions and goals are irrational won't favorite-bury based on
those irrational beliefs, assumptions or goals.

It's blatantly obvious that, in Approval, approving your favorite
isn't going to affect the fact that you've voted Compromise over Worst
and thereby helped Compromise over worst.

>> 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
>> favorite."
> But what if I want to vote in Approval so that I approve only the "acceptable" that I really want to win? ;-)

Then you're voting wrong strategy. Sub-optimal strategy. Your best
strategy is to approve every acceptable.  And not approve any

Ok, there's an exception, and I've been discussing it amply here on
EM: The Chicken Dilemma:

What if one of the acceptables, ("Compromise", or "B"), has voters who
are going to take advantage of you by not approving your favorite
("Favorite", or "A")? You dutifully, conscientiously, co-operatively
approve all the acceptables, including Compromise. And Compromise's
voters don't approve Favorite. Compromise wins, and you've been taken
advantage of.

I've written extensively about that.

First of all, defeating the unacceptables is really the important
thing. You should care more about that than the matter of being taken
advantage of by the B voters. As long as an acceptable wins, then let
the defectors choose which acceptable wins.

But maybe you feel that the _principle_ of not letting the B voters
get away with it is important. And then you might even (irrationally)
risk unacceptable win in order to deter B defection. Then do so, but
realize, too, that it's irrational.

So what can you do then? I've listed lots of things that ease the
Chicken Dilemma, and make it not the problem that it seems. I'll post
more about that in a few days.

But one solution is Strategic Fractional Ratings. I shouldn't repeat
about that, because I've said a lot about it in recent postings here
at EM.

The point is that:

1. Really rational voting calls for ignoring defection by B voters,
and approving B if B is an acceptable.

2. If you (irrationally) want to deter B defection, instead of
maximally helping acceptables against unacceptables, then use SFR.

And I've discussed a whole list of reasons why the Chicken Dilemma
won't be a problem in Approval or Score. I shouldn't repeat them,
because I've posted them a few times. In a few days or a week, though,
I'll post them again.

As I said, ICT and Symmetrical ICT don't have the Chicken Dilemma.
But, for reasons previously discussed, I propose only Approval and
Score for official public elections.

> Btw, what do you think of SFBC for ranked systems? (StrongFBC = no need to rank your favourite below or equal with the less liked candidates)


What method meets it? Isn't it unattainable, by nonprobabilistic
ballots-only methods?

Here's what I now mean when I say "FBC":

If no candidate other than your top-voted would win, then moving an
additional candidate to top shouldn't cause a candidate not top-voted
by you to win.

A candidate is "top-voted by you", and "at top" on your ballot, if you
don't vote anyone over hir.

[end of FBC definition]

That is my latest and currently favorite FBC definition. At the
electowiki FBC page, that definition has been added by me, as the main
FBC definition. I'm the advocate of FBC. I should be the one to define
FBD, and I define FBC as defined above.

Lower on that electowiki FBC page, there is a link to another page
that gives basically that same definition, with a different name.
Apparently others came up with the above-defined FBC definition before
I did, and posted it to electowiki by another name. But now I consider
it to be the meaning of "FBC", and that's how I want FBC defined at
electowiki. That's how I've defined it there.

>>> I tend to think that all common Condorcet methods are likely to perform quite well in typical large > public elections


You "think that". As I said, you're speculating about this country's
voting, based on information gained from such as CNN and Fox tv. You
don't live here. You haven't met as many voters,and heard their voting
motivations. You're speculating. And I'm telling you, as someone who
actually lives here, that your speculation is mistaken, based on what
I've heard from Democrat voters, and based on what I've observed.

>> And isn't that what EM is really all about? Assertion of unsupported
>> opinions like that?
> What more would you expect in addition to my belief that they would perform quite well also in most political elections in addition to the less competitive elections in which they are currently used?

I didn't say that I would expect any different at EM. But I repeat
that your speculation is based on unreliable information. You don't
live here.

Or maybe I misunderstood you. Maybe you're talking about how well
unimproved Condorcet would work in Finland. Or the fact that there
might be an actual society somewhere on Earth, or a hypothetical one
maybe nonexistent, in which unimproved Condorcet would work well. If
that's what you meant, then I apologize for unfair objections.

But if you're talking about the U.S., then you're wrong.

>> So you, living a long way from here, know more about the psychology
>> and self-declared motivations of American voters than I do, right?
> This comment was a general comment (with no intention to talk about the situation in the U.S.).

Ok, then I misunderstood you, and I apologize for unfairly objecting
to your comments.
>>> (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.

You said:

> When I talk about "typical elections" that have some typical characteristics I aim at excluding e.g. elections where voters generally vote as told by their party, and the parties have some interest in making the voters vote in some non-typical way. I think the U.S. has some problems but it still probably falls in the category where voters have a tendency to make sensible and independent decisions.


...And that's exactly what I was talking about, isn't it. Regarding
voting psychology and motivation in the U.S., you say "I think...",
and the express a speculation. You've just shown that you _are_ making
claims about the U.S. Must I retract the apology that I've just made?

You can think whatever you want about how Americans would vote, but
your speculations are based on such "information" sources as CNN and
Fox tv. You don't live here. You haven't met and talked with many
American voters who discussed with you their voting motivations and

Speculate all you want to, but understand that it's poorly-informed speculation.

Do I try to tell you about how voters think in Finland?

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