[EM] Amateur peer-reviewed "journal" for voting methods, criteria, and compliances?

Richard Fobes ElectionMethods at VoteFair.org
Sat Sep 29 13:17:44 PDT 2012

On the surface I like Jameson's idea of creating a peer-reviewed 
election-methods publication.  I certainly understand his frustration 
with Wikipedia, and a peer-reviewed election-methods publication is one 
way to deal with the problem that Wikipedia has been -- in my opinion -- 
taken over by editors to the exclusion of subject-matter experts.

Ironically part of the problem may be that the Wikimedia Foundation 
(which runs Wikipedia) uses the Condorcet-Schultze method to elect not 
just the most popular candidate, but to also elect what they mistakenly 
believe to be the "second-most popular" candidate, and successively-most 
popular candidates.  In other words, they fail to understand that using 
a single-winner method to get multiple-winner results is wildly unfair. 
  Of course they need something like VoteFair representation ranking or 

Getting back to Jameson's idea, I presume it is motivated by the fact 
that claims about Majority Judgment do not yet have adequate coverage in 
academic journals to meet Wikipedia's verifiability requirements.

Yet I also like the idea of working with Adrian at Democracy Chronicles 
to provide an online resource about various voting methods.  Fortunately 
this is easy to do.

So, I suggest that we submit articles to Adrian for publication in the 
Democracy Chronicles in which we describe, one at a time, specific 
voting methods.  So far only approval voting has been described there. 
A new article is about to come out that describes, in an innovative way, 
pairwise counting.  That still leaves lots of methods unexplained, 
including Majority Judgment.

My belief is that if we focus on educating more people about voting 
methods, and especially the fact that they exist, then it will become 
difficult for Wikipedia editors to win conflicts against subject-matter 

Also, as Adrian suggests, someone should write a short article that 
introduces the Wikipedia comparison table, which I call the 
"battleground among election-method experts."  In addition we can write 
articles about specific voting-method criteria.  I believe that so far 
only Michael's favorite criteria (FB?) has been covered.

Personally I would enjoy reading an article that explains Majority 
Judgment to a general audience.  I find that it is relatively 
challenging to understand without pictures, so I suggest that pictures 
or diagrams be included.  This ties in with Adrian's desire to move 
Democracy Chronicles beyond just text.

In other words, I suggest that instead of creating an entirely new 
publication or wiki or whatever, we can write articles that Adrian will 
be happy to publish at Democracy Chronicles.  And we can take Adrian up 
on his offer to collect them in a special section of the website.  This 
collection would provide an accessible alternative to Wikipedia voting 

To increase traffic to those articles, we can add "reference" links to 
the related Wikipedia articles.  And Adrian now knows about the need to 
name links according to words entered into a search engine (rather than 
using the link name "here"), and that will increase their visibility in 
search engines.

To put this approach in context, there was a recent newspaper article 
about a well-known person (I forget who) who was not allowed to edit a 
Wikipedia statement about the source of inspiration for something he 
himself came up with (I forget the details).  Out of frustration he 
submitted an article to a newspaper, which published an article about 
the controversy, along with the correct information.  At that point the 
Wikipedia statement was changed -- because the claim became citable 
using an in-line citation to that publication.  I think we may be able 
to use Democracy Chronicles articles in a similar way.

For perspective, at the end of an in-person presentation by Wikipedia's 
designer ("jorm") I talked to him and explained my frustration about 
Wikipedia editors wanting verifiability in situations such as software 
and TV shows where the actions of the software itself and the recording 
of the TV show itself, and a software's documentation, should be proof 
of verifiability, but he did not seem to think this was an issue.  I 
also mentioned the unfair voting approach used to elect Wikimedia 
officials, but of course all he could do was nod his head about the 
general concept.  Later online I participated in Wikipedia discussions 
about verifiability requirements, with a focus on articles about the 
American Idol TV show where a recording of the show should be considered 
adequate verifiability, but the high-level Wikipedia editors in that 
discussion failed to understand, and insisted that in-line citations 
were needed.

So, in summary, I suggest that we do not depend on Wikipedia as the 
only, or best, way to educate people about voting methods.  And I 
suggest that we do not waste time trying to create a new entity mostly 
for the purpose of working around the problem of Wikipedia editors 
crowding out subject-matter experts.

I agree that Democracy Chronicles is not as well known as Wikipedia, yet 
I believe it better targets the people who care about unfair election 

And after someone has written an article about the 
difficult-to-understand topic of multiple-winner vote-counting methods, 
then we could even write an article that calls attention to the unfair 
voting approach that the Wikimedia Foundation uses, which allows a 
majority of editors to outvote even a large minority of subject-matter 

Richard Fobes

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