[EM] Is it professional?

Kristofer Munsterhjelm km_elmet at lavabit.com
Mon Jun 24 23:54:51 PDT 2013

On 06/25/2013 12:38 AM, David L Wetzell wrote:
> It's a good argument.
> 1. What if candidates/parties are inherently fuzzy and rankings are
> tenuous?  It can be done, I just don't put a lot of faith in them.
> A. If I'm wrong and IRV proves defunct then IRV can be used to upgrade IRV.
> B. If I'm right then the switch to an "upgrade" might make it harder to
> switch away from FPTP/Top2 Primary and the return won't be higher.
> 2. At issue is how much better wd BTR-IRV be.  Maybe voters will rank
> and there'll be GIGO.  Not for all of them, but for enough of them.  I'm
> not saying voters can't learn, I'm saying voters will need to learn and
> there still might be epistemic limits to their learning of how to vote.
>   It's not like buying groceries every week, something relatively stable
> and done a lot of times.
> 3. We get IRV quicker and the US system must hew to the true center
> sooner, with the cultural wars wedge issues that have been poisoning our
> democracy more effectively reframed by outsiders who may not be able to
> get elected but would be able to get their ideas into the public square
> with a system like IRV.
> We needed a system like IRV over forty years ago.  There'll be more
> scope for experimentation and voter-learning down the road, right now
> the gaming of the fptp system has accumulated so much dysfunction and
> resistance to reform that it's best to push forward with whatever will
> do the most good the soonest possible and that seems to be a modified
> form of IRV.

The amusing thing about the GIGO argument is that it is not IRV that 
does best when dealing with noisy votes. That honor goes to Condorcet 
(as shown by Brian Olson's simulations). Even Approval does better than 
IRV as noise increases.

And still, the three-scenarios argument holds. If there is some kind of 
weird IRV-specific GIGO so that IRV is really good, then BTR-IRV is no 
worse, fuzzy epistemic limits or no.

Finally, specificity can hit both ways. Perhaps the specificity works to 
degrade DLW's unproven IRV/Approval hybrid, and what we need is a robust 
noise-handling method like Condorcet. Perhaps, perhaps. Without any 
evidence, anybody can play that game and it will get us nowhere.

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