[EM] Borda?????

robert bristow-johnson rbj at audioimagination.com
Sat Jan 4 20:44:23 PST 2014

On 1/4/14 2:50 PM, Dick Burkhart wrote:
> The fundamental problem with criteria based on “X over Y” preferences 
> (Condorcet, Mutual Majority, etc.) is that all such criteria ignore 
> the intensity of the preference (a ranking of 5 to1 counts the same as 
> 3 to 2, for example). This is why Borda-type methods are superior – 
> they don’t throw away critical information. Donald Saari explains the 
> mathematics of this well in “Decisions and Elections”.

didn't expect to see anyone plugging Borda here. Borda is a variant of 
Score voting. like Score, it requires too much information from voters, 
imposes more "meaning" to the ranking than the voters might intend to 
mean, and is totally fraught with strategy/tactic.

pretty much "ick".

first imagine a two-possible-outcome election with a binary choice. 
everyone (even the plurality guys) agree how that election should be 
decided. now it doesn't matter that you really, really, really, really, 
really like your candidate and i only marginally prefer mine. my vote 
counts just as much as yours. by ranking Candidate A higher than 
Candidate B only means that between A and B, i prefer A more. that's 
all. if i rank A>B>C, all that means is that i prefer A over B in a 
mano-a-mano race and likewise B over C and between A and C, all we know 
is that i would vote for A. and whether i nearly prefer A, B, and C 
equally (but if you force me to choose, i take A over B and C and B over 
C) or i hate C's guts, my vote for A or B over C still just counts as 
one vote. that is the fundamental failing of Borda or Score voting.

we're not judges at the Winter Olympics holding up score cards. we're 
partisans. and, depending on the circumstances, with Borda or Score, we 
may end up amplifying our choice insincerely to try to get our favorite 


r b-j                  rbj at audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

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