[EM] (6) MJ -- The easiest method to 'tolerate'

steve bosworth stevebosworth at hotmail.com
Wed Sep 21 22:47:33 PDT 2016

Re: [EM] (6) MJ -- The easiest method to 'tolerate'


From: Kevin Venzke <stepjak at yahoo.fr>
Sent: Tuesday, September 13, 2016 4:37 AM
To: steve bosworth; election-methods at lists.electorama.com
Subject: Re: [EM] (5) MJ -- The easiest method to 'tolerate'

> ________________________________
> De : steve bosworth <stevebosworth at hotmail.com>
> À : "stepjak at yahoo.fr" <stepjak at yahoo.fr>; "election-methods at lists.electorama.com" <election-methods at lists.electorama.com>
> Envoyé le : Dimanche 11 septembre 2016 18h44
> Objet : Re: [EM] (5) MJ -- The easiest method to 'tolerate'
Hi Kevin and everyone,

S:  It now seems that the main question between us is whether MJ is, or is not, better than your preferred method at providing each citizen with the two voting incentives we both seem to desire:  1) to express their evaluations of all the candidates honestly (sincerely) on the ballot, and 2) to vote in a way that maximize the chances of their preferred candidate winning?

Again, I see MJ as maximally encouraging each voter to evaluate (‘grade’) all the candidates sincerely while, at the same, allowing each citizen to vote strategically (manipulatively) when they see this as the most likely way to assist their most preferred candidate to win or their most opposed candidate to lose.

You seem to see MJ as more likely than the method you prefer to lead less savvy voters effectively to support candidates they would not like if they knew more about how to vote strategically.  If this is so, please explain your reasons.   To explain this, perhaps it would be most helpful to me if you would compare the different strategies you would adopt when using both an MJ ballot and the ballot of the method you most prefer with regard to the following presidential election: 15 candidates, 5 of whom you would honestly value above Poor (e.g. 1 Excellent, 2 Very Good, 1 Good, and 1 Acceptable.  Perhaps your strategies would change depending on the different degrees of knowledge you might have about how all the other citizens are likely to vote.  When using MJ, would your strategy be other than simply to grade each candidate honestly?  If not, what would it be and why?  In the same conditions, what would your strategies be while using your preferred method instead?  What extra ‘mileage’ do see your method providing?  Which method is more ‘discerning’ with regard to the values held both by voters and candidates?  Which method is more likely to elect the candidate who is most fit for the office? What are the different ‘incentives’ offered by the 2 methods?

If you would do this, it would help me be clearer about the reasoning behind your position.

As you explained in your last post, perhaps your preferred method is MAM, as enhanced by the addition of Cardinal-Weighted-Pairweis (CWP, as proposed by James Armytage-Green in 2004).  I can see that CWP could help make the counting of the different intensities of preferences by MAM more exact.  Unfortunately, the addition of CWP might make MAM even more complicated for most voters to understand.


>> S: [….] 1. Do you agree that the ‘object of … an election is to select … some candidate who shall, in the opinion of a majority of the electors, be most fit for the post….(B&L, Majority Judgment, p.209)? [….]

> K: I would answer close to "yes" but I probably would not word it exactly as page 209 does.

> S:  Please try to put it in your own words.

> S:  Do you agree that, other things being equal, grades are more ‘discerning’ (i.e. informative with regard to the voter’s values) than ranking?

K: If other things were equal then sure. Grades also imply rankings, so they could not be worse than rankings, in my view.

> S: I see that MAM has ‘more mileage’ than Approval (as you say), but in what way does it have more than MJ?  For example, if an MAM voter ranks A>B>C, this does not allow her to express, e.g. whether this means A is Excellent, B is Very Good (or Good, or Acceptable, or Poor), and C is Good (or Acceptable, or Poor, or Rejected), or A is Acceptable, B is Poor, and C is Rejected, etc.

K: […] Regarding expressiveness: The MAM voter with A>B>C is not expressing absolute evaluations, but it's more likely it is strategically wise for him to vote that way. If he cares about that, then MAM is *in effect* more expressive, if the alternative would be that he can evaluate independently but it is strategically unwise to use the full range.

S: Please explain exactly why you think that ‘MAM is *in effect* more expressive’.  Also, how does MAM allow a savvy voter to be ‘more strategically wise’?

> […]

> K: [….]The method should maximize the odds of finding the best winner by reducing the difference between a sincere and strategic vote. In principle I think we might actually agree on that.
> S:  Yes we seem to agree on this but do you see any method that more efficiently finds ‘the best winner by reducing the difference between a sincere and a strategic vote’ than does MJ?  You seem to believe that MJ does not ‘make it in the voter's strategic interest to express … honest … opinions’.  Please exaplain.

K: [….]  It all starts with the difficulty of using middle grades as a strategic voter under MJ. I believe this uncertainty will push strategic voters to use mostly the extreme grades. I think this is clearer when you expect that elections will continue to have frontrunners, and it will seem unsafe to assign them middle grades.  [….]

S:  Again, your reasoning behind this key claim is one of the elements I hope to understand as a result of your next post.
> K: Whether some people use many of the grades isn't the question here, is it? The question is whether the strategic voter is wrong to think he should exaggerate his grades.

> S:  He is ‘wrong’ if and when by doing so he is not minimizing the chances that one of the candidates he honestly evaluates as Rejected will win. For example, he might do this by grading his 1st choice candidate as Excellent but also Rejects all the other candidates he honestly values as either Excellent, Very Good, Good, or Acceptable.

K: That situation is possible.

S:  Are you accepting that this strategy would not minimize the chances that his most Rejected candidate will win?
> [….]



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