[EM] Proposal introduction and amendment

Bayle Shanks bshanks.list at gmail.com
Tue Jan 24 12:15:07 PST 2017

Hi folks, what do you think of the following procedure for introducing,
amending, and voting upon proposals? (also, are you aware of any other
place that ideas on parliamentary procedure may be submitted for feedback
and peer review?)

Here's the procedure. There are three phases. In the first phase,
alternative Proposals are introduced and debated and amended. A proposal
must have 1/3 support to be introduced, and a vote of 2/3s is required to
amend. In the second phase, each person votes either +0, +1, or +2 on each
proposal, and one proposal is selected. In the third phase, each person
votes Yes or No on that proposal.

In more detail:

In order to introduce a new Proposal, a minority of at least 1/3 of the
votes must be in support of the introduction of the Proposal (this can be
measured by voting, or by the new Proposal coming with an attached list of
initial supporters, or, in a small enough group, by calling for a second
for the proposal (that assumes that the threshold is changed to be lower
than 1/3)).

The proposal is debated (there may be rules for speaking in debate, but
this is out of scope here). During debate, alternatives Proposals may be
introduced. Any alternative must also be supported by 1/3 of the votes. Any
Proposal may be killed or amended by a vote of >=2/3s. The original
Proposal is just another alternative (and may be killed). If all Proposals
are killed, the procedure terminates and no action is taken by the assembly.

After debate is finished, there is a vote between Proposals (using a
variant of Score Voting). Each voter may give a score of either +0, +1, or
+2 to each of the Proposals. The scores for each Proposal are summed, and
the Proposal with the most votes is the provisional winner. In the event of
a tie, the vote is repeated two more times between the tieing Proposals,
and if there is still a tie, no Proposal wins and the matter is put aside
until some future time.

Finally there is a Yes/No vote on the provisional winner. In the event of a
tie, No wins.

some comments:

* the restriction of the ballots to +0, +1, +2 is not essential; it is
essential, however, that some spoiler-free voting method (such as Score
Voting) is used at the end

* amending a proposal is conceptually identical to introducing a new
replacement proposal and then killing the old one, so it is not an accident
that the 1/3 to introduce and the 2/3s to kill sum to 1; however these
numbers could be changed

* using this method, a minority faction with 1/3 or more support could
annoy everyone else by introducing an arbitrarily large number of
proposals. Perhaps some limits on how many proposals may be introduced (or
how quickly they can be introduced) would be a good idea, i'm not sure; but
on the other hand the above procedure is spoiler-free, which is nice. My
guess is that even without any additional limits there, this procedure is
workable in most contexts.

* if the rules of debate allow a call for a vote to amend or kill any
proposal at any time, that could be a lot of voting during debate -- some
limits may be a good idea there. My guess is that even without any
additional limits there, aside from whatever limits on speaking time are
usually in effect, this procedure is workable in most contexts. (thanks to
my friend T.D. for noticing both this issue, and the one in the previous
bullet point)

* can you think of other issues that strategic voters could cause in a
group using this procedure?

* my procedure should be compared to what i call the 'traditional procedure
for proposal introduction and amendment', which is as follows: a Proposal
is initially introduced. During debate, this Proposal may be amended by a
simple majority vote. After debate is finished, there is a Yes/No vote on
the final Proposal, as amended. The primary difference between my procedure
and the traditional procedure is that in the traditional procedure, at most
two proposals are under discussion at any given time, whereas in my
procedure all of the proposals are debated together and then voted on at
the end.

* due to the restriction of score ballots to +0, +1, +2, in an in-person
meeting the entire procedure could be carried out without writing anything
down; the final voting could be accomplished by asking everyone to raise
either 0, 1, or 2 hands for each Proposal, and then by asking for a final
Yes/No vote (with each person raising 1 hand or none).

* if the assembly is using written voting and doesn't want to spend the
time to have both a Score Voting round and then also a final Yes/No vote,
they could have "None of The Above" as an automatic/required
psuedo-proposal in the Score Voting round, and then have an instant runoff
beween the provisonal winner and None of the Above; the number of ballots
strictly preferring the provisional winner to None of the Above are counted
as instant runoff votes in favor of the provisonal winner, and then number
of ballots strictly preferring None of the Above to the provisional winner
are counted as instant runoff votes in favor of None of The Above, and
these instant runoff voting sums are compared and the greater one wins. If
None of the Above is the winner, or if the final vote is tied, then no
action is taken (this is like No winning); otherwise the winning Proposal
is considered to have been voted for and passed (this is like Yes winning).
This avoids an additional round of voting but the results may not be as
good as with a real final Yes/No vote.

* are you aware of similar procedures that i should learn about?

* what is your opinion on my procedure?

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