[EM] approval cutoff ballot possibilities

Ted Stern dodecatheon at gmail.com
Thu Jul 25 10:35:55 PDT 2019

Some more thoughts on approval cutoff ballots, for use in Smith//Approval,
Condorcet-full//Condoret-approved//Approval, Approval Sorted Margins, or
other methods.

When setting up an explicit cutoff, the hardest part is making it apparent
and natural.

With the Condorcet variants above, it is not as crucial that the number of
available ranks be even, or even that the number of approved ranks should
equal the number of disapproved ranks.

Therefore, I think that a positive/negative scale has benefit.  So, for

3 approved, 4 disapproved ranks:    Highest approved = 3,  Most disapproved
= -3,  cutoff = 0 (and is therefore disapproved instead of neutral as some
might suppose).   Has some advantages if ranks/rates are given names as in
Majority Judgment.

4 approved, 5 disapproved ranks (or ratings):  Highest approved = 4, Most
disapproved = -4, cutoff = 0
[I think this might be the most practical as one can store the rates as
zero through 8 internally, by adding 4 to the voted values].  Four approved
ranks are analogous to A, B, C, D grading.

5 approved, 6 disapproved ranks / ratings:  Highest approved = 5, most
disapproved = -5, cutoff = 0.  Analogous to 0 to 10 star rating.
Disadvantage in that recalibrated rating can't be stored in single digit

In all of these scenarios, it is clear to the voter that a positive vote is
approval, while a zero or negative vote implies disapproval.

My preference for the default vote for blanks should be the most negative
score, but I believe that the three explicit approval methods I named above
should do reasonably well even if the default is zero.

On Mon, Jul 8, 2019 at 9:28 AM Ted Stern <dodecatheon at gmail.com> wrote:

> I notice there are several explicit approval cutoff methods being
> discussed on the list.
> Kevin Venzke has suggested a number of rank-flattening proposals, with
> Chris Benham proposing a simplified version of one of them:
> Condorcet-using-full-preferences // Condorcet-using-approved-preferences //
> Approval.  The latter can be used to handle Forest Simmon's 3 approval
> cutoff examples.  I like this method due to its relative simplicity and
> self consistency.  I propose calling this it Instant Round Robin Rank
> Flattened Fallback, or IR3F2.
> Whichever approval cutoff method one uses, there is some latitude in how
> one could implement an explicit approval cutoff.
> I've been thinking about 6, 7 or 10 slot methods, with an explicit
> Disapproval Level added as a candidate (any candidate rated at DL or below
> is disapproved).  If the default rate is lowest rate, then it makes sense
> for DL to be an extra "candidate", with the same default.  Then approval is
> any rate above that given to DL.  Using this form, a voter who doesn't
> exercise their option to reset the Disapproval Level is basically using
> implicit approval cutoff at rate 0.
> Having an extra DL candidate also enables the opportunity for a voter to
> disapprove every candidate by voting DL at top rate, which I could see
> people doing as some form of None-of-the-above protest.  I dimly recall
> something of this sort being discussed a few years back.
> When I am able to chat about this with my 18yo son as a captive audience
> (e.g. last night while building IKEA furniture together), he seems to like
> ranks 1 through 10, and can follow the rank flattening logic just fine, but
> thinks that it would be a challenge for
>  most voters to understand the Condorcet method itself, let alone the rank
> flattening.  Granted, this is a sample size of one :-).
> One issue with doing pairwise comparisons with flattening is the
> requirement to store 2 different arrays.  Is there any way to use the extra
> DL candidate's pairwise scores to infer the amount that needs to be
> modified in the normal full-preference pairwise array?  If not, what if
> there were a minimum-approval candidate instead?
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