[EM] High Resolution Inferred Approval version of ASM

John john.r.moser at gmail.com
Fri Jun 21 16:48:52 PDT 2019

Also it's well-understood ratings are of poor quality in online reviews.
There is a lot of research into how people overemphasize bad experiences as
low ratings, and give inflated good ratings.  A lot of products have more 5
and 1 star ratings than 3 star ratings.

That's not the same thing as comparatively scaling things, which is even
harder.  There's a reason we have a lot of top 10 lists and a lot of
rankings for things.

On Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 7:45 PM John <john.r.moser at gmail.com> wrote:

> The error comes when you make inferences.
> The great purported benefit of score systems is that more voters can rank
> A over B, yet due to the scores score can elect B:
> A:1.0 B:0.9 C:0.1
> C:1.0 A:0.5 B:0.4
> B:1.0 A:0.2 C:0.1
> A=1.7, B=2.3, C=2.2
> Both B and C defeat A, despite A defeating both ranked.
> If the first voter scores B as 0.7, C wins.
> Whenever a system attempts to use score or its low-resolution Approval
> variant, it is relying on this information.
> So why does this matter?
> The voters are 100% certain and precise that these are their votes:
> A>B>C
> C>A>B
> B>A>C
> We know A defeats B, A defeats C, and B defeats C.  A is the Condorcet
> winner.
> For score votes, 1.0 is always 1.0.  It's the first rank, the measure.
> This is of course another source of information distortion in cardinal
> systems: how is the information meaningful as a comparison between two
> voters?
> How do you know 10 voters voting A first at 1.0 aren't half as invested in
> A as 6 voters voting B 1.0, this really A=5 B=6?
> Ten of us prefer strawberry to peanut butter.
> Score systems claim to represent this and capture this information, but
> they can't.
> (Notice I used the negative: that 1.0 vote is an expression of the damage
> of their 0.0-scored alternative.)
> Even setting that aside, however, you have a problem where an individual
> might put down 0.7 or 0.9 or 0.5 for the SAME candidate in the SAME
> election, solely based on how bad they are at creating a cardinal
> comparison.  Humans are universally bad at cardinal comparison.
> So now you can actually elect A, B, or C based on how well-rested people
> are, how hungry they are, or anything else that impacts their mood and thus
> the sharpness or softness by which they critically compare candidates.
> It's a sort of random number generator.
> Wrapping it in a better system and using that information to make
> auxiliary decisions is still incorporating bad data.  Bad data is worse
> than no data.
> On Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 7:27 PM Felix Sargent <felix.sargent at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> I don't know how you can think that blurrier data would end up with a
>> more precise result.
>> No matter how you cut it, if you rank ABCD then it translates into a
>> score of
>> A: 1.0
>> B: .75
>> C: 0.5
>> D: 0.25
>> There's no way of describing differences between candidates beyond a
>> straight line between first place and last place.
>> Even if the voter is imprecise in the difference between A and B they
>> will never make the error of rating B more than A, whereas the error
>> between a voter's actual preferences and the preferences that are recorded
>> with an ordinal ballot has the liability of being massive. Consider I like
>> A and B but HATE C. ABC does not tell you that.
>> That's not even going into what happens when a voter ranks an ordinal
>> ballot strategically, placing "guaranteed losers" to 2nd and 3rd places in
>> order to improve the chances of their first choice candidate (in IRV at
>> least).
>> Your analysis depends on the question of how intelligent you believe the
>> average voter to be.
>> If voters can use Amazon and Yelp star ratings, they can do score voting.
>> Felix Sargent <https://felixsargent.com>
>> On Fri, Jun 21, 2019 at 2:14 PM John <john.r.moser at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Cardinal voting collects higher-resolution data, but not necessarily
>>> precise data.
>>> Let's say you score candidates:
>>> A: 1.0
>>> B: 0.5
>>> C: 0.25
>>> D: 0.1
>>> In reality, B is 90% as favored as A. C is 70% as favored as B.  The
>>> real numbers would be:
>>> A: 1.0
>>> B: 0.9
>>> C: 0.63
>>> D: etc.
>>> How would this happen?
>>> Cardinal: I approve of A 90% as much as B.
>>> Natural and honest: I prefer A to win, and I am not just as happy with B
>>> winning, or close to it.  I feel maybe half as good about that?  B is
>>> between C and D and I don't like C, but I like D less.
>>> Strategic: even voting 0.5 for B means possibly helping B beat A, but
>>> what if C wins...
>>> The strategic nightmare is inherent to score and approval systems.  When
>>> approvals aren't used to elect but only for data, people are not naturally
>>> inclined to analyze a score representing their actual approval.
>>> Why?
>>> Because people decide by simulation. Simulation of ordinal preference is
>>> easy: I like A over B.  Even then, sometimes you can't seem to decide who
>>> is better.
>>> Working out precisely how much I approve of A versus B is harder.  It
>>> takes a lot of effort and the basic simulation approach responds heavily to
>>> how good you feel about A losing to B, not about how much B satisfies you
>>> on a scale of 0 to A.
>>> Score and approval voting source a high-error, low-confidence sample.
>>> It's like recording climate data by licking your finger and holding it in
>>> the wind each day, then writing down what you think is the temperature.
>>> Someone will say, "it's more data than warmer/colder trends!" While
>>> ignoring that you are not Mercury in a graduated cylinder.
>>> On Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 3:10 PM Felix Sargent <felix.sargent at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>> Valuation can be ordinal, in that you can know that 3 is more than 2.
>>>> There are two questions before us: Which voting method collects more
>>>> data? Which tabulation method picks the best winner from that data?
>>>> Which voting method collects more data?
>>>> Cardinal voting collects higher resolution data than ordinal voting.
>>>> Consider this thought experiment. If I give you a rating of A:5 B:2 C:1 D:3
>>>> E:5 F:2 you should create an ordered list from that -- AEDFBC. If I gave
>>>> you AEDFBC you couldn't convert that back into its cardinal data.
>>>> Which tabulation picks a better winner from the data?
>>>> Both Score and Approval voting pick the person with the highest votes.
>>>> Summing ordinal data, on the other hand, is very complicated, as to
>>>> avoid loops. Methods like Condorcet or IRV have been proposed to eliminate
>>>> those but ultimately they're hacks for dealing with incomplete information.
>>>> Felix Sargent <https://felixsargent.com>
>>>> On Fri, Jun 21, 2019 at 5:23 AM John <john.r.moser at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> Voters can't readily provide meaningful information as score voting.
>>>>> It's highly-strategic and the comparison of cardinal values is not natural.
>>>>> All valuation is ordinal.  Prices are based from cost; but what people
>>>>> WILL pay, given no option to pay less, is based on ordinal comparison.
>>>>> Is X worth 2 Y?
>>>>> For the $1,000 iPhone I could have a OnePlus 6t and a Chromebook. The
>>>>> 6t...I can get a cheaper smartphone, but I prefer the 6t to that phone plus
>>>>> whatever else I buy.
>>>>> I have a higher paying job, so each dollar is worth fewer hours, so
>>>>> the ordinal value of a dollar to me is lower.  $600 of my dollars is
>>>>> fewer hours than $600 minimum wage dollars.  I have access to my
>>>>> most-preferred purchases and can buy way down into my less-preferred
>>>>> purchases.
>>>>> Information about this is difficult to pin down by voter.  Prices in
>>>>> the stock market set by a constant, public auction among millions of buyers
>>>>> and sellers.  A single buyer can hardly price one stock against another,
>>>>> and prices against what they think their gains will be relative to current
>>>>> price.
>>>>> When pricing candidates, you'll see a lot like Mohs hardness: 2 is
>>>>> 200, 3 is 500, 4 is 1,500; but we label things that are 250 or 450 as 2.5,
>>>>> likewise between 500 and 1,500 is 3.5.  Being between X and Y is always
>>>>> immediately HALFWAY between X and Y, most intuitively.
>>>>> The rated system sucks even before you factor in strategic concerns
>>>>> (which only matter if actually using a score-driven method).
>>>>> Approval is just low-resolution (1 bit) score voting.
>>>>> On Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 12:01 AM C.Benham <cbenham at adam.com.au> wrote:
>>>>>> Forest,
>>>>>> With paper and pencil ballots and the voters only writing in their
>>>>>> numerical scores it probably isn't very practical for the Australian
>>>>>> Electoral Commission
>>>>>> hand vote-counters.
>>>>>> But if it isn't compulsory to mark each candidate and the default
>>>>>> score is zero, I'm sure the voters could quickly adapt.
>>>>>> In the US I gather that there is at least one reform proposal to use
>>>>>> these type of ballots. One of these, "Score Voting" aka "Range Voting",
>>>>>> proposes to just use Average Ratings with I gather the default score
>>>>>> being "no opinion"  rather than zero and some tweak to prevent an unknown
>>>>>> candidate from winning.
>>>>>> So it struck me that if we can collect such a large amount of
>>>>>> detailed information from the voters then we could do a lot more with it,
>>>>>> and if we
>>>>>> want something that meets the Condorcet criterion this is my
>>>>>> suggestion.
>>>>>> Chris Benham
>>>>>> https://rangevoting.org/
>>>>>> *How score voting works:*
>>>>>>    1. Each vote <https://rangevoting.org/MeaningOfVote.html> consists
>>>>>>    of a numerical score within some range (say 0 to 99
>>>>>>    <https://rangevoting.org/Why99.html>) for each candidate. Simpler
>>>>>>    is 0 to 9 ("single digit score voting").
>>>>>> On 21/06/2019 5:33 am, Forest Simmons wrote:
>>>>>> Chris, I like it especially the part about naive voters voting
>>>>>> sincerely being at no appreciable disadvantage while resisting burial and
>>>>>> complying with  the CD criterion.
>>>>>> From your experience in Australia where full rankings are required
>>>>>> (as I understand it) what do you think about the practicality of rating on
>>>>>> a scale of zero to 99, as compared with ranking a long list of candidates?
>>>>>> Is it a big obstacle?
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