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Re: Condorcet Voting and Supermajorities (Re: [CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT] Disambiguation of 4.1.5)

On Sat, Dec 02, 2000 at 01:07:26AM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > > "Status-quo" means don't resolve *anything*. There are at most two
> > > ways of doing that: by doing nothing, and not even discussing the
> > > matter again, and by doing nothing constructive, but continuing to
> > > flame each other. I personally don't think that's a distinction
> > > that'll be successfully determined by a vote, though.

On Sat, Dec 02, 2000 at 03:17:05AM -0500, Raul Miller wrote:
> > I disagree.
> > Status-quo in the context of supermajority means don't do anything that
> > requires supermajority.  That can still leave a lot of options.

On Sun, Dec 03, 2000 at 05:02:29PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> Well, you're welcome to disagree, but be aware that your definition
> doesn't match the way the current system (the N+1 votes) works, and
> doesn't match the way most systems work (which only provide "No, don't
> resolve this" as a `status-quo' option).

You're implicitly claiming here that:

[1] The default option (further discussion) isn't a status quo

[2] A.3(3) votes will not contain *any* status quo options.

I should also elaborate, before we drift too far: My understanding
of supermajority is that you always scale the number of votes for a
supermajority option.  If you compare one option with supermajority to
another option with supermajority, you scale the votes for both of them
(and thus there's no particular effect).  [I suppose, in principle, 
you could have options with different supermajority factors, but I've
been ignoring that up to now.]

Status quo options are, thus, options without supermajority.

> Biassing the results towards options that don't require a supermajority
> doesn't seem a particularly useful thing to do to me [0].

Supermajority means that more than a majority of voters must be in favor
of the option before it can pass.  A 3:1 supermajority means you have
to exceed 3 voters in favor for every one voter against, before the option
will pass.

If that's not biasing towards options which don't require a supermajority
(which only need to exceed 1 voter in favor for every one voter against),
I'd like to know what is?

[And, if you want to claim that this isn't what the constitution claims,
please supplement that claim with a relevant quote from the constitution
and an explanation of your reasoning.]

> [0] I say "biassing" since if you take a vote where you have two options:
> 	* Modify social contract (M) (requires 3:1 supermajority)
> 	* Do nothing (N)

For there to be only two options you'd have to have a vote without a

>     and M has unanimous support over N, and then add a third option:
> 	* Evade constitution (E)

If M really has unanimous support, you wouldn't add a new option --
no one would want a new option.  Adding a new option only happens:

[*]	before the vote is taken, and
[*]	when someone prefers some other option, and
[*]	suggests it, and
[*]	other people agree that this is a good idea (sponsor it).

>     (which would resolve that, say, "No new .debs will be added to
>     non-free, and wherever possible .debs already there will be removed"),
>     which is preferred over N by everyone, but preferred over M by just
>     over a quarter of the voters, it'd win.

That's my understanding of how the constitutional voting system is
supposed to work, presuming that you'd manage to come up with a vote
with those kind of numbers and options, yes.

I'll note that there are other ways the ballot could have been
constructed, as far as introducing a gradual phase out.  For example,
the people proposing E could have proposed "amend the constitution AND
phase out gradually".  If they proposed "phase out gradually and do not
amend the constitution", then presumably they really are having second
thoughts about amending the constitution, and don't want it amended.

The voting system (and debian itself) isn't going to work if people
pretend to want things they don't want.

>     This isn't what would happen in the current system (E would be
>     dismissed when deciding on the form of the resolution), and isn't,
>     IMO, a reasonable outcome at all.

That's my understanding of what Darren was proposing to implement,
on vote 8, yes.

And, I'll assert that both are reasonable interpretations of the
constitution.  I think that my current understanding is closer to
the intent of the constitution, but I don't think there's anything
earth-shatteringly wrong with either approach.

I do agree that it would be a good idea to modify the constitution so
that it unambiguously specifies which approach is correct.


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