[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Constitutional voting, definition of cummulative prefererence

On Tue, Dec 05, 2000 at 05:43:43PM -0600, Norman Petry wrote:
> One point though -- I recommend that you avoid reference to numerical
> rankings in the constitutional wording. So long as ballots are
> submitted by e-mail, it may make sense for voters to number the
> options. In the future, however, you might use a web interface or
> some other technique for ordering candidates in which the options
> don't even have visible numbers, but are ordered graphically, with
> preferred options at the top, and disliked options at the bottom. If
> Debian is saddled with restrictive language that requires preferences
> to be numbered, the constitution might need to be changed again to
> accommodate the different method(s) of expressing a ranking (or
> nitpickers might challenge results, etc.). I think it would be better
> to just use general terms like 'ranked higher' and 'ranked lower', and
> leave the specifics to an ordinary voters' guide, rather than embed
> these details in the constitution.

Hmm.. the constitution already states that votes are cast by email.
[Which makes a lot of sense, when you think about the technologies
involved -- email queues, web doesn't, and signing of email is a well
established technology.]  And, personally, I'm not comfortable with
"ranked higher" as a circumlocation.  But it's an interesting point
you raise.

> > A set of ballots cumulatively prefers option A to option B if:
> >
> > * more individual ballots individually prefer option A to option B than
> > prefer option B to option A, or
> > * There is an option C, where A is cumulatively preferred to option C,
> > and option C is cumulatively preferred to option B.
> >
> I am not exactly sure why you are defining 'cumulatively preferred' to
> indicate transitive majority preference between options, so I can't say for
> certain whether or not this is a good idea, because I don't know what you
> intend to use it for.

I'm aiming for a "minimal change" fix for the apparent ambiguity of the
current constitution.   I'm thinking about proposing an amendment to the
constitution where "Dominates" is defined as strict cumulative preference
(A is cumulatively prefered to B and B is not cumulatively prefered to A).

> 2) The term 'cumulative' implies an additive rather than transitive
> relationship, so it would probably be better to say 'transitively
> preferred' rather than cumulatively preferred.

Well.. a lattice (the ordering relationship used for numbers) is a
transitive relationship.

More to the point, I was wanting to contrast cumulative preference
with individual preference -- cumulative preference is the effect of
considering many votes as a whole, rather than of considering a vote
in isolation.

> Another reason to avoid the term 'cumulative' is that it is frequently
> used in connection with an inferior multi-winner voting method called
> 'cumulative voting', in which each voter gets an equal parcel of
> votes (usually 3 or so), and allocates these as they desire among the
> candidates (3 on one candidate, 1 each on 3 candidates, etc.)

Er.. I hope that clearly specifying the voting process will help avoid
this kind of misunderstanding.

> 3) It is not necessary to define 'cumulatively preferred' unless it is
> used as part of a voting method definition, and I'd need to see the
> whole method in order to judge the merits of your system.

As I indicated above, I'm considering the implications of explicitly
specifying that an option "Dominates" another only where the first
option is transitively preferred to the second, but the second is not
transitively preferred to the first.

[I'm aware that there are many alternate voting methods.  But, I think
we need to at least consider options based on the "don't fix what
ain't broke" approach.  If we completely rewrite large sections of the
constitution we may create future problems which we won't notice for a
year or two.]



Reply to: