Re: Condorcet Voting and Supermajorities (Re: [CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT] Disambiguation of 4.1.5)
On Thu, Dec 07, 2000 at 06:31:41PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> In our past votes, we've variously had:
> Constituion: Yes/No/Further Discussion
> Election 1: [nominees] + None of the above
> Logo License: Single/Dual/Further Discussion
> New Logo: [submissions, including current logo] + Further Discussion
> Swap Logo: For/Against/Further Discussion
> Election 2: [nominees] + Further Discussion
> and in our current pending vote we've currently got two ways of
> modifying the constitution, and further discussion (with no "No"
> option at all).
> Note, for example, that after the new logo vote, even though further
> discussion didn't win, we were quite happy to continue discussing the
> matter and change the logo a bit (although it probably would've been
> easier to just include the swapped swirl in the "New Logo" vote).
Ok -- but note that we did not revisit the Single/Dual issue.
> So given that in the past we've not really had any benefit from the
> distinct options (and often haven't even bothered having distinct
> options), and that it doesn't make any actual difference in the
> result (if enough interested people want to keep discussing the
> matter and make a new proposal, they can; if no one's interested in
> discussing more, they don'thave) I really don't see any benefit in
> having separate options.
I think that "further discussion," in that case, would have implied
some kind of rehash of the Single/Dual vote -- presumably with some
additional option(s). I think that "Neither" would have meant that
we needed to pick some completely different logo -- that we shouldn't
bother looking at those two again.
Do you agree that these would have been distinct results. [Please
note that I agree that these results were not the outcome of that
vote. I am talking about hypothetical situations here.]
> For reference, the things I can think of that need
> * How to resolve the vote when you don't have a Condorcet winner
> (working assumption: find the Smith set and apply STV to it)
Ok. I'm worried about this one, too.
> * How to conduct a vote in a single ballot, as simply and fairly
> as possible
> (working assumption for votes where there are no independent
> options: allow voters to rank each option as well as either
> Status-Quo, or (Further Discussion and No))
Ok. I think we need to agree on what "option" should mean.
> * What to require for an option to meet quorum
> (working assumption: count the number of votes that mention
> the option, and compare against quorum)
Ok. I'll note that this conflicts with my interpretation of the
constitution [which talks about votes which prefer the winning option to
the default option]. I think the ambiguity here comes from the "ignore
references to that option" language which is used to determine the winner.
I understand that you want to continue ignoring references to the default
option even after the winner has been selected.
> * What to require of an option for it to meet a supermajority
We sure seem to be having a problem reaching any kind of agreement on
> * How to formulate a ballot / set of ballots to decide amongst
> related but independent options
More specifically, how to formulate a voting message for this case
which combines amendment votes with the final vote.
> * Whether to use a single Status-quo option or both Further
> discussion and No on each vote (or what).
This seems more of a "discuss" than a "disambiguate" issue.
> Let me start from the top, perhaps.
> There's no such "majority requirement", though, per se. This is why I
> avoided answering when you asked this before.
The constitution doesn't use the word "majority" except when it requires
other than a simple majority. However, it's clear that the concept of
majority (the greater number) is a way of contrasting the winning vote
to the nonwinning votes.
> Instead, preference for majority support is just handled by how you
> count votes. For example, if you have a vote:
> 30 ABC
> 35 BCA
> 40 CAB
> then none of these options meet its majority wrt *all* other options
> (75/105 people prefer C over A, 70/105 people prefer A over B, and 65/105
> people prefer B over C). But we choose a winner anyway by using STV
> (A disappears, and B wins with 65/105 votes).
I'll note here that STV is described in terms of ignoring references
to options on the ballot. Once these options have been ignored, the
winner is still described in the same sort of terms which describe a
I'll agree that it's possible to invent supermajority concepts which
are different than those described in the constitution.
> What you could end up with (using my scheme) is a vote that goes
> something like:
> 60 ABS
> 40 BSA
> where A requires 3:1 supermajority. You get:
> A dominates B 60 to 40
> B dominates S 100 to 0
> S dominates A 40 to 20 (reduced 3:1)
> which would be a circular tie. For the moment, I'm just declaring that S
> (the Status-quo) wins (by claiming S wins whenever it's in the Smith set),
> but it would also be possible (and probably reasonable) to make B win (by
> having dropped A for not meeting its supermajority right at the start).
Ok, I'll recognize this as your system.
> Now, if we go back to:
> > > > > > [...] And, I presume that a bias towards options
> > > > > > with supermajority requirements is something that you don't
> > > > > > really care about.
> then I'm afraid I still don't know what you're talking about. There's
> no way of voting that would have an option requiring a supermajority
> win, that wouldn't have had a non-supermajority option also win if the
> roles were switched.
I was talking about a different scheme which you had proposed. Since
we're starting clean, let's ignore this.
> > I'll agree that quorum biases against any change (when there aren't
> > enough voters). I'll also note, here, that quorum is different from
> > supermajority.
> Right. I'm using "bias" as a general term to analyse the effects of
> any extra requirements we might add beyond just saying `take the Smith
> set, apply STV'.
Ok. I'll take "a general term" as meaning "doesn't have any particular
negative connotation". Which means that the absence of bias isn't
a positive feature without some further rationale.
> > I'll only agree that supermajority biases against certain forms of
> > change (changing the constitution, for example).
> Well, yes, but I'd rather consider biasses in a pairwise manner. That
> is, that when considering any two options, A and B, you're biassed
> towards he one that doesn't require the supermajority.
I'll accept this description of the sort of bias introduced by
> What I'm trying to do is say that the best interpretation of
> "supermajority" is to only use it when comparing an option requiring a
> supermajority and an option that changes absolutely *nothing*.
I understand that this is what you're trying to say.
> > > It's irrelevant. I'm not trying to remove all bias from the vote,
> > > only ones that don't have a reasonable justification.
> > What do you consider "a reasonable justification"?
> Well, any justification would be a start.
Which we'll try to tackle next...
> > > _Why_ do you think it's proper or justified or reasonable to be
> > > biassed towards B over A? What's the motivation for doing this? Why is
> > > B better than A? Why is A more of a risk than B?
> > Let's say that we're still talking about a situation where B has no
> > supermajority requirement because it does not modify the constitution, and
> > A has a supermajority requirement because it modifies the constitution.
> > Supermajority is blind to the almost all of the semantics of a change --
> > all it cares about is whether or not the requirement is there -- whether
> > the constitution is being modified.
> Okay, so far you haven't distinguished between the various ways of handling
> a supermajority.
Right, this is rationale.
> > So, a vote in favor of A is a vote in favor of modifying the
> > constitution, while a vote in favor of B is a vote in favor of not
> > modifying the constitution.
> This, however, doesn't make any sense. Again, there is no such thing
> as a vote that is simply "for" or "against" modifying the constitution,
> unless the vote simply has "yes" and "no" options.
Ok, I'll restate that:
So, a vote which prefers A to B is a vote which prefers an option which
modifies the constitution to an option which does not. A vote which
prefers B to A is a vote which prefers not modifying the constitution
to an option which prefers modifying the constitution.
Do you disagree with this statement?
> It's possible for me to not be against modifying the constitution,
> but to think there's a better way of doing things. A vote that rates
> my preferences can capture this, easily, while still being able to
> express an explicit desire that changing the constitution would be a
> bad thing for someone else.
Near as I can see, what you're saying here describes exactly the
mechanism I'm talking about.
> So no, I don't accept the implication that a vote where X isn't your
> first preference should be considered a vote "against" X.
This sounds like you're try to get around the language of A.6(7).
In the end, there can be only one.
> > For some reason, you seem to want to argue that a vote which
> > prefers B (not modifying the constitution) to A (modifying the
> > constitution) should count in favor of modifying the constitution
> > unless "do nothing at all, not even B" is ranked higher than A. I
> > can understand *that* this is what you're arguing, but I've yet to
> > see any convincing argument that this is a good thing.
> Because it can represent the preferences of a voter who thinks "Well,
> changing the constitution (A, say) is a bit drastic, but we should
> move in this direction; so ideally I'd rather the compromise (B),
> but I don't mind if we go all out", because he could vote "BAS",
> and a voter who thinks (like you apparently might) "Changing the
> constitution is too drastic, we have a compromise, we have to use that
> instead" could express that by saying "BSA", and someone who'd rather
> go all out, but will accept the compromise if necessary can express
> *that* by voting "ABS".
And, what about the voter who thinks: "Well, I don't think that a
solution which modifies the constitution is the right solution, but this
is a real problem, and it's better than nothing."?
> Your system doesn't allow someone to express a weak preference for a
> compromise without having their vote count, essentially, for three.
Right, my system is based on the idea that we do not weight a voters
preference, except to order them from strongest to weakest. I don't
think it's useful to implement concepts like "I think B is better than A,
but I don't think that A is worse than B".
> > > Note that biassing everything over A isn't the only way of handling a
> > > supermajority (and isn't even a common or usual way --- you're welcome
> > > to cite one other instance of _anyone_ doing it this way, though),
> > > you can simply require a supermajority of people preferring A to the
> > > status-quo (by literally having a "Status-quo" option, or by using
> > > "No" or "Further Discussion" or both of them as a replacement).
> > This looks like what you're advocating, but I still don't see a
> > convincing reason to believe that "do nothing" is any less of a
> > change to the constitution than "option B" in the above example.
> Certainly it's not as much of a change to *the constitution*, but that
> doesn't mean it's any less a *change*.
Supermajority isn't aimed at preventing all change. It's aimed at
biasing against specific forms of change. I thought we'd already agreed
> Again, what is so vastly horrible about changing the constitution that
> *anything* should be done instead of it?
[Not *anything*, obviously -- anything which doesn't conflict with the
We need to make sure that we have a lot of consensus when we change
those things which fundamentally define the organization.
While it's important that we be able to do certain things easily
(like maintain packages), it's also important that we not do certain
other things very often (like require everyone to learn a new system
of red tape). Supermajority is a mechanism for saying, in my opinion:
don't change this if you've got another reasonable option.
> > > On that grounds, consider a vote that goes like:
> > > 200 A over B over F over N
> > > 70 B over A over F over N
> > > and having B win. Do you really think the 200 people are going to be
> > > happy to be overruled by a minority of 70, who *didn't even dislike*
> > > option A?
> > They disliked it enough to prefer option B.
> That doesn't mean they actually disliked it however.
Our voting system doesn't have a way of ranking B above A without also
ranking A below B.
> If they really did detest the option, they could have voted B over N
> over F over A, and there'd have been no question.
This seems to contradict your earlier statement about what you meant
Well, yes, but I'd rather consider biasses in a pairwise manner. That
is, that when considering any two options, A and B, you're biassed
towards he one that doesn't require the supermajority.
> > > > > > > (assuming there aren't any sensible combinations of two or
> > > > > > > more amendments).
> > > > > > An important assumption.
> If you would rather, "an assumption no more important than that there
> were three amendments to the proposal rather than four, ten or one".
No. This distinction, between "there are no sensible combinations of
amendments" vs. "there are sensible combinations of amendments," has a
more significant effect on the form of the ballot than the difference
between four and ten amendments.
> > > > > A simplifying assumption, not an important one. I could instead
> > > > > have just listed a single amendment and the original proposal and
> > > > > there'd have been no question.
> > > > Given your interpretation -- that a person could be against the
> > > > original proposal but for the amendment, I'd still have a serious
> > > > question.
> > That wasn't the form of the question. The question is how can you have
> > an amendment without having an original proposal to amend?
> Eh? Are you just saying it would've been clearer if I'd said:
> [ _ ] Original proposal
> [ _ ] Original proposal after having the first amendment applied
> [ _ ] Original proposal after having the second amendment applied
> [ _ ] Original proposal after having the third amendment applied
> [ _ ] Further discussion
That would have been clearer. Though I don't have a clue what
the following ballot would mean:
5th FYN Original
4th FNY Original + first amend
3rd FYN Original + second amend
2nd FNY Original + third amend
1st NFY Further discussion
What does it mean that a person thinks it more important to vote against
the original proposal with the first amendment than it is to vote for
the unamended proposal. [And, please don't try to claim that there's
anything in the constitution that mandates nested ballots.]
> > Also, A.3(2) only applies "When the final form of the resolution has
> > been determined". It doesn't make sense to apply A.3(2) when there
> > remain distinct possibilities for the final form of the resolution.
> A.3(3) then overrides this by discussing how the amendment ballot(s)
> and the final ballot can be combined into a single message.
Why do you say "override"?
The way I see it, A.3(2) talks about a single final ballot. The way
I see it, A.3(3) talks about two cases: voting simultaneously on a set
of amendments (which can take place as individual choices), and voting
simultaneously on a set of amendments as well as whether or not any of
those amendments are accepted.
A.3(1) and A.3(2) are sufficient to imply the sort of results which can
come out of a final ballot. A.3(3) uses this implied set of results
and simply constrains the final ballot such that the voter may "vote
differently in the final ballot for each of the possible forms of the
final draft resolution".
> > > The constitution never says that multiple ballots can be combined
> > > into a single ballot, merely that the ballots can be "held
> > > simultaneously, even using a single voting message".
> > I guess I see what you're saying here -- but I feel that your
> > conclusion is completely nonsensical, and therefore an incorrect
> > interpretation.
> Using a similar basis, I suppose you would declare "This sentence is
> false" to have a completely meaningful interpretation. ("Interpreting
> it to refer to *itself* is just completely nonsensical so therefore
> incorrect, so when it says "this" it actually refers to some other clause,
> namely this one over here").
This is really reaching, even as a hypothetical situation.
Even if it was in the constitution as a part of the specification for
Debian, that sentence doesn't seem to specify anything. And, I don't
know why anyone would have wanted a paradox in the constitution, except
to be silly.
> > > > Now, as I understand it, your feelings about this ballot are:
> > > >  It's unconstitutional,
> > > ...because it has no basis in the constitution.
> > I've yet to see you propose a more sensible interpretation for combining
> > amendment and final ballots. I'll stick with mine until then.
> So we can drop this digression?
I do not accept your implied assertion that A.3(3) represents a paradox
which therefore can't be implemented. I do accept that you'd like to
propose an interpretation for A.3(3) which introduces nested ballots,
[which the constitution does not specify].
> > The constitution is specifying the properties of that voting
> > message. You seem to want to use it as some kind of procedural
> > statement -- but in doing so you seem to be failing to be fulfilling
> > all the requirements.
> Well, the section is titled `A.3. Voting procedure' so it doesn't
> seem completely unreasonable to take it as "some kind of procedural
I think of the constitution as specification about procedures, and not
as algorithm. Anyways, I don't see the point in claiming that something
meets the requirements, which doesn't meet the requirements.
> > > Because the constitution specifically requires that ``it must be
> > > possible for a voter to vote differently in the final ballot for each
> > > of the possible forms of the final draft resolution'', even though
> > > only _one_ of the possible forms of the final draft resolution will
> > > actually win the initial vote.
> > The constitution doesn't say that you create a final ballot where
> > some of the individual options are themselves unresolved ballots.
> No, it doesn't it says you create a final *message* that includes many
It doesn't say exactly that. It does allow for that, for the case where
multiple amendments are being voted on simultanously.
There's an additional constraint for the case which includes a final
ballot and amendment ballots. The most reasonable way I can see
to satisfy this constraint reduces that voting message to a single
You're trying to claim that describing the properties of that voting
message is not sufficient -- that the constitution must spell out
something about merging ballots. You're claiming that, without this
kind of low level detail, that a ballot which has these properties is
unconstitutional. The basis of this claim seems to be: While A.3(3)
talks about combining ballots, it explicitly state that the result of
combining those ballots can be a single ballot.
It's my understanding that A.3(3) was trying to allow for the possibility
of independent ballots in the same message, as well as for a combined
ballot, which is why it simply describes the result of the combination
as a "message" and doesn't mention "ballot" or "ballots" in that context.
It seems to be your understanding that the constitution must spell out
a procedure in step by step detail before that procedure may be performed.
> It seems a reasonable interpretation to me that a single message can contain
> many distinct ballots, eg:
> From: email@example.com
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Ballot 1:
> [ _ ] Kick Raul in the Nutz
> [ _ ] Kick aj in the Nutz
> [ _ ] Kick both Raul and aj in the Nutz
> [ _ ] Don't kick anyone in the Nutz
> [ _ ] Further discussion
> Ballot 2: On the matter of requiring a bug to be fixed and closed by the
> poster for each post made to -vote:
> [ _ ] Yes
> [ _ ] No
> [ _ ] Further discussion
> (Now, how many smart-alecs do you reckon will second these?)
Oh, ME ME ME!! I SECOND THESE!!!!
> If the constitution had meant a single ballot should be constructed
> that suffices for the A.3(1) and the A.3(2) ballots both, it would
> have said so.
In explicit detail? Or maybe it's possible that simply by talking
about "combining" amendment ballots with the final ballot, and giving
an explicit constraint for that case, that an intelligent person could
figure out how to construct the ballot. [Note that the constitution
even specifies which people this would be.]
> It didn't.
It didn't give an example of this, correct. But it does give a
set of requirements which imply this.
> Instead it said they can be combined in a single message (in spite of
> the fact that the final form of the draft resolution couldn't possibly
> be known for the final vote in this case), and then discusses how to
> cope with the fact that the final form of the draft resolution *isn't*
> known by then.
That's because it's covering more cases than just "final + amendments".
> > > > > That is, they must first be able to rank the various options for
> > > > > how the final form of the resolution may look, and then, depending
> > > > > on the result of that vote, must be able to choose their ordering
> > > > > of Yes, No and Further Discussion on the final vote.
> > > > Nope.
> > > > The constitution says:
> > > > If amendment ballot(s) and the final ballot are combined
> > > > in this way then it must be possible for a voter to vote
> > > > differently in the final ballot for each of the possible
> > > > forms of the final draft resolution.
> > > > You're talking about creating a final ballot for rating each of a
> > > > set of possible *ballots*. You're supposed to be creating a ballot
> > > > for rating each of the possible *resolutions*.
> > > No. The form of the *ballots* are defined by A.3(1) and A.3(2). I am
> > > simply combining these ballots in a single message.
> > Actually, you're creating a new "ballot of ballots" in the process.
> Only if you equate "email containing a ballot" with "ballot". Which
> I can see a justification for by looking at dict, but I think the
> constitution is reasonably clear in distinguishing the two.
You've given an example ballot where the first option is itself a ballot.
How does my equating anything to anything alter this observable fact?
> > One which seems to have no constitutional basis whatsoever [where you
> > give preference to one amendment ballot preference over another and over
> > the original proposal].
> Again, you're giving a preference for the final form of the resolution
> (which, yes, dictates what you'll be voting on in the final ballot
> too), and then giving preferences to Yes, No and Further Discussion
> in the final ballot, depending on which form the resolution finally
Well, yes, I'm allowing the voter to vote differently on the final
ballot for each of the possible forms of the final draft resolution.
That in itself isn't unconstitutional that I can see.
This bit about "Yes, No and Further Discussion" looks like an attempt
to bring in as a literal requirement what the constitution says about
the case where a vote is being held where there's only one possible
form of the final draft resolution. The way I read the constitution:
there's no particular need to specify at that level of detail how such
ballots are formed.
> > And, I still don't see how, using your interpretation, the voter could
> > vote differently in the final ballot for each of the possible forms
> > of the final draft resolution.
> If further discussion fails, the only possible forms of the final
> resolution are the three/four listed, for which you could express
> different preferences quite explicitly.
> If you have a more general case, you're welcome to present it.
Original proposal: P
proposed amendment: A
proposed amendment: B
proposed amendment: C
I'll assume that the following represent plausible forms of the final
P, P+A, P+B, P+A+B, P+A+C, P+B+C, not P.
I'm assuming that we want to decide this relatively quickly, and that
we don't want to allow for the possibility of an additional minimum
discussion period before we pick one of these options.
What would your voting message look like?
> > > > > > > That's how I would interpret A.3(1..3) anyway.
> > > > > > But.. uh.. I don't see that you've pointed out anything in the
> > > > > > constitution that favors your interpretation above mine.
> > > > > Well, of course not.
> > > > *blink*
> > > > > I have no idea what you would consider a valid basis for
> > > > > interpretation of the constitution.
> > > > I guess I'd think that the english language would be a valid basis
> > > > for interpretation of the constitution.
> > > Whatever.
> > I notice that you elected to discard my criteria for judging a
> > valid interpretation.
> Should I compliment you on your powers of observation? You might as
> well have just said ``I claim the moral highground, and if you don't
> like it, I'll be a grammar/definitions pedant until you bleed''.
You were claiming that you couldn't discuss the issue properly because
you didn't know my criteria for interpreting the constitution. You were
implying that this was the case even after I presented those criteria.
To imply this, you deliberately failed to quote the bulk of those
That strikes me as unreasonable.
I'd really prefer that you discuss this in a reasonable fashion.
> > I know that A.3(1) doesn't say anything of that sort.
> Eh? It most certainly does refer to `combinations of amendments and
I was refering to the overall gist of your argument -- that A.3(1)
doesn't refer to the final ballot. Not to the immediately quoted text.
I apologize for stating my agreement with you in a confusing fashion.
> > > Your definition of `using English as a basis for interpretation'
> > and > mine are wildly different and probably irreconcilable. I'd
> > like to believe otherwise.
> I believe, first and foremost, that we should read the constitution
> in as if it were written to be straightforward. We shouldn't look for
> subtle shadings of the word "strict", say, or try rearranging the
> order of clauses to see what result that has.
I'll agree with straightforward, as long as you're not trying to claim
that straightforward implies paradoxial.
> You seem to believe, first and foremost, that the constitution makes
> sense, and if the straightforward reading doesn't support that then
> the straightforward reading is wrong.
That's a fair statement -- though I do recognize that this can lead to
ambiguities, and I do agree that where significant ambiguities exist,
we should try to fix the constitution to resolve those ambiguities.
I think that picking the interpretation that makes the most sense, is
probably the best way to fix an ambiguous section of the constitution.
[Of course, it makes sense to allow other options, and I recognize that
what makes the most sense to me doesn't necessarily make the most sense
to everyone else. But that's fine -- other people can propose what they
think makes the most sense.]
I think this conversation that we're having is valuable, as it lets me
see how someone else (who really thinks about the issues) interprets
the constitution. But I don't want to accept what you say just because
you say it -- I only want to agree where you say something that I find
I think that when we do get around to amending the constitution to fix
any perceived ambiguities, it would be best to try to hold the discussion
and vote(s) in a fashion which, as much as is reasonable, avoids those
> > > Can we just focus on talking about what would make a good and fair and
> > > efficient voting system for Debian?
> > Only if we can use English in a mutually understandable fashion.
> In a dialogue, subtle shadings can be questioned ("When you say this,
> do you mean to imply that...") and they can be cleared up. When you've
> got a set document to interpret, you can't do any such thing.
If it's reasonable to just avoid the ambiguities -- by all means,
arrange things so we con't have to deal with them. But that doesn't
mean we should make nonsensical choices.
And, if we're talking about fixing the ambiguities, it certainly
doesn't make sense to out and out ignore sensible interpretations of
And, if there's only one sensible interpretation for an ambiguity, well..
then it's not very ambiguous, is it?
> > I have reason to believe that Darren would be available, if needed.
> > I have reason to believe that he's waiting for the discussion to draw
> > to a close, and for (if nothing else) Manoj+Branden to indicate what
> > form they want the ballot to take.
> I hope he's not waiting for _this_ discussion to close? Discussion
> actually relevant to Manoj/Branden's proposals seems to have died
> about a month ago.
I think this discussion is relevant. One of the major things we're
talking about is, essentially: what form(s) ballot are reasonable for
Manoj/Branden to propose.
You've essentially been claiming that what they propose to do is
I don't think that Darren has been waiting on this discussion to resolve
-- I think that he's been waiting on Manoj and Branden. It does seem
reasonable, however, to assume that Manoj and Branden are waiting on
this discussion -- if only to see whether there's a better way.
> More accurately, it just feels like I'm banging my head against a
> I actually tried that in response to this message, but the wall flexed
> alarmingly, so I decided to stop.
I think you're trying to say that my reasoning is specious?
The way I see it, you've got some interesting ideas, but you have
seriously misunderstood the constitution (at least A.3(3)).
> > I do worry that someone will need to propose a disambiguating
> > amendment to the constitution to resolve the ambiguities we're
> > discussing here, but I'm not ready to do that yet. I want to make
> > sure I understand your issues before I'd personally be willing to
> > tackle such a thing.
> Sure, neither am I. We'll probably have to get to independent
> options, but I think we'd be better off if we finished supermajority
> requirements first.
Well, I hope that I've stated myself clearly enough in this message.
> > > It would help if you'd not argue from a basis of "that's what
> > > supermajority means so that's how supermajority works" for a few
> > > messages, perhaps.
> > Was my treatment in this message adequate?
> It was closer, but you fell back to talking about votes "for" and
> "against" an option, which we don't have. We only have preferences.
I hope my rephrasing fixes this problem.
> And you seem overly attached to discarding all preferences but the
> first one.
Well, certainly when I'm talking about constitutional issues.
And, even when I'm not, my primary interest is "what, about this
alternative, is better than the constitution."