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

On Thu, Dec 07, 2000 at 09:42:57PM +0000, Matthew Woodcraft wrote:
> Note that the two elections aren't strictly relevant - they're conducted
> under 'Concorde Vote Counting', but not under the Standard Resolution
> Procedure (5.2.7).

Ahh, so they are.

> Consider that there might be an existing 'party' which wishes to make an
> amendment to the constitution, and that it has a majority of voters
> on-side, but does not have the requisite supermajority. It would not
> normally be able to do so.
> Now imagine that some problem arises, which would be solved by the
> consitutional amendment in question, and can also be solved in another
> way. Everyone agrees that the problem should be solved, and that either
> solution is better than the status quo.

Then, suddenly, they've gotten their supermajority. Presumably the only
reason there weren't enough supporters for the plan in the first place
was because they didn't see a need for it; thus now that they do see a
need, they support it.

> Now, if a member of the first 'party' proposes their constitutional
> change as a solution to the problem, and one of their opponents proposes
> an amendment to solve it the other way, if everyone votes honestly the
> constitution will be changed.

Under my system, or under the N+1 system, at any rate.

> It's not clear to me that this is a good result; it seems that the
> existence of a single problem which would be fixed by a constitutional
> amendment can be leveraged to change the constitution without requiring
> a supermajority.

I doubt that.

In that example, if that constitutional change *wasn't* necessary to
resolve it (ie, there's a sensible, productive, non-constitutional way
of resolving it), I'd expect the majority of voters to vote for that
way as their first preference.

OTOH, if the non-constitutional change was just a work around and a
kludge (for example, blocking future uploads to non-free, and changing
the requirements for a bug against a non-free package to be considered
"release-critical", in the hopes that non-free will disappear without
violating the letter of the social contract, say), I'd expect developers
to vote for the cleaner solution.

Furthermore, if the constitutional amendment isn't a minimal change that
suffices to fix the identified problems and has a significant bloc of
opposition, then I'd expect a new constitutional amendment to be proposed
that _is_ a minimal change, that people can vote for instead.

> (Well, more likely if everyone knows what's going on then the voters who
> do not wish the constitution to be changed will dishonestly put status
> quo ahead of the constitutional change, and the result will be a problem
> which doesn't get fixed - also a Bad Thing.)

Well, if they really would rather pervert the vote so that nothing's
resolved than vote for the change to the constitution there's nothing
insincere about them ranking further discussion/status quo above the
constitutional amendment: that's what they're trying to achieve, after
all. In which case they're not really perverting the vote, either.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

     ``Thanks to all avid pokers out there''
                       -- linux.conf.au, 17-20 January 2001

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