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

```On Fri, Dec 08, 2000 at 01:04:42PM -0500, Raul Miller wrote:
> On Fri, Dec 08, 2000 at 04:52:38PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > > Explain to me, again, why the first preference is no more important
> > > than the other preferences?
> > You're mixing and matching what you apply the word "preference" to. The
> > option ranked first is more important than the others because the voter
> > has expressed that it's preferred to all the others. That is the following
> > preferences are expressed:
> > 	B > A
> > 	B > S
> > The option ranked second, however only gets:
> > 	A > S
> > But "A > S" counts just as much as "B > S" or "B > A". "A" however,
> > doesn't count as much as "B", because, well, "B > A".
> I don't see that you can say "count as much" without assuming a counting
> methodology.  If you're going to use this argument as an argument for
> that methodology you're introducing a circular argument.
> The way I see it, first preference is more important to the voter than
> the other preferences because, well, the voter rated it as the first
> preference.

Again, you're mixing terms. What are you trying to say? That by being
ranked first, "B" should be treated as more important than "A"? Then, sure,
I agree, and I just explained how Condorcet schemes deal with that.

If you're trying to say that the preference "B is better than A" is much
more important than the preference "A is better than S", then I think you're
making things up as you go, and that they're not very good things either.

There are schemes that'll work that way. You could invert a Borda counting
method, for example, and get something that works that way. Condorcet,
however doesn't. The constitution doesn't, either.

> The way I see it, the second (etc.) preferences are only to be used when
> there's an ambiguity in the cumulative impact of the first preferences.

In which case you'd be wrong.

> > > > Please rate your preferences for the final form of the draft resolution:
> > > >       [ _ ] P
> > > >       [ _ ] P+A
> > > >       [ _ ] P+B
> > > >       [ _ ] P+A+B
> > > >       [ _ ] P+A+C
> > > >       [ _ ] P+B+C
> > > >       [ _ ] Further Discussion
> > > >
> > > > Should P be the final form of the draft resolution, please rate your
> > > > preferences for its acceptance:
> > > >       [ _ ] Yes
> > > >       [ _ ] No
> > > >       [ _ ] Further Discussion
> > > >
> > > > Should P+A be the fin...
> > > > (etc)
> > > This looks like one amendment ballot and six other ballots, one which
> > > would be a final ballot, and five which would be neither amendment
> > > ballots nor final ballots.
> > Not exactly. It's one amendment ballot and the final ballot repeated six
> > times, one for each different form the final form of the draft resolution
> > can take so that each voter can "vote differently in the final ballot
> > for each of the possible forms of the final draft resolution".
> Eh?  You're saying this is a single final ballot?
> That's not one ballot, it's six.

It is the same ballot, repeated six times. Is that really difficult to
understand?

I'm also failing to see anything particularly unfair or worrying about it.

It's *exactly* equivalent to having N+1 separate ballots (spaced out
in time), except that it's quicker (and doesn't give people time to
change their minds between votes). Every outcome that's possible is
the same, each of the ballots listed is in a form exactly specified
in the constitution.  There's no ambiguities that have to be carefully
worked around.

> > > Also.. the constitution does specify that the user be able to vote
> > > differently >>in the final ballot<< for each of the forms of final draft
> > > resolution.  You're only allowing the user to vote on one form of the
> > > final draft resolution in the final ballot.
> >
> > *Oh*, is that how you're reading this?
> >
> > You seem to be saying that should be read as:
> >
> > 	``In the final ballot, each voter must be able to vote for each of
> > 	  the possible forms of the final draft resolution.''
> >
> > whereas I'm saying it should be read as, ummm:
> >
> > 	``If the amendment and final ballots are combined, then there are
> > 	  multiple forms of the final resolution that are possible. For
> > 	  each of these, each voter must be able to express a *different*
> > 	  preference for the options in the final vote (the Y/N/F one),
> > 	  even though it won't be clear which of these preferences will
> > 	  be used when the voter votes.''
> >
> > Can you see how I'm breaking that clause up to read it that way?
> To some degree.  Can you see that my interpretation is a whole lot
> simpler?

Not really. To make your interpretation work you have to:

* invent which options get included on the final ballot (since
while to constitution explicitly describes what options are
mean to be on every other ballot its possible to case, it
somehow leaves this one out)

* treat the words "Yes" "No" and "Further Discussion" as variables
rather than explicitly stated options present on the ballot

* treat the different language "ballot" and "single voting message"
as though they were synonymous, even though the constitution
specifically uses different words for them

> > You seem to be joing the ``to vote'' with the ``for each'' to make
> > it ``to vote for'', while I'm treating ``vote differently'' to stand
> > alone, and the ``for each'' to mean they get to ``vote'' many times,
> > each of which may well be ``different'', and what you're voting for or
> > against is only mentioned in the previous clause.
> Um.. ok, you can describe the way I'm reading "to vote for each" as "'to'
> 'vote for' 'each'".  [Or, as "'to vote' 'for each'".]
>
> However, although my interpretation allows "to vote for each" to be taken
> as "to vote differently for each", I still don't really understand...

The vote take or the voters may arrange for these ballots to be
held simultaneously, even using a single [ballot].

If amendment ballot(s) and the final ballot are combined in this
way THEN
it must be possible for a voter TO VOTE FOR
each of the possible final forms of the final draft
resolution
IN the final ballot.

That is "each of the final forms" is what you're "voting for".

My interpretation:
The vote take or the voters may arrange for these ballots to be
held simultaneously, even using a single voting message (although
that ballots are still separate).

If amendment ballot(s) and the final ballot are combined in this
way THEN
FOR EACH of the possible final forms of the final draft
resolution
it must be possible for a voter TO VOTE DIFFERENTLY
IN the final ballot.

Honestly, I think that's a more straightforward reading of the
constitution (you'll note I only had to rearrange the last clause to
get it into a vague pseuo-codish nature, rather than having to take
a clause out of the middle of a split infinitive (?) or so), and it
involves minimal creativity on the vote taker's part, both of which I
consider good things.

Further, you ocassionally assert that the constitution is (or should be)
stating properties of how the vote should be handled, not an algorithm. I
think this is completely mistaken: the constitution should be (and is)
describing exactly how decisions are made, so that there's absolutely
no room for doubt, or (accusations of) personal bias, to slip in and
muddy the waters.

> Well, let me just ask you this:  Do you still think that my interpretation
> of this clause is incorrect.

I'm not sure; I *think* it's valid solely from a parsing point of view;
but I don't think it's as straightforward, and I don't think it's at
all desirable to then have to invent or generalise other procedures to
handle this interpretation.

Cheers,
aj

--
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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