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Re: current A.6 draft

On Fri, Nov 29, 2002 at 12:22:32AM -0500, Andrew Pimlott wrote:
> What you did propose doesn't seem to do what you want.  It says that
> a defeat by the default option can't be weaker than another defeat.
> It can still be stronger.

I wanted to say that a defeat by the default option can't be weaker
than another defeat.

> Did you mean to say that a defeat by the default
> option can't be stronger than another defeat?

No, I did not mean to say that it can't be stronger.  I meant to
say that it must be stronger.

> Or that it's always weaker?

I definitely didn't mean to say that it is always weaker.  I meant
to say that it's never weaker.

> Maybe you can give an example of how you expect this exception to
> work.

Here's the first example from
with the intermediate steps spelled out:

A has a 2:1 supermajority requirement, B has no special majority
requirement, D is the default option, votes are

A defeats B by 4:1
B defeats D by 4:1
D defeats A by 4:3

Because D is the default option 4:3 cannot be an instance of the weakest
defeat, so the weakest defeat is 4:1.  Eliminating the weakest defeat

D defeats A by 4:3

Which means that A is not in the Schwartz set, but B and D are.  So this
is a tie between B and D, and the person with the casting vote chooses
whether to settle for B or whether it's worth discussing this more and
holding another election.

> It sounds like you're getting at something close to aj's
> proposal, in which any option defeated by the default option has no
> chance.  If that's not what you mean to do, can you clarify the
> difference?

That's exactly what I mean.  The difference between this draft and aj's
earlier draft is that this characteristic of the default option doesn't
cause us to lose information where an otherwise significant option is
defeated by the default option.

> (Was your idea discussed before and I missed it?)

I talked about this idea before, but I guess nobody has said "Ah ha,
now I understand it."

I think I'll include a sentence like: "Defeats by the default option
are never weak defeats."

> > >     - Not handling general (non int-1) supermajority ratios would be
> > >       silly.  As long as it will be understood that the n in n:1
> > >       need not be a whole number, there's no problem.  But it might
> > >       be better to mention this possibility explicitly.
> > 
> > Uh... can you express what the ambiguity is?  [I've only got a few
> > moments here for a reply, I'll try figuring this one out tomorrow.]
> There is no ambiguity, strictly speaking.  But when people read
> "n:1", they will think "n is an integer", because n conventionally
> stands for an integer, and because ratios are usually expressed in
> terms of integers.  So if Debian ever decides that some election
> needs a 3:2 supermajority, some stickler might say that the voting
> system didn't forsee this and must be amended.
> If you don't think this is a big deal, that's fine.  But maybe you
> could state for the record that n need not be an integer, should the
> question ever arise.

I'll see if I can think of a way of saying this that doesn't also lead
to questions about why n is always an integer in the constitution when
I'm saying that it doesn't have to be an integer.

> One other thing:  It's confusing to have the Schwartz set contain
> both options and defeats.  Just say something like, "drop the
> weakest of the defeats involving members of the Schwartz set".

I'll try that -- it's a bit more verbose but it sounds like a good idea.


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