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Re: Per-item "quorum" and truncated ballots



On Sat, May 24, 2003 at 07:07:52AM -0400, Buddha Buck wrote:
> >Out of more than fourty thousand debian developers, less than one hundred
> >stated that they preferred red over the vote defaulting?
> >Yes, I'd say that this is the expected behavior.  
> So you are saying it is acceptable and desirable for there to be no way 
> to express truely equal preference for "Further Discussion" and some 
> other option?  

No, he's saying that in the case of barely anyone voting an option
strictly above the default option, that not making it the winner is
correct. There're obviously ways to express truly equal preference for
"further discussion" and some option.

> Our analysis of 1 and 3 have been based on the law of the exclused middle:
> for any ballot, either A>D or D>A.  We haven't considered the effects of 2.

See:

Date: Thu, 22 May 2003 03:33:38 +1000
Subject: Re: Constitutional amendment: Condorcet/Clone Proof SSD  vote tallying
Message-ID: <20030521173337.GA27355@azure.humbug.org.au>

> In particular, I think change #2 sets up the expectation with developers 
> that they can vote "I don't care which of these two options win", while 
> the other two changes do not treat a ballot equating an option and the 
> default as neutral with regard to that option and the default -- they 
> favor the default.

Again: you need to ensure a quorum of people support any proposal you
make, otherwise it won't succeed. Nothing more, nothing less. People
can express such support by ranking the option above the default option.

> I think change #1 is the most troubling for me, and I would not mind 
> seeing its removal.  It's designed to eliminate options that don't have 
> many supporters. But surely if there are enough ballots cast, an option 
> that doesn't have many supporters will be unlikely to win anyway. 

The question is whether enough ballots are cast.

> Why shouldn't the will of a small number of supporters win out over the 
> will of a smaller number of detractors when the majority opinion is "I 
> don't care"?

Because majority opinion of "I don't care" isn't distinguishable from
"this is such a stupid idea I can't be bothered wasting my time worrying
about it".

If you're worried, just make sure you convince people that whatever
option you're supporting is worthwhile. It's fairly trivial to get to
the point where the quorum clause just doesn't have any affect at all,
which is the whole point.

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.

  ``Dear Anthony Towns: [...] Congratulations -- 
        you are now certified as a Red Hat Certified Engineer!''

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