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Re: Better quorum change proposal, with justification



On Sat, May 24, 2003 at 07:27:53PM -0400, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> 19x A=DB
> 19x ABD
> 1x BA=D
>
> [...] and B wins (20 to 19).  

> Now, with such a low vote, it may seem reasonable for the default option 
> to win.  But it's certainly not reasonable for B to win.

Why not, exactly? A clear majority of 20:19 preferred having it win than
having to rerun the vote.

> This is a serious defect in A.6 part 2.

Obviously, opinions vary.

> This should eliminate the truly perverse result given above, because B 
> would *also* be dropped and D would win.  This gives a slight bias 
> towards the default option (which seems to be desired).  

Not really. It's wrong to think of the default option as "just another
option", that's got funny biasses. Ending up with the default option
winning is bad, because it means we haven't resolved the issue that we
set out to resolve and, worse, that we're probably in a position where
running a vote again isn't going to do any good: without some other
change in circumstances, we'll get the same options, and people will
vote in the same way.

> This isn't really a quorum rule (but then, neither is the one in Manoj's 
> proposal) -- it's a margin-of-victory rule.  That seems to be what 
> people actually want. :-)

No, what we actually want is some way to ensure that decisions don't
rely on vast amounts of apathy.

>      2. If the ballot has a quorum requirement R any options other
>         than the default option which do not receive at least R votes
>         explicitly ranking that option are dropped from consideration.

How is that different to having an explicit default option?

Suppose you have a vote under that line of thought, that looks like:

	.-- option A
	|.-- option B
	||.-- option C
	|||.-- option D
	||||.-- option E
	VVVVV
	123--

This is equivalent to a vote:

	.-- option A
	|.-- option B
	||.-- option C
	|||.-- option D
	||||.-- option E
	|||||.-- default option
	VVVVVV
	123--4

and the rule:

     2. If the ballot has a quorum requirement R any options other
        than the default option which do not receive at least R votes
        explicitly ranking that option above the default option are 
	dropped from consideration.

Now, let's further imagine that R other votes rank both D and E
(resp. above the default option), and at a majority rank D and E above A, B
and C. Further, let's suppose that D and E are very, very close, and in
fact equal numbers of voters rank D higher than E, and E higher than D.

Surely you'd agree that in this case, our hypothetical voter would
benefit from being able to express his true preference for D above
E? That's why we have an explicity default option.

> This is closer to how quorum normally works (the people who "showed 
> up" count), and yes, it means that showing up can cause you to lose.
> This is why the Democrats in the Texas Legislature staged a walkout to 
> prevent quorum.

That's a problem when quorum is well over half the voting population. It's
not in Debian's case -- it's quite possible for each option to make quorum
separately, for example:

	60 votes 1---2
	60 votes -1--2
	60 votes --1-2
	60 votes ---12

every option meets the current quorum of 40-something with far less
than 1000 developers voting, even though each vote helps make quorum
for only one option. (The vote then fails, since a majority find each
option unacceptable)

> I don't think this is what you're looking for.

What, you think you're some kind of Jedi, waving your hand around
like that?

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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