Evaluating Single-winner Systems From 2021-10-18 Until the Next Major Discovery
@Jack-Waugh are you referring to my system as shiny or are you talking to @rob, or both of us, or speaking generally? Not impassioned here, but I’m definitely happy with SP Voting on a theoretical level and also believe it could be implemented in a way that is almost as simple and straightforward as Score or STAR. It definitely outperforms Score, I am certain of that, I can try to organize some simulations to convince you but I’m not that tech savvy or idle. I can send you the code and elaborate on it or share it publicly, etc. If large factions of the electorate consistently split-bullet vote, then split-bullet voted candidates become run-of-the mill noise to the system, and room is made in the middle for people who want to express their preferences with more nuance to be heard.
The theoretical backing of the system is superior to Score. I am not just saying that because I developed it, although I did develop it with that specific purpose in mind—I’m saying that because it is based first and foremost on the concept of a candidate being consensually evaluated on a global scale, rather than on a candidate locally amassing score points with arbitrarily assigned numerical values that gamify what is supposed to be a workable substitution for large-scale social agreement.
In SP Voting, a voter doesn’t know the quantitative value his ballot will contribute to the candidate, because that depends explicitly on how everybody else votes as well. In fact, in SP Voting, individual voters have no ability to add explicit points to the candidate’s score. Only the whole collective electorate can do that. They can certainly choose to form coalitions, or be bribed or what have you, but those broader issues aside there is never really any conflict of interest that the voter faces in casting his ballot, other than the question of how they should express their preferences using the ordinal scores. They know only that scores get better going from left to right, and the question of, for example, “How should I rate my second choice?” becomes totally subjective, as it should be.
Like I said, together with a STAR framework, I think it would be an excellent system. I don’t really care about eliminating voter regret or whatever, I think people will obviously feel dissatisfied to an extent because that’s always going to happen with a successful compromise, but obviously reducing it all else equal is a plus. It’s better to evaporate and spread voter dissatisfaction thin than to let it conglomerate into angry mobs (especially two big Red and Blue ones) that can be easily manipulated by opportunistic parasiticians (am I saying that right?). The STAR framework seems to reduce voter regret and encourage honest preference indication on ballots, which I do believe to be indicative of compromise.
are you referring to my system as shiny or are you talking to @rob, or both of us, or speaking generally?
I am referring to every system that isn't Score Voting.
But when I proposed Score as a baseline for this kind of comparison, I was assuming the criterion all of us care about is how effective a proposed system is at resisting plutocratic control that happens via vote splitting -> inequality -> bandwagon chasing -> money chasing. Rob has said that maximizing the criterion of effectiveness against money control gives different results from maximizing some sort of qualities that will forestall a hot civil war. And he says he thinks the anti-civil-war criterion is more important than the anti-control-by-capital criterion, so it should be the central motivation in designing and choosing systems. I am waiting for him to explain what properties he expects to have this effect, and his grounds for thinking they do.
@Jack-Waugh that’s reasonable. I think both are important considerations, but while there is always going to be conflict I do think avoiding a bloody conflict would be ideal. I am of the opinion that tamping down on capital control is a much loftier and less realistic consideration than quelling political divisions. Even Marxists are selling books. Of course a Marxist would view that only as postponing the inevitable. But maybe postponement will give more time to let the passions diffuse in a steadier and more controlled way rather than as an explosion.
Any system that encourages compromise and empowers the electorate over the politicians would probably have beneficial effects in terms of reducing political tensions. Easier said than done, politicians will fight tooth and nail to hold on to any power they can keep. I think most of the tensions are fabricated intentionally via identity politics anyway.
@Jack-Waugh I also want to make one point about systems being “balanced.” If you are talking about a formal property like Frohnmeyer balance as a criterion by which to judge the democratic quality of a system, I explained in the previous forum how that quality can be artificially induced into a slightly modified version of literally any voting system whatsoever without significant alterations in the election results. So it’s actually a bit of a red herring argument against a system anyway. The only somewhat legitimate but hazy argument people seemed to have against my construction before was that it somehow went against the “spirit” of balance, whatever that means. To me it means the Frohnmeyer formalism is a failed one and perhaps a new one is necessary. Until then it’s a fuzzy concept that’s up to interpretation, and because of that I can’t take it as more than fluff used to support the biases in favor of systems that are already preferred for other reasons.
@cfrank, would you cite that, please?
@Jack-Waugh I will try, I’m on my phone and will try to link the past discussion here soon.
@Jack-Waugh a 100% correct guess lol. I stand by my reasoning there, I hope you find it sensible. Anyway, it’s sort of neither here nor there, just a small point of conversation. I personally think the very concept of Frohnmeyer balance casts voting systems into a combative rather than a cooperative framework. I honestly see no reason why ballots should be required as a prerequisite to conform to that artificial structure, it seems to me at worst almost like an ad hoc dogmatism invented to justify supporting Score over other systems, and at best an example of paradigmatic confirmation bias.
I'm pretty sure that where @rob writes as though your modification if applied to FPtP would produce "vote for and against" (F&A), it doesn't.
Anyway, your proposed transform can be made more extreme to illustrate your point even better.
Suppose a vote in the modified system consists of these parts:
- a vote in the original system (the vote I'm trying to cast),
- another vote in the original system (the vote I'm trying to counter),
- a polynomial of degree 8,
- the factors of another polynomial of degree 8
The tally looks for matching pairs where each one is trying to counter the other and each one factors the other's polynomial. The matching pairs are eliminated. The remaining votes are counted as just their first part, as in the original system.
Before seeing this kind of example, I wanted to say that a decent single-winner voting system would meet Frohnmayer balance (F-balance) and also would be as expressive as Approval. But you have shown that F-balance doesn't mean anything without that Abelian stuff you cited (I don't live and breathe group theory, so am not, off the top of my head, sure what laws are implied). What about that, @SaraWolk? All of equal.vote got shot down.
Anyway, I stand by my proposal that the first step of evaluating a single-winner system that isn't Score should be to give an example, starting with true voter sentiments and proceeding through strategy, where the system outperforms Score. I don't ask for a proof that the strategy used with Score is the best. It will suffice to use my strategy. Favorite (and clones) gets top score, lesser evil (and clones) gets almost the top score, and everybody else gets the bottom score. "Almost" means as close as the popularity of the favorite, as a proportion.
But again, this is conditioned on defeating the plutocracy as the top goal. If @rob explains what constraints and criteria would describe a system that should be judged as most suitable for defusing a hot civil war, everything could change.
@Jack-Waugh you’re right about For-and-Against, the modification I suggested is much less significant because it requires the pairs to match exactly, whereas For-and-Against counts all the positives and all the negatives. Just another example of how arbitrary the concept of “balance” in this formalism is. I liked your strengthening of the argument, you’re absolutely right about that as well, because it virtually eliminates any level of information voters might have about other ballots.
Maybe there is something more tangible that F-balance is trying to point to, but it isn’t clear what it might be. In my opinion, with respect to the concept of balance, the strengthened construction should by all reason send equal.vote back to the drawing board, especially if they can’t even formalize a valid counter-argument.