[Koha] Koha license upgrade voting method

Clay Shentrup clay at electology.org
Fri Feb 25 10:05:59 NZDT 2011


Before I even begin to respond specifically to your comments, I would ask
you to read a couple of links that are specific to this. You seem to be
exhibiting a lot of the concerns of "exploitation of sincere voters" with
Score Voting. We believe this is a huge logical fallacy. Here's why.

http://scorevoting.net/RVstrat6.html (see the part about "No Math Skills")

Here's a succinct thought experiment to illustrate the fallacy I'm talking
about. Say we have these "expected utility values" for a random strategic or
honest voter, using both Score Voting and some hypothetical "strategy-proof"
system, as follows:

Sincere StrategyProof voter: 6
Strategic StrategyProof voter: 6 (since sincere and tactical behavior here
are identical)
Sincere Score voter: 8
Strategic Score voter: 12

The fallacy would be to criticize Score Voting based on the notion that the
sincere voter is harmed relative to the strategic voter. It's a fallacy
because it's comparing two different voters under the *same* system, instead
of the *same* voter under two *different* systems. Obviously the sincere
voter is better off with Score Voting in this scenario, even though the
strategic voter is even better off still.

Another fallacy, which I discuss again below, is the "fallacy of added
choice". For instance, say you get to use Score Voting instead of Plurality
Voting. You claim to have a "dilemma", that you can't decide whether to vote
sincerely or strategically with Score Voting. But that is a fallacy. You are
clearly better off than you were under Plurality. If you think it is too
mentally taxing to ponder whether to vote sincerely or strategically, the
worst case scenario is that you can just vote in what is effectively
Plurality Style, by just giving a perfect 10 score to a single candidate,
and leaving all other candidates with zero points. Then you are absolutely
no worse off than you were before. You have not been harmed. Nothing has
been taken away from you.

In fact, you could look at it in an even more extreme way. With Score
Voting, your expected utility will be so much greater, that you could
abstain from voting *entirely*, and you'd *still* be statistically more
happy with election results. The infinitesimal effect that your ballot has
on an election *pales* in comparison to the aggregate effect that the voting
method has on the election.

Now to respond inline, somewhat redundantly to what I just said...

On Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 2:01 AM, Thomas Dukleth <kohalist at agogme.com> wrote:

> even prior to reading much about score voting I
> had independently and intuitively taken much of the same conclusions
> about strategy.

Well then you did better than I did. I made some pretty silly assumptions
until Warren Smith corrected me. Mainly because I was approaching it from
the point of view of a hypothetical voter in a hypothetical election,
instead of as a real voter in a real particular election.

Optimal score voting strategy may be intuitive to many people but does
> introduce a complexity to voting for which people are unaccustomed and
> raises the dilemma between honest voting and strategic voting.

I don't think people are unaccustomed to rating things. Check out Yelp

As for strategic vs. honest voting, the same is true of *every* deterministic
voting method.

And I think it's pretty clearly a fallacy to see this as a problem or a
"dilemma". The current system effectively lets you give a "10" to just one
candidate, and 0's to all the others. Our system would let you use
intermediate scores, and not have to give every other candidate a 0. There's
absolutely no dilemma. If you feel that it would be detrimental to you to
have to consider which option to pick, you can just skip that consideration
entirely and give only one candidate a 10, just as if you are pretending to
be using Plurality Voting.

I'm tempted to create a term for this, like "The Fallacy of Added Choice" or
something like that, although I'm sure it already exists in the field of

Difficulties of voting strategy are the most significant weakness of score
> voting (range voting) and need to be understood by the electorate and even
> better constrained by limitations to avoid mimicing the problems of voting
> methods which often fail to maximise voter preferences.

This seems massively refuted by mathematical analysis. The basic strategy
with Score Voting is to give a 10 to the candidate you would have voted for
with Plurality Voting, plus everyone you like better. The hard part of that
is deciding who you would support with Plurality Voting, which you obviously
already have to do anyway. Once you've voted for that candidate, it's
trivial to give a 10 to all candidates you like better.

And while this might not seem immediately obvious, it would clearly flow
naturally from existing voter behavior. Right now, a Nader supporter who is
strategic may vote for Gore. Under Score Voting, that decision would play
out essentially the same. He would start by saying, "Okay, I'm going to give
Gore a 10, and leave Bush with a zero." Then he would say, "oh wow, I can
still go ahead and give Nader a 10 as well -- neat!" And that's that. No
appreciable added complexity. No falling sky.

I respectfully think you're trying to address a non-existent "problem".

Revoting to consensus may be helpful for some problems of voting strategy
> with score voting.

Well, if you don't have information, you can use the "zero info" strategy,
where you just give a 10 to every candidate you like better than the average
of all candidates. I believe that may actually be *better* than voting with
information about the relative candidate strengths.

But in any case, the "revoting" already happens naturally in real life,
because of pre-election polls, primaries, etc. And even if you did NOTHING
to improve the honestly reported information, it seems that Score Voting
would still be a lot better than every other remotely feasible system.

Most people may
> think that voting should be simpler and that voting should not need an
> understanding of voting strategy.

You do not "need" an understand of voting strategy with Score Voting. You
could just vote sincerely, and you'd still get a much better average
satisfaction than you did with Plurality Voting, using all the strategy in
the world.

In fact, you could just stop voting entirely, and you'd *still* be better
off as a non-voter in a Score Voting society, because all the other voters
would be using Score Voting.


*Clay Shentrup*
*Secretary, Director*
*The Center for Election Science*
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