Rob Richie sets up a "false flag" anti-rangevoting site "rangevoting.com" !!

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Warren Smith

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Jul 31, 2011, 1:10:19 PM7/31/11
to electionscience
Fascinating.

Let's examine his claims.
1. Richie: "Once aware of how approval voting works, strategic voters
will always earn a significant advantage over less informed voters."
Actually: the advantage seems in computer simulations to be very small
from being
one of the voters who realizes that misordering can be strategic in
range & approval voting, versus voters who do not know that.
http://rangevoting.org/RVstrat2.html
see bottom line.

2. Richie: "Among other methods that should not be used in
meaningfully contested elections are range voting, score voting, the
Borda Count and Bucklin voting. They all share approval voting’s
practical flaw of not allowing voters to support a second choice
without potentially causing the defeat of their first choice...
The only voting methods that should be weighed seriously for
governmental elections are methods that do not violate this
“later-no-harm” criterion...
Approval voting is not a viable method of voting because it is highly
vulnerable to strategic voting in contested elections. It violates the
“later-no-harm” criterion, meaning that indication of support for a
lesser choice can help defeat a voter’s most preferred candidate. It
is a system that only will work when voters don’t understand the
system or have no stake in the outcome."
A more accurate picture:
2a. In Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) a voter who foolishly indicates
support for a 2nd
choice (as opposed to simply voting in "name-one-only" style) can cause the
election result to worsen, from her point of view.
Steven J. Brams pointed this out in his short paper
"The AMS Nomination Procedure is Vulnerable to Truncation of Preferences,"
Notices of the American Mathematical Society; Vol. 29, Number 2, (Feb.
1982) 136-138. The American Mathematical Society (AMS), which had
employed IRV as its voting system, had (inspired by Rob Richie?) this
quote in its "instructions to voters": "There is a no tactical
advantage to be gained by marking few candidates."
Brams proved that was false by giving a counterexample election, which you can
see here (note point #2):
http://www.rangevoting.org/rangeVirv.html#BramsEx
The AMS responded by first deleting the false sentence, then switching
their voting system from IRV to approval voting.

2b. Also, in IRV, a voter who votes honestly, can cause the election
result to worsen, from her point of view, versus if she had not voted
at all. This happened, e.g, in Burlington 2009, see
http://rangevoting.org/Burlington.html point #5
and Ireland 1990, see
http://rangevoting.org/Ireland1990.html

2c. Richie says Approval voting "won't work when voters don't
understand the system." While we must admire the brilliance of this
attack (is there any voting system that would work if voters do not
understand it?) this horrible fate seems more likely to be suffered
with IRV than with approval voting. That is because approval voting
is probably the simplest voting system, arguably simpler than
plurality voting, and because experimental evidence indicates voters
make lower ballot error ("spoilage") rates with approval than with any
other common voting system proposal, see
http://rangevoting.org/SPRatesSumm.html
and note that Approval spoilage rates are typically 0.04% to 0.81%,
while Instant Runoff spoilage rates in Australia, the world's most
experienced IRV country, are 4-9%, i.e. between a factor of 5 and 225
times higher than for Approval.
Also, after Richie's group FairVote caused North Carolina to adopt IRV in
some elections, including in the town of Cary -- what happened? The result of
Cary NC’s 2008 bi-annual citizen survey indicate 58.6% of voters said
they were on the “understand IRV” side (above 5) of the scale and
30.6% on the “not understand” side. This includes 22.0% who indicated
they do not understand at all.

After Richie's group FairVote played a major role in getting San
Francisco to adopt IRV, The Public Research Institute at San Francisco
State University wrote
"An Assessment of Ranked-Choice Voting in the San Francisco 2004 Election"
http://pri.sfsu.edu/reports/SFSU-PRI_RCV_final_report_July_17_2006.pdf
and
http://rangevoting.org/SFSU-PRI_RCV_final_report_July_17_2006.pdf
and it include in its "SUMMARY":
The majority of voters appear to have made the transition to
Ranked-Choice Voting with little problem: about seven out of eight we
surveyed said that, overall, they understood it "fairly well" or
"perfectly well." However, that leaves one in eight who expressed some
lack of understanding.
…We found differences across racial and ethnic groups in regard to
their prior knowledge of RCV, their overall understanding, and their
propensity to rank candidates on the ballot.

It noted:
About one-half (52%) of those surveyed said they understood RCV
“perfectly well;” 35% said they understood it “fairly well.” About
one-tenth (11%) said they “did not understand it entirely,” and
another 3% said they “did not understand it at all.”

2d. Richie said approval is "not a viable method of voting." However,
it has been
used successfully in many situations and thousands of elections.
Indeed it was used to elect Catholic Popes for several centuries (a
longer span of time than IRV has ever been used). It appears to have
been pretty successful in the Pope elections, whereas there is reason
to believe IRV would have been a failure for that purpose, probably
causing a split of the Church (which probably would have led to a
large war) and/or a takeover by a family dynasty.
If an election method has been used for centuries, it is "viable."

2e. Richie said approval "only will work when voters... have no stake
in the outcome."
However, in those Pope elections, the stakes in the outcome were tremendous.
To learn more about the Pope elections see
http://rangevoting.org/PopeSummary.html

3. Richie:
"All voting methods have certain theoretical flaws, but having a
practical flaw that inevitably leads to tactical voting is
qualitatively different. Creating incentives for strategic voting is
not just another undesirable property. It makes a system unworkable in
elections with active campaigns and meaningful choices."

3a. But IRV has a "practical flaw that inevitably leads to tactical voting."
It is called the "favorite betrayal criterion. Voting for your
favorite, in IRV, is often a strategic mistake for you as a voter.
This encourages massive voter dishonesty, and indirectly yield 2-party
domination. For example, Australia, which has used
IRV to elect its House for over 80 years, is 2-party dominated,
because about 85% of Australian voters rank the top 2 parties either
(i) top or (ii) bottom or second from bottom, on their ballots (which
typically have about 7 choices running). Note
this bimodal behavior at this vast a level, can only be explained by
massive voter strategic dishonesty. Further, this behavior, by
theorem, forces one of the two
parties to always win with IRV, whereas with other better voting systems,
a Green candidate (say) whom those 85% of voters ranked 2nd out of 7,
would usually win. As a result, in the last 4 Australian Houses, 600
seats in all,
only ONE seat was won by a third-party candidate.

3b. Is IRV "unworkable"? Well... since the top 2 parties always win
in Australian IRV elections, it is pretty unworkable for all
Australian third parties!

4. Richie: "Quite simply, it is unacceptable that voters who vote
tactically by casting a single vote for their favorite candidate will
gain an advantage over those voters who indicate support for more than
one candidate in the manner suggested by the ballot instructions."

4a. Richie has just claimed that his favorite voting system, IRV
(which suffers from
exactly this flaw, see Brams Example above) is "unacceptable."
Strange. But he said it.

More later...


--
Warren D. Smith
http://RangeVoting.org <-- add your endorsement (by clicking
"endorse" as 1st step)
and
math.temple.edu/~wds/homepage/works.html

Jameson Quinn

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Jul 31, 2011, 4:21:36 PM7/31/11
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2011/7/31 Warren Smith <warre...@gmail.com>

Fascinating.

Let's examine his claims.
1. Richie: "Once aware of how approval voting works, strategic voters
will always earn a significant advantage over less informed voters."
Actually: the advantage seems in computer simulations to be very small
from being
one of the voters who realizes that misordering can be strategic in
range & approval voting, versus voters who do not know that.
   http://rangevoting.org/RVstrat2.html
see bottom line.

I think he's talking about the advantage of approval-style voting over "honest" range voting, not of the possible strategic benefits of misordering. In which case, he would actually be kinda right here. Which is why I advocate that if range is to be used, ballot design should encourage nearly-approval-style voting (especially at the top end; there's little need at the bottom end, because 0 is already easily the most popular rating), so that "honest" voting must be a conscious choice. 

I agree with Warren's other points and have nothing to add to them.

JQ

Jameson Quinn

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Jul 31, 2011, 8:26:09 PM7/31/11
to electio...@googlegroups.com
Does anyone here understand why Richie thinks that Bucklin's violation of LNH is fatal, while Condorcet's is not? It seems to me that Bucklin is more LNH-compliant than Condorcet is (both specifically when "H" is "Harm", and also for "Help").

JQ

Warren Smith

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Jul 31, 2011, 11:09:02 PM7/31/11
to electio...@googlegroups.com
On 7/31/11, Jameson Quinn <jameso...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 2011/7/31 Warren Smith <warre...@gmail.com>
>
>> Fascinating.
>>
>> Let's examine his claims.
>> 1. Richie: "Once aware of how approval voting works, strategic voters
>> will always earn a significant advantage over less informed voters."

> I think he's talking about the advantage of approval-style voting over


> "honest" range voting, not of the possible strategic benefits of
> misordering.

--really? Richie quote says approval, not range.

Warren Smith

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Jul 31, 2011, 11:20:58 PM7/31/11
to electio...@googlegroups.com
Enquiring as to who registered "rangevoting.com" and "scorevoting.com"
and when, the answers are:

rangevoting.com registered thru "godaddy.com" on 2 November 2006
scorevoting.com registered thru "godaddy.com" on 12 september 2007
both are at "domainsbyproxy.com"

the "technical contact" is "private"
the "administrative contact" is "private"

Registry Status: clientDeleteProhibited
Registry Status: clientRenewProhibited
Registry Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registry Status: clientUpdateProhibited

Warren Smith

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Jul 31, 2011, 11:38:22 PM7/31/11
to electio...@googlegroups.com
> rangevoting.com registered thru "godaddy.com" on 2 November 2006
> scorevoting.com registered thru "godaddy.com" on 12 september 2007
> both are at "domainsbyproxy.com"

--however, it appears the rangevoting.com front page was just modified
on 30 july 2011, i.e. yesterday.

Leon Smith

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Aug 9, 2011, 6:12:48 AM8/9/11
to electio...@googlegroups.com
Ok, let's keep in mind that Rob Richie might not have anything to do
with these sites. The material available, as silly as it is, is
publically available on the fairvote site and anybody could have set
those domains up to link to it. Something to keep in mind before we
make ourselves look like asses.

Warren Smith

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Aug 9, 2011, 12:34:30 PM8/9/11
to electio...@googlegroups.com
I'd say Richie is 99.99% certain to be the one behind it, since it is
based on and linked to FairVote material and on an earlier blog post
by Richie, and it's his writing style. However the author of these
sites has carefully kept him/herself anonymous, e.g. registered it
anonymously and put no byline. (Which incidentally also is Richie's
style, e.g.
he is known to have used fake several online identities to edit
Wikipedia articles to try to create the impression many people agreed
with him. They found that out by tracking his IP numbers.)

Welcome to the brave new world of anonymous and anonymously-funded hit jobs.

Jameson Quinn

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Aug 9, 2011, 12:37:43 PM8/9/11
to electio...@googlegroups.com


2011/8/9 Warren Smith <warre...@gmail.com>

I'd say Richie is 99.99% certain to be the one behind it,

I'm significantly less confident than you. I'd say you underestimated the chances of it being someone else by over two orders of magnitude. So it's only 98.5% certain that it was Richie.

JQ

Clay Shentrup

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Aug 9, 2011, 8:38:35 PM8/9/11
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I'd bet my first born child it's Richie.

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax

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Aug 9, 2011, 11:08:28 PM8/9/11
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I'd like to invite any interested in developing educational resources
on election science to register on Wikiversity and participate in the
School of Election Science. (Wikipedia accounts should work there if
they've been linked as a Single Unified Login (SUL) account, but some
people do register real name accounts on Wikiversity, it's far more
like academia than Wikipedia.)

Wikiversity isn't like Wikipedia, the comparison would be between a
university and an encyclopedia. On Wikipedia, there is a constant
struggle for space in a page on a topic, there can be only one page,
and Wikipedia mainspace does not allow subpages.

Wikiversity handles conflict, where users cannot agree, by forking.
It is required that content be, overall, neutral, but individual
pages can express opinions, and can be placed in a hierarchy for
overall neutrality. Subpages may be used. Original research is
allowed, even encouraged.

As matters stand, Wikiversity is very small compared to Wikipedia;
however, I (and some others) predict that Wikiversity could
ultimately be much larger. Compare a university library with an encyclopedia!

It has been very difficult to make Wikipedia articles reflect what is
well-known in the field of election science, because often what is
well-known isn't found in sources that Wikipedia considers standard
reliable source. A great deal of the development of election science
took place on mailing lists, over the last twenty years.

Many new users on Wikipedia run into trouble because they want to
discuss the topic. That's strongly discouraged on Wikipedia. It's
part of the process on Wikiversity, just as students in seminars in a
university are encouraged to discuss the subject.

Further, it is, in theory, a standard practice, where Wikiversity has
resources on a topic, to place an interwiki link to the Wikiversity
resource in a corresponding Wikipedia article. This can provide a
method for Wikipedia readers to find deeper material, including
interactive learning, than is possible on Wikipedia.

Wikiversity could also serve, and has served sometimes, as an
incubator for better Wikipedia articles, because scholars on
Wikiversity may freely cooperate on better-written articles, multiple
versions if they can't agree, which can then be proposed as
replacements on Wikipedia, thus bypassing the excruciating one edit
at a time process that can make it very frustrating to edit
Wikipedia. (If you make major changes to a standing Wikipedia
article, be prepared to see them all reverted, quickly. But an RfC on
Wikipedia could decide to choose an alternate version, and the
decision, showing consensus, would stick.)

Take a look at
http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/School:Election_Science, I just
started that resource.

Drop on by http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/User_talk:Abd, my Talk page.

And, while you are at it, take a look at
http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Delegable_proxy

Hopefully, this will be the first substantial application of
Delegable Proxy beyond Demoex and Voterola. It was proposed as an
experiment for Wikipedia about three years ago, and was, essentially,
crushed. But Wikiversity is very, very different. I'm currently an
administrator on Wikiversity, just to give you an idea. I can't use
that to favor any position, but I've been working for well over a
year to insure that Wikiversity stays open and free as a cooperative community.

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