News in brief

Seen something interesting in the news or on the intertubes? Discuss it here.

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sardia
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Re: News in brief

Postby sardia » Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:00 pm UTC

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/1 ... ate-243918
Disoriented and ailing 80 year old senator insist he's capable of holding office... Despite voting incorrectly while being guided by aides and not answering questions, and smiling vacantly. Republicans hope you avoid a special election until who knows when.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:22 pm UTC


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Re: News in brief

Postby Mutex » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:25 pm UTC

Isn't normal cheeseburger construction, from top to bottom: tomato, lettuce, cheese, meat? They both look wrong to me.

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Re: News in brief

Postby orthogon » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:32 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:Isn't normal cheeseburger construction, from top to bottom: tomato, lettuce, cheese, meat? They both look wrong to me.

There might be an argument for putting the lettuce on top of the tomato on the basis that it would protect the bun from becoming ensoggied by the water in the tomato. The cheese on the bottom is definitely the wrongest thing about it, though.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: News in brief

Postby K-R » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:55 pm UTC

Cheeseburgers have lettuce and tomato?

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Re: News in brief

Postby Thesh » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:56 pm UTC

Bottom Bun, Lettuce, Tomato, Beef, Cheese, Sauce, Top Bun.
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Re: News in brief

Postby Mutex » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:06 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Bottom Bun, Lettuce, Tomato, Beef, Cheese, Sauce, Top Bun.

So Google's one is just upside down?

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Re: News in brief

Postby ObsessoMom » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:33 pm UTC

I'm more concerned about the impossible beer.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Chen » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:38 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:The cheese on the bottom is definitely the wrongest thing about it, though.


Agreed. I mean it would take a whole extra step of flipping either the patty with cheese over or flipping the entire burger in the end to end up with a burger with cheese on the bottom. Unless the cheese wasn't melted. But that's just as much nonsense IMO.

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Re: News in brief

Postby freezeblade » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:57 pm UTC

Top Bun
Sauce (mayo based)
Tomato
Cheese
Meat
Lettuce
Pickles
Sauce (mustard/ketchup based)
Bottom Bun
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Re: News in brief

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:25 pm UTC

Bottom Bun
Cheese
Lettuce
Meat
Pickles
Sauce (mayo based)
Sauce (mustard/ketchup based)
Top Bun

Redone alphabetically, to satisfy my CDO. Without the tomato, because I don't like tomato slices.
Last edited by Soupspoon on Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:27 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: News in brief

Postby eran_rathan » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:26 pm UTC

freezeblade wrote:Top Bun
Sauce (mayo based)
Tomato
Cheese
Meat
Lettuce
Pickles
Sauce (mustard/ketchup based)
Bottom Bun


There is something seriously wrong with this construction, namely 1. It contains tomatoes, which is as we all know a nightshade plant and therefore poisonous, and 2. Wet fruits such as pickles or (shudder) tomatoes should never be next to the bun. Clearly, the order is

Top bun
Sauce (mustard or Mayo or BBQ sauce)
Lettuce (or spinach)
Pickles (bread and butters, the best pickles)
Onions/peppers
Bacon (optional)
Cheese
Meat
Sauce
Bottom bun
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Re: News in brief

Postby Mutex » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:27 pm UTC

The bun being upside down and the cheese melted over the lettuce are just a couple of reasons why burgers usually aren't constructed alphabetically.

EDIT: Response to Soupspoon

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Re: News in brief

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:32 pm UTC

Pfeh, the correct order is

Top pretzel bun
Crushed eye of newt mixed with the dye of buddhist monks, suspended in fouled wine
Sliced fruit of nightshade
The beast mother's milk, curdled
The flesh of the beast, seared
Bottom pretzel bun
Last edited by CorruptUser on Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:35 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: News in brief

Postby eran_rathan » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:34 pm UTC

pretzel bun? Pretzel bun?! You heathen! :lol:
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Re: News in brief

Postby SDK » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:37 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:The beast mother's milk, curdled
The flesh of the beast, seared

Have you been reading UNSONG? Uriel is going to kick your ass for this burger construction.
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Re: News in brief

Postby freezeblade » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:15 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
There is something seriously wrong with this construction, namely 1. It contains tomatoes, which is as we all know a nightshade plant and therefore poisonous, and 2. Wet fruits such as pickles or (shudder) tomatoes should never be next to the bun.


1. Nightshades are amazing. Try a roasted poblano pepper on a burger, amazing.
2. the oil from the mayo based sauce keeps the bun from soaking up the tomato, you also use low-moisture tomato slices (cut ahead of time and drained, or use a less juicy variety).
3. The location of the pickles is as such that it stays put when near the bun, when put closer to the lettuce, the sandwich becomes less structurally stable.
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Re: News in brief

Postby K-R » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:25 am UTC

Australia joins the 21st century
SYDNEY, Australia — Australia’s Parliament legalized same-sex marriage on Thursday, overcoming more than a decade of conservative resistance with an overwhelming majority vote, after a final debate marked by tears, apologies to gay Australians and a lawmaker’s marriage proposal.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Ginger » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:01 am UTC

Amy Lee wrote:Just what we all need... more lies about a world that never was and never will be.


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Re: News in brief

Postby heuristically_alone » Wed May 23, 2018 2:49 pm UTC

Bow gifted by adnapemit.

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Re: News in brief

Postby K-R » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:34 pm UTC

K-R wrote:Australia joins the 21st century
SYDNEY, Australia — Australia’s Parliament legalized same-sex marriage on Thursday, overcoming more than a decade of conservative resistance with an overwhelming majority vote, after a final debate marked by tears, apologies to gay Australians and a lawmaker’s marriage proposal.
Australia rejoins the early 20th century
Online retail giant Amazon will block Australian consumers from its global sites to counter new laws to force it to collect the good and services tax on transactions.

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Re: News in brief

Postby sardia » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:07 am UTC

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/ma ... the-night/
Turns out that white room voting ideas like ranked voting decreases turnout, doesn't stop negative campaigning and favors educated whites.

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Re: News in brief

Postby orthogon » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:17 am UTC

sardia wrote:https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/maine-is-trying-out-a-new-way-to-run-elections-but-will-it-survive-the-night/
Turns out that white room voting ideas like ranked voting decreases turnout, doesn't stop negative campaigning and favors educated whites.

I couldn't find the words "educated" or "white" in the article - was that from somewhere else? But, yeah, FPTP has no advantages whatsoever from a theoretical viewpoint, but it's very easy to understand. Having said that, most electoral systems manage to complicate the FPTP process, e.g. by having geographical constituencies (as in the UK) or things like the Electoral College, both of which lead to a kind of FPTP2.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Mutex » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:26 am UTC

When we had a referendum for alternative vote (which appears to be the same thing as ranked voting), people complained it was too complicated. I genuinely couldn't see what was complicated about putting the numbers 1-5 next to candidates in the order of preference. Sure, it's more complicated than FPTP, but so are lots of things, such as tying your shoelaces, opening your front door and finding your way to the polling station. If you can manage that you can cope with AV.

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Re: News in brief

Postby orthogon » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:19 am UTC

Mutex wrote:When we had a referendum for alternative vote (which appears to be the same thing as ranked voting), people complained it was too complicated. I genuinely couldn't see what was complicated about putting the numbers 1-5 next to candidates in the order of preference. Sure, it's more complicated than FPTP, but so are lots of things, such as tying your shoelaces, opening your front door and finding your way to the polling station. If you can manage that you can cope with AV.

Ranked Voting, as I understand it, is a whole class of methods, which appear the same from the point of view of the voter: they can rank as many candidates as they like in order. The methods differ in how the preferences are aggregated to provide an overall winner. Alternative Vote, which is indeed also known as Instant Runoff, is one possible method. I agree that giving an order of preference ought to be easy enough for anyone to grasp, but it's the aggregation methods that are complicated and the subject of an entire field of theory. So the question is how important is it that voters understand this part of the process. If the process isn't widely understood, it is going to have questionable legitimacy. And if you're having a meta-vote on the question, as in the UK AV referendum, people really ought to understand what they're voting for/against. (That voters more often than not don't understand what they're voting on is of course is an issue with referendums generally, hence the horrific situation the UK has found itself in for the last two years).
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Mutex » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:48 am UTC

The French use what's basically "instant runoff" without the instant in their presidential elections - after the first round, the top two are voted for in a second round. This is obviously more expensive, but I guess you get the benefits of AV without it being difficult to understand how the winner was picked.

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Re: News in brief

Postby orthogon » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:00 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:The French use what's basically "instant runoff" without the instant in their presidential elections - after the first round, the top two are voted for in a second round. This is obviously more expensive, but I guess you get the benefits of AV without it being difficult to understand how the winner was picked.

Exactly: a second round is a type of runoff - the idea of instant runoff is that voters only need to go to the polling station once. But the French system is an example of a different way of processing the preferences; in effect only the first and second choices are taken into account and all but the top two candidates (in terms of first-choice votes) are eliminated in the first round. It's not as good as instant runoff in that a third-placed candidate who is everybody's second choice (or better) will not make it into the runoff. It still has many of the disadvantages of FPTP, including the possibility of the (first choice) vote being split between two quite similar candidates, with both being eliminated as a result. These issues aren't just theoretical: they've led to voters going into the polling booths with pegs literally on their noses twice in my memory.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Liri » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:04 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
sardia wrote:https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/maine-is-trying-out-a-new-way-to-run-elections-but-will-it-survive-the-night/
Turns out that white room voting ideas like ranked voting decreases turnout, doesn't stop negative campaigning and favors educated whites.

I couldn't find the words "educated" or "white" in the article - was that from somewhere else? But, yeah, FPTP has no advantages whatsoever from a theoretical viewpoint, but it's very easy to understand. Having said that, most electoral systems manage to complicate the FPTP process, e.g. by having geographical constituencies (as in the UK) or things like the Electoral College, both of which lead to a kind of FPTP2.

They talk about the deceased turnout for minorities and less-educated people in the latest podcast.

It's grimly amusing, yeah, how the EC in the US makes FPTP even worse.
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Re: News in brief

Postby Dauric » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:34 pm UTC

Liri wrote:They talk about the deceased turnout...


Voting while dead is a time honored tradition. I mean if the living can't be bothered to vote, might as well let those who have passed on voice their opinions.</snark>

(I tried to resist, I really did... *hides*)
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Re: News in brief

Postby Mutex » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:38 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:Exactly: a second round is a type of runoff - the idea of instant runoff is that voters only need to go to the polling station once. But the French system is an example of a different way of processing the preferences; in effect only the first and second choices are taken into account and all but the top two candidates (in terms of first-choice votes) are eliminated in the first round. It's not as good as instant runoff in that a third-placed candidate who is everybody's second choice (or better) will not make it into the runoff. It still has many of the disadvantages of FPTP, including the possibility of the (first choice) vote being split between two quite similar candidates, with both being eliminated as a result. These issues aren't just theoretical: they've led to voters going into the polling booths with pegs literally on their noses twice in my memory.

So basically, the better the system is at picking the least objectionable candidate, the more complicated the aggregation process (or the more expensive and time consuming - having five non-instant runoff rounds would be ridiculous).

Yeah, the issue with the French system is clear but it's still better than FPTP (imagine if Le-Pen had got 21% of the vote in the first round, everyone else got 20% or less, and there was no second round). The biggest problem France has is the fact there's a far-right party with significant support, and a fair number of mainstream candidates with fairly lacklustre support. If having a very easy to understand winner-picking process is a must, and I agree it probably is, I think their system is probably in the sweet spot. Not as bad at picking the least objectionable candidate as FPTP, not as difficult to understand as AV, and while it requires two voting rounds that's not terribly difficult to manage.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Liri » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:46 pm UTC

Gosh dangit.
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Re: News in brief

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:01 pm UTC

At least some of the new Regional Mayoral elections, here in the UK, used one form or other of instant run-off, I know.

It didn't seem to matter for one of the places, forced to go to supplementary votes, without a first-vote supermajority. But it was virtually inevitable that the transfered votes would just go the same way as the unagmented first result.

Not sure what numbers would have come out of a traditional FPTP election, or one with repeated rounds of "lowest polled candidate reassigns to next chosen candidate, until there's one winner and one loser", or non-linear/equal-value-possible preferential assignments across the board for a one-round meta-totalising method. People who tactically vote probably adjust their strategies for the system they're asked to use (whether or not they understand it!) And it might differently affect those who hadn't been paying attention and find it suddenly sprung upon them in the polling booth, too.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:09 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
sardia wrote:https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/maine-is-trying-out-a-new-way-to-run-elections-but-will-it-survive-the-night/
Turns out that white room voting ideas like ranked voting decreases turnout, doesn't stop negative campaigning and favors educated whites.

I couldn't find the words "educated" or "white" in the article - was that from somewhere else? But, yeah, FPTP has no advantages whatsoever from a theoretical viewpoint, but it's very easy to understand. Having said that, most electoral systems manage to complicate the FPTP process, e.g. by having geographical constituencies (as in the UK) or things like the Electoral College, both of which lead to a kind of FPTP2.


Approval also strikes me as fairly easy to understand. Like FPTP, it's very simple, but offers some marginal upgrades over FPTP. It's still got theoretical weaknesses, but it may be a more reasonable improvement to try.

I don't really see ranked preferences as challenging to understand, but eh...if everyone else does, I suppose my opinion isn't the most important. I do wonder if some of the disadvantages seen will fade with time. I can see comprehension being easier once something is accepted as normal, for instance. That might lessen some of the disadvantages seen in practice.

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Re: News in brief

Postby orthogon » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:58 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I don't really see ranked preferences as challenging to understand, but eh...if everyone else does, I suppose my opinion isn't the most important. I do wonder if some of the disadvantages seen will fade with time. I can see comprehension being easier once something is accepted as normal, for instance. That might lessen some of the disadvantages seen in practice.


As I say, it's not the voting process that's hard to understand; you vote for who you want most, then you indicate your second choice and so on, until all the rest are as bad as each other. Understanding the aggregation process is harder, though for systems like instant run-off most people ought to be able to grasp it. The really hard bit to understand is the ways in which the process could misbehave. This is the world of Arrow's Impossibility Theorem, Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives, and Condorcet Winners, and is the stuff of mathematics PhDs.

The more sophisticated the aggregation method, the harder it is to understand, but the more subtle are the ways in which it might misbehave. The candidate who's nobody's first choice but everyone's second choice could be eliminated in the first round of the instant run-off, and this may well be obvious enough to be picked up on by the population at large. A violation of IIA, less so. (I haven't fully grokked IIA, but I think it's about how a counterfactual change to individuals' votes could affect the outcome. So I don't think it's even meaningful to say that a particular election violated IIA, whereas it could fail to elect a Condorcet winner).
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Mutex » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:11 pm UTC

Idea for a voting that just occurred to me, and probably either has an official name or a terrible flaw that I've not spotted.

Voters vote for the candidates in the AV way, ranking them from best to worst. Each vote is worth a number of points to the candidate, the higher the rank the more the points. Candidate with the most points wins. Not sure how the scoring could go, but it could be "6 - <rank>" for a maximum of 5 choices you can make, so 1st preference gets 5 points, 2nd gets 4 points etc. Or the points could drop off geometrically, meaning your earlier choices matter much more.

This means that a candidate could be no one's 1st choice but everyone's 2nd, and *should* win the vote. Plus it's pretty simple for people to understand the idea that votes are worth points and you just add them up.

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Re: News in brief

Postby ucim » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:32 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:Each vote is worth a number of points to the candidate
How many points? If you have only one point to distribute (in a quantum fashion) between candidates, you have FPTP. The more points, the more smooth the preferences. With points based on the number of candidates, is it a benefit to a party to field many similar candidates? With a zillion points this becomes moot.

In a hypotheticial Trump/Clinton/{everyone's second choice}, how many points should be available for the {} to likely win? What campaign strategy would you use to defeat that and ensure a win for (one of) the polarizing candidates?

How would these stack up against approval voting? (Vote for all candidates you can stomach; majority wins)

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Re: News in brief

Postby orthogon » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:44 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:Idea for a voting that just occurred to me, and probably either has an official name or a terrible flaw that I've not spotted.

Voters vote for the candidates in the AV way, ranking them from best to worst. Each vote is worth a number of points to the candidate, the higher the rank the more the points. Candidate with the most points wins. Not sure how the scoring could go, but it could be "6 - <rank>" for a maximum of 5 choices you can make, so 1st preference gets 5 points, 2nd gets 4 points etc. Or the points could drop off geometrically, meaning your earlier choices matter much more.

This means that a candidate could be no one's 1st choice but everyone's 2nd, and *should* win the vote. Plus it's pretty simple for people to understand the idea that votes are worth points and you just add them up.

The arithmetic variant, known as the Borda Count, is used in all kinds of reality TV scenarios.

I don't know if it has a name, but the geometric progression variant was used in part of the scoring system for this year's Eurovision Song Contest. Don't ask me how I ended up knowing about that.

If the ratio of successive points allocations is K (K<1), then for sufficiently small K factors (K<1/N for N voters), it becomes a FPTP on the first choices with the lower ranked choices only applying in the case of a tie-break. If K is very close to 1, it approaches the Borda Count method.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: News in brief

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:48 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I don't really see ranked preferences as challenging to understand, but eh...if everyone else does, I suppose my opinion isn't the most important. I do wonder if some of the disadvantages seen will fade with time. I can see comprehension being easier once something is accepted as normal, for instance. That might lessen some of the disadvantages seen in practice.


As I say, it's not the voting process that's hard to understand; you vote for who you want most, then you indicate your second choice and so on, until all the rest are as bad as each other. Understanding the aggregation process is harder, though for systems like instant run-off most people ought to be able to grasp it. The really hard bit to understand is the ways in which the process could misbehave. This is the world of Arrow's Impossibility Theorem, Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives, and Condorcet Winners, and is the stuff of mathematics PhDs.

The more sophisticated the aggregation method, the harder it is to understand, but the more subtle are the ways in which it might misbehave. The candidate who's nobody's first choice but everyone's second choice could be eliminated in the first round of the instant run-off, and this may well be obvious enough to be picked up on by the population at large. A violation of IIA, less so. (I haven't fully grokked IIA, but I think it's about how a counterfactual change to individuals' votes could affect the outcome. So I don't think it's even meaningful to say that a particular election violated IIA, whereas it could fail to elect a Condorcet winner).


Real world run-off elections seem pretty straightforward, and are even fairly commonly used. IRV seems like a small step forward there, and weighted voting, etc also applies in the real world(each share of stock counting for a vote is a real world system). I mean, I grant these systems can be complicated, but tradition appears to be a factor as well. Where we're not going up against tradition, other voting systems seem to be more easily accepted.

Approval, at least, has a fairly simple aggregation method. "they got the most votes, they win" still applies.

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Re: News in brief

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:48 pm UTC

It's also a terrible system.

There's Candidates A, B, and C. Nearly half of voters want A over B, but hate C. Nearly half of voters want B over A, but hate C. One voter prefers C. To avoid B winning, instead of voting ABC or BAC, the voters vote ACB or BCA. Plus the lone person who wants C, so it's CBA or CAB, doesn't matter, let's just go with CAB. With 101 voters, the result is that A gets 50*3+50*1+1*2 or 202 points. B gets 201 points. Meanwhile, C gets 100*2+1*3 or 203 points.

Mutex
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Re: News in brief

Postby Mutex » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:53 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:It's also a terrible system.

There's Candidates A, B, and C. Nearly half of voters want A over B, but hate C. Nearly half of voters want B over A, but hate C. One voter prefers C. To avoid B winning, instead of voting ABC or BAC, the voters vote ACB or BCA. Plus the lone person who wants C, so it's CBA or CAB, doesn't matter, let's just go with CAB. With 101 voters, the result is that A gets 50*3+50*1+1*2 or 202 points. B gets 201 points. Meanwhile, C gets 100*2+1*3 or 203 points.

You don't have to use all your votes, so if you want A to win you can just vote A. It certainly doesn't make sense to put the person you hate second.


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