Voting system R&D (Re: 2017 update to the SPI voting algorithm for Board elections)

Filipus Klutiero chealer at
Fri Mar 3 03:32:50 UTC 2017

On 2017-03-02 14:18, Ian Jackson wrote:
> Barak A. Pearlmutter writes ("Re: Voting system R&D (Re: 2017 update to the SPI voting algorithm for Board elections)"):
>> Ian and Joshua are dismissing these concerns, but have not given any
>> technical grounds, either now or in the previous round of discussion.
> [...]
> But the key point, as discussed, is that SPI is poorly equipped to
> analyse voting systems.  SPI is full of technologists.  We largely
> lack political scientists, electoral officials, constitutional
> engineers, and historians; we're probably even short of game
> theoreticians.

I doubt that constitutional engineers, historians and even many electoral officials would be equipped much better than technologists to analyze voting systems.

> [...]

> We should defer the question of voting systems to well-regarded civil
> organisations for whom these questions are the primary focus, and who
> are thereofore more competent: that means voting reform groups.
> Almost uniformly, such groups recommend STV for multi-winner
> elections.[0]

Voting systems have more than a single question. It may be that other organisations can help with ours, but in that case, it would be more useful to mention these organizations, and even more to show their recommendations.

> For the same reason, we should adopt a system which is widely used,
> particularly by organisations whose governannce we expect to be
> well-informed.

If argumentum ad populum is going to be a central argument in our choice, I hope our associated projects will not take their decisional strategies from SPI, or I very much hope that we will pick an excellent system, otherwise our associated projects may argue they should adopt SPI's suboptimal system. If popularity is the main criteria, at least provide a list of these organisations and the system each one uses.

> We should not be pioneering in this area.  We should make use of the
> expertise of others, and follow their lead.

I wonder which pioneering this refers to.
You might be right on substance, but on the form, I am surprised to see such insistence on an argument as weak as popularity.


Filipus Klutiero

More information about the Spi-general mailing list