on February 7, 2012 by Zeta in News, Comments (0)

Instant Run-off Voting Demonstration

Below is a transcript of an information session held on the new voting system.

Zeta shouts “I will be commencing an information session on the Instant Runoff Voting system presently in the Election Analysis Lab (the ‘park’ of the day). Come if you are curious about the voting system that will be used to select this election’s mayor.” (Public-shout)
SHOUT: 26 folks heard that.
Azure yips, “Dr. Dern.”
Dragoncat has arrived.
Dragoncat waves.
Beltrami steps off of the floating disk that carried her up.
Beltrami has arrived.
Beltrami smiles and waves hello!
Azure waves to Dragoncat and Beltrami.
Ping steps off of the floating disk that carried her up.
Ping has arrived.
Ping bounces in.
Roofus_roo steps off of the floating disk that carried her up.
Roofus_roo has arrived.
Beltrami bows to Ping and Azure.
Beltrami grins!
[Beltrami just looked in your direction! (female Balloon Rabbit)]
Azure bows to Ping and Roofus_Roo.
Ping climbs up a bookshelf to be able to see from above, for a change.
Zeta sits, statue-like and cold, surrounded by monitors.
Beltrami grins at Dragoncat and picks up Roofus.
Sally steps off of the floating disk that carried her up.
Sally has arrived.
Beltrami waves to Sally!
Sally chirps! :>
You say, “I hope more individuals arrive. However, in the worse case scenario I will still make a transcript of this session available for general perusal.”
Zeta speaks into her wrist.
Dragoncat nods.
Zeta shouts “IRV information session beginning now. Type ‘park’ to join us. Come if you have any confusion or questions concerning the new voting system that will be used to elect the mayor.” (Public-shout)
SHOUT: 26 folks heard that.
You say, “120 seconds.”
Skyler steps off of the floating disk that carried him up.
Skyler has arrived.
Beltrami waves to Skyler!
Ali’s vardo has arrived.
Skyler says, “Hello! :)”
Ali has arrived.
Beltrami nods to Ali.
Ali says, “Hello, Beltrami.”
Ali sits on a cushion on her wago steps.
Zeta nods coolly, “This probably constitutes an adequate population. Before we begin: This is an apolitical event discussing voting methodology rather than the specifics of a particular election, including ours. It goes without saying that this is not a venue for active campaigning. I believe such a warning to be unnecessary, of course.”
You say, “But I optimize for low probability, high risk scenarios. With that disposed of:”
Sally waves her wing. “What happens to poeple who campaign?”
Jaxen steps off of the floating disk that carried him up.
Jaxen has arrived.
Ali says, “Also disposed of.”
Zeta nods. “SED assassination. And not the typical benign, Sora treatment.”
Beltrami walks up besides Zeta, folds her arms, and glares at the audience.
BunnyHugger says, “Would you like a sternlooker, Beltrami?”
Ali’s wagon isn’t even displaying campaign decor.
Chitter says, “Don’t think she needs one.”
Skyler chuckles. “So! You were starting off, Zeta.”
Pyralis steps off of the floating disk that carried her up.
Pyralis has arrived.
Beltrami winds her hand two large loops and pats her department ribbon.
Zeta brushes her tail, “Welcome to the IRV information session. I’m sure that this will likely be review for many of you. However, as the purpose of this session is educational, please don’t hesitate to ask questions when necessary. There will be an open Q/A session at the end for longer concerns.”
Sally tries to look contrite. It’s an effort for her.
You say, “But if anything I say is unclear, please interrupt. I will elucidate the point if it can be done in a timely fashion.”
You say, “I will begin with a brief explanation of the problems with the old First Past The Post (FPTP) algorithm, give a brief introduction to IRV, including the salient advantages over the previous, show a step-by-step walkthrough of a simple election, introduce an actual practice polls using the actual voting system that we will vote in, and conclude with a Q/A session.”
You say, “With the agenda delineated, I will begin with an explanation of first past the post and its problems. Unless there are already questions?”
BunnyHugger shakes her head.
Zeta nods coolly, “In that case: First past the post is easy to understand: Each voter votes for a single candidate. The votes are tallied and the recipient of the most votes is declared the victor. This approach is easy and intuitive. However, it suffers from some obvious problems.”
You say, “Most obviously, if some set candidates on the ballot are very similar, they can ‘split the vote’, putting them at a disadvantage to less popular candidates with smaller but firmly controlled niche support. Let us consider a brief example to illustrate the problem.”
Zeta taps her wristtop and highlights a monitor display on the wall. “In this example say A and B are candidates running in an election. You may think of them as ‘Alice’ and ‘Bob’ if the anthropomorphization of metasyntatic variables aides your comprehension. A is quite popular and has 60% of the populace’s support. B has a very different, less popular platform and is supported by only 40% of the population.”
You say, “If the election were held at this point, the results would look as follows:”
Zeta switches the slide, revealing a bar graph.

<Quote-O-Matic: Zeta>
A: 60% [Winner.]
B: 40%
<Quote-O-Matic Finished>

You say, “Trivial. However, assume that B has access to a sophisticated cloning facility and a sample of A’s DNA obtained from saliva harvested from a baby kissed on the campaign trail. B creates A’, a perfect clone of A who enters the election. As A and A’ have identical platforms they split their support between them.”
Zeta switches the slide again. “The results after the introduction of the clone would look as follows:”

<Quote-O-Matic: Zeta>
A: 30%
A’: 30%
B: 40% [Winner.]
<Quote-O-Matic Finished>

Ping giggles.
Ali hee.
Jaxen grins.
You say, “Even though a majority of people prefer a platform similar to A/A’s, B wins the election. If either A or A’ weren’t in the election, the other would win. But by both running, they effectively hand the election to B. This is known as the ‘spoiler effect’. Is everyone comfortable with this example and in agreement that it is an undesirable outcome?”
BunnyHugger nods.
Dragoncat nods.
BunnyHugger says, “I am.”
Ali grins.
You say, “Although the example here involves the application of humorously nefarious biotechnology, it is not uncommon in practice. Popular ideas are, definitionally, popular and as a result often represented by more than one candidate.”
Jaxen nods.
Zeta nods and continues then, face as blank and empty as a doll’s. “There are other problems with FPTP, many of which are derivative effects of this one. Most notably, voters will be reluctant to vote for their true, first choice if they feel they don’t stand a chance of winning, to avoid ‘throwing their vote away’. Over time, this often leads to two party systems. Or three party systems in which two parties effectively continually keep the third in power.”
BunnyHugger nods.
You say, “Instant-Runoff Voting, or IRV, avoids these problems. In IRV, rather than selecting a single candidate, one ranks the candidates in order of preference. If your #1 choice is unpopular in one round, your #2 choice may still count and so forth. Voters can vote for their true first choice without throwing their vote away. Candidates can run freely without as great a concern that they will spoil the election for someone else. Don’t worry if it’s not immediately clear how it achieves this. We are about to run through a demonstration that should make it clear.”
You say, “I will now explain how IRV works in words. Then we will see a simple example. Then, we will run one or two sample votes to familiarize ourselves with Master Morticon’s interface. Finally, I’ll open the floor to questions and discussion.”
Zeta looks over the audience. “Here is a quick algorithmic explanation of IRV. Forgive me for reading my slide.”

<Quote-O-Matic: Zeta>
1. In IRV, voters fill out ballots by ranking the choices in order of their preference.

2. In each round of counting, the ballots are counted by adding up the number of #1 votes each candidate receives.

3. If a candidate has a simple majority (>50%) of the #1 votes, they are the winner and we stop.

4. Otherwise, the choice(s) with the fewest number of #1 votes are stricken from all ballots. If a ballot had the this least popular choice as their #1 choice, their #2 choice would move into #1, their #3 into #2, and so forth. This is the ‘instant-runoff’ aspect of the system.

5. We return to step (2) and repeat the counting and runoffs until we have a winner.

Zeta frowns at a typo. “Is anyone not at least vaguely comfortable with this explanation before we begin a sample demonstration showing how it works?”
Garrison has arrived.
You say, “Hello, Garrison.”
Skyler says, “I do have one question, but I think it can wait until after the demonstration.”
Garrison waves “Hi”
You say, “We are about to begin a simple demonstration of IRV. I do not anticipate that it will be a problem following along, so do not concern yourself overly with catching up.”
BunnyHugger nods.
Beltrami nodnods.
You say, “In that case, consider the following simple poll, the choices of which having been determined by my palette choice.”

<Quote-O-Matic: Zeta>
What is your favorite color?

Favorite Color
<Quote-O-Matic Finished>

Zeta taps her wrist and brings up the sample ballot.
Ping grins.
You say, “Let us say we run an election with this ballot and the votes are received as followed. Voters are named after simple letters. Each row represents a single voter’s preferences.”
Zeta taps and a complementary screen displays a list of ballots.

<Quote-O-Matic: Zeta>
A: Black, White, Off-White
B: Off-White, White, Black
C: White, Off-White, Black
D: Off-White, Black, White
E: Off-White, White
F: White
G: Off-White, White, Black
H: Black, White
I: Black, Off-White
J: Black
K: White, Off-White
L: Black, White, Off-White
M: Black
N: Off-White
<Quote-O-Matic Finished>

You say, “For example, A’s choices in order of preference are black, white, and off-white. B’s choices are off-white, then white, and then black. And so forth. Counting up the number of #1 votes, we have the following:”

<Quote-O-Matic: Zeta>
Black 6
White 3
Off-White 5

Total: 14
Majority: 8
<Quote-O-Matic Finished>

Jaxen nods.
You say, “These numbers are calculated by counting up the #1 votes on the ballots. There are two things to note here: One, if this were first past the post, we would be done at this stage. Black has received the most votes and is therefore the winner under FPTP rules. Two, black has not, however, received the majority of votes. Intuitively, there is reason to believe that white and off-white may have split a high saturation demographic.”
You say, “Under IRV we do not stop until we have someone has received a majority of the #1 picks. Here no choice has reached the cutoff for a simple majority. Therefore, we select the choice(s) who received the least number of #1 votes. In this case that choice is ‘White’. We’re going to eliminate ‘White’ from all the ballots.”
You say, “For the purposes of clarity, I’m going to focus first on the three ballots which have listed ‘White’ as the number one choice. They are:”

<Quote-O-Matic: Zeta>
C: White, Off-White, Black
F: White
K: White, Off-White
<Quote-O-Matic Finished>

You say, “For each, we remove ‘White’ from the listing and are left with:”

<Quote-O-Matic: Zeta>
C: Off-White, Black
F: [Empty ballot. Not counted.]
K: Off-White
<Quote-O-Matic Finished>

You say, “We also eliminate ‘white’ from all other ballots prior to the recount. Before I list the new ballots and the result, does anyone have a question?”

Skyler does.
BunnyHugger says, “I have one.”
Dragoncat shakes his head.
You say, “Yes, Skyler.”
Zeta regards him with a glassy, unreadable, red stare.
Skyler says, “So…let me see if I understand, from a _voter’s_ point of view here. Voter ‘F’ said only white, and nothing else, and it was first eliminated. The translation we should take from that, if I’m right, is ‘I want White to win. If White doesn’t win, I have no preference whoever does. It no longer matters to me.’ Right? So…”
Skyler says, “The ‘Best’ IRV vote is to vote for everyone, basically from ‘Most preferred to least preferred’, until you reach ‘I don’t care about who’s left’?”
You say, “Correct, Skyler. I intended to address that in Q and A, but I am glad you anticipated it.”
Ping also has a question.
Ping looks to BunnyHugger, though.
You say, “As a foreshadow however: There is no advantage in IRV to voting for fewer candidates. You should rank as much as you can. Voting for fewer candidates only potential means your preference will not be counted if all your choices are eliminated.”
You say, “BunnyHugger?”
BunnyHugger says, “Is there any functional difference between a ballot that lists ‘white, off-white, black’ and one that lists ‘white, off-white’ as initial choices? Because I’m wondering what the point is in listing your last choice as opposed to just leaving it off entirely.”
Skyler hmms. “I /suspect/ that might be addressed by Zeta running through the example, but we gotta see.”
You say, “Good question. Assuming you rank all candidates, BunnyHugger, in order for your second to last choice to be eliminated, you would have to be in a situation in which only two candidates remained.”
BunnyHugger says, “Right…”
You say, “If one candidate has a fewer number of #1 votes at that stage, the other candidate should have a majority. The election should be finished. So no: At a high level, there is no functional difference between selecting the final choice and leaving it blank. I still recommend filling it in for clarity.”
You say, “As an aside at this point, some IRV systems require all voters to rank all available choices. Ours does not.”
BunnyHugger nods.
You say, “If that answers the question: Ping.”
BunnyHugger says, “Thank you.”
Ping squeaks, “Does IRV provide a mechanism for expressing a vote like, “I *don’t* want Black to win, but beyond that, I don’t care.”? If so, what would such a vote look like?”
You say, “No.”
Ping squeaks, “Interesting. Okay. I ask mainly because that particular type of vote seems… rather common, in many RL elections.”
Ping squeaks, “Particularly after large amounts of negative campaigning.”
Ali says, “I think such a voter would have to arbitrarily rank everyone, with ‘not that one’ in last place.”
You say, “As a parenthetical: IRV has many advantages over FPTP, but it is not perfect. That’s not just a qualitative opinion: There is an impossibility proof called Arrow’s Impossibility theorem that shows three simple desires one would intuitively want from a voting system – and that it is impossible to satisfy all three.”
Jaxen nods to Ali.
Ali says, “They’d express a preference they don’t really have… but that’s okay because they don’t care about that either.”
BunnyHugger nods.
Austin smiles.
Ping squeaks, “Perhaps, then, IRV would discourage negative campaigning. Hmmmm.”
You say, “I don’t want to mislead people into thinking that this is a perfect system or infallible. One of the disadvantages as a consequence of its failing is that it is quite good at capturing /positive/ opinions. But it does not capture /negative/ ones very well.”
Ali says, “We haven’t really had any. Azure’s been parodying it.”
Ping squeaks, “Consider my question answered.”
You say, “It’s actually significantly more complicated than that, Ali.”
Beltrami blinks.
You say, “If, for example, one wants candidate ‘Beta’ not to win as their prime concern, and one is cognizant that everyone who voted ‘Kappa’ as their #1 has Beta listed as #2, the most important thing may be to vote for ‘Kappa’ in order to avoid their being eliminated – and delivering many #1 votes to Beta.”
Ali says, “I see. Of course, actually ranking everyone properly by preference without making stuff up always works.”
You say, “Don’t worry about the details of this; the important thing is that it’s potentially very complicated. And in practice, it’s impossible to predict such a sophisticated system of tactical voting without knowledge of the other ballots. The only reason I bring this up is to mention that our system /does/ have an option to let people see the current rankings prior to the closing of the poll.”
Ali thinks.
You say, “This will not be enabled for the mayoral election.”
BunnyHugger nods.
Skyler nods.
You say, “And the reason is because a sophisticated voter, voting tactically and given knowledge of the current state of the ballot, can vote ‘dishonestly’ about their preferences to skew the results.”
BunnyHugger nods sadly.
Ali says, “Wouldn’t your example, though mathematically sound, be anathema to the voters? Whoever is likeliest to runoff to the hated candidate would be the candidate most like the ‘bad’ one, therefore with the mostsimilarity to them, and therefore the ‘second-most hated’?”
Skyler would like to see the example played out.
You say, “Indeed. But their goal is not to see kappa elected, but beta not elected.”
Ali thinks she has introduced unnecessary complications to this seminar. Sorry.
You say, “Fortunately, without being able to see the current results, one would have to be able to accurately predict the way everyone else is voting. This is not likely and in its absence, one’s best strategy is to vote honestly about one’s preferences.”
You say, “That is the take-away of this aside.”
Skyler nods.
Ali heh. “In short: ‘It doesn’t work, so don’t do that.’
PatchO’Black has arrived.
You say, “To return to the example, remember that we’re going to eliminate the least popular choice, ‘white’, from all ballots. I will now redisplay the old ballots for review and the new ones.”
PatchO’Black mews, “Hi!”
Zeta nods to PatchO’Black, “Hello.”
Ali says, “hi, Patch. Have a seat.”

<Quote-O-Matic: Zeta>
Voters (pre-elimination):
A: Black, White, Off-White
B: Off-White, White, Black
C: White, Off-White, Black
D: Off-White, Black, White
E: Off-White, White
F: White
G: Off-White, White, Black
H: Black, White
I: Black, Off-White
J: Black
K: White, Off-White
L: Black, White, Off-White
M: Black
N: Off-White
<Quote-O-Matic Finished>

<Quote-O-Matic: Zeta>
A: Black, Off-White
B: Off-White, Black
C: Off-White, Black
D: Off-White, Black
E: Off-White
F: [Empty ballot. Not counted.]
G: Off-White, Black
H: Black
I: Black, Off-White
J: Black
K: Off-White
L: Black Off-White
M: Black
N: Off-White
<Quote-O-Matic Finished>

You say, “The second listing is simply a replication of the first with all ‘white’ choices removed.”
You say, “We now do another round of counting #1 votes and see if someone has a majority.”

<Quote-O-Matic: Zeta>
R1 R2
Black 6 6
White 3
Off-White 5 7

Total: 14 13
Majority: 8 7
<Quote-O-Matic Finished>

PatchO’Black looks confused.
Zeta nods, “Regretfully, PatchO’Black, you have arrived in the middle of an information session regarding this election’s new voting system, and I do not have time to provide a full review. Fortunately, a transcript will be posted. Further, you are free to participate in the test votes we’re about to perform. I believe there can still be a degree of edifying value in that activity.”
Zeta brushes her tail and turns back to the others. “Here in round 2, Off-White has received more than half the remaining votes, and is the winner.”
You say, “In order to keep things simple, this example had only two rounds. In a more complicated situation with more choices we may have continued, eliminating another choice, and so forth until one of the remaining candidates had captured a majority of #1 votes. We’re about to do some real voting, so we may see an example of this.”
You say, “Are there any questions before I introduce the hands-on portion of the session?”
BunnyHugger shakes her head.
Ali sips some water.
Ping squeaks, “I suppose in some ways this better answers the question of “fewer people disliked this selection” than “more people liked this particular selection”? (the latter being FPTP)”
Jaxen raises a paw.
Dragoncat has connected.
You say, “Ping, no. I consider it more that it answers the questions, ‘If one cannot have their first choice, what would they pick as second?'”
Sally has disconnected.
Ping apologizes for preempting Jaxen’s pawraise… “Ah.”
BunnyHugger says, “Yes, one might *quite like* the top three of ten, or whatever.”
Dragoncat has disconnected.
Ping squeaks, “Okay.”
You say, “Two years ago, I received three write-in votes, for example. These votes were effectively thrown away. Under IRV, they would not have been.”
You say, “As I would have been, I believe, the first candidate eliminated.”
You say, “Yes, Jaxen.”
Jaxen says, “To be clear, is only a single candidate eliminated per round? What if two are tied for the least number of votes?”
Ali lifts her ears. Didn’t think to ask that.
Ping hms. “Could that happen without someone else getting more than half the votes?”
You say, “Good question. As there is no fair way to break ties, it was decided that both would be eliminated. This is not as terrible as it sounds at first: If only one choice were eliminated rather than both, and there was still no simple majority winner, then the other choice would likely still be the least popular in the next round and subsequently eliminated.”
You say, “Yes, Ping.”
Ali says, “Consider Zeta’s example of the split vote, Ping.”
Ping ahhs. Right, then.
Ali hm.
You say, “This explanation glosses over some possibilities: For example, if one candidate is eliminated their votes could go to the other unpopular candidate, making them more popular than a third candidate.”
Zeta makes a cutting motion in the air.
Ali says, “Which points up a flaw in IRV, doesn’t it?”
You say, “However, these examples, while possible, are somewhat degenerate and again: There is no good way to determine how to resolve a tie.”
Ali has some suggestions.
You say, “Not directly, Ali, but it is somewhat related to a concept know as the Condorcet Winner.”
You say, “Ali, there are some intuitive ways to resolve the issue but: One, elimination of both candidates is not a bad approach. Amongst other things, it is understandable by everyone, and that’s important. Two, it is easy to implement. Three, in practice it’s a minor concern.”
Ali nods, and doesn’t disagree with any of those.
Ping nods.
Ali is a pragmatic fox.
Skyler hmms. “Oh, the demonstration, Zeta?”
You say, “I hope that satisfies. However, even if it does not, concerns of a temporal nature compell me to move on.”
Ali wasn’t going to spew suggestions about NOW anyway.
Justin has arrived.
Zeta nods. “In addition to the vote.muf program, Master Morticon has been characteristically wise enough to create another program designed to permit the electorate to experiment with the system. This other program is the same code base as vote.muf, but does not spam the MUCK with poll announcements.”
BunnyHugger smiles.
You say, “Hello, Justin. We have finished an explanation of the voting systems and are about to conduct a practice poll. I apologize that I cannot offer a review of what has been covered so far, but it will be available as a transcript tomorrow.”
Justin nods.
Zeta turns back to the others and raises a paw, an oddly humanoid gesture. “I have seeded this system with two questions. To make results more realistic, I have included questions on which one might conceivably have an opinion. The first poll is ‘Favorite Genre of Music’. The second is ‘Favorite Planet in the Sol Solar System.’
Ping grins.
You say, “In a moment, I’m going to provide the command to access the system and ask that those in attendance answer the first question, Favorite Genre of Music, and make a note of their choices. I will leave the poll open for 5 minutes and then close it and we will all examine the results.”
You say, “If we have time and interest we will then answer the second poll. Please do not do so yet.”
You say, “Are there any questions?”
BunnyHugger shakes her head.
Ali produces a notebook.
You say, “The command is ‘votetest’.”
You say, “300 seconds until the poll closes.”
Ali aw. No jazz.
[OOC] Zeta says, “I was pressed for time and did not enable write-ins.”
Ping squeaks, “For clarification… Does a higher-numbered vote indicate a greater pereference for that, or less?”
Dragoncat says, “Higher number?”
Ping squeaks, “1 to 10.”
Ali says, “First mentioned is higher preference.”
You say, “Good question: One or more choices may be entered, in order of preference. In other words, ‘1’ is the most preferred choice.”
Ping squeaks, “Oh, the *order*. sorry.”
You say, “Intuitively, remember you’re /ranking/ the choices in order of preference.”
Dragoncat nods to Ping.
PatchO’Black wanders off…
You say, “If you ever forget, remember your number one choice comes first.”
PatchO’Black has left.
Ping squeaks, “Right, that’s the key point I’d forgotten. ;)”
Ali suspects lettering the candidates rather than numbering them may improve that confusion. Maybe.
You say, “15 seconds.”
You say, “It’s a fair point, Ali. Unfortunately, with polls opening soon and MUF’s conversion of letters to subscripts being non-trivial, I don’t think there’s time for Master Morticon to implement the alteration with confidence that it will not introduce regression.”
Zeta tapes her wrist and closes the topic.
Ali nods. Hadn’t considered it until seeing Ping’s confusion just now.
Dragoncat prefers numbers.
Ping apologizes, she’s bizarrely sleep-deprived from having gotten way too much sleep, recently, and isn’t thinking very clearly.
Ali pets wizmouse
You say, “I see that four of you have also disobeyed orders and already voted on the second poll. Fortunately, I am not your XO.”
You say, “Regardless:”
<Quote-O-Matic: Zeta>
Favorite Musical Genre
Added on 01/31/12 by Zeta
Closed on 01/31/12 by Zeta

vote: Building table…

Full list of choices:
1. Baroque
2. Classical
3. Metal
4. Pop
5. Rap
6. Raggae
7. Rock and Roll
8. Romantic
9. Techno
10. Punk

Classical 3 4 5 6
Rock and Roll 5 6 6 7 <<WON
Punk 1
Metal 1
Techno 2 3
Baroque 1
Pop 1
Romantic 1

TOTAL 13 13 13 13

You say, “In this example, Rock and Roll won.”
BunnyHugger nods.
Ali says, “So, Punk and Metal had no first-place choices until the third round.”
You say, “It’s also a good example of multiple, unpopular choices being eliminated in round 1.”
You say, “Correct, Ali.”
Ping’s opinions on music are, evidently, unpopular. 😉
You say, “Another aspect of the system is it’s possible to view anonymized voting cards after the fact. Ideally, this would be unnecessary. But as last time there were accusations of voter fraud, it was felt that transparency was worthwhile at a small potential risk to privacy. The voting cards were as follows:”
Ali’s, on the other hand, are widely agreed on. Had R&R first, then Classical.
Azure puts an arm around Ping, “I know the feeling.”
Garrison would have voted for ‘TV THeme Song’ 🙂

<Quote-O-Matic: Zeta>
Here are the voting cards for topic:
Favorite Musical Genre


You say, “The order is randomized.”
Ali says, “No it isn’t. It’s sorted by preference.”
Dragoncat says, “Yeah.”
Ping raspberries Ali.
You say, “Whichever. This is for those who don’t trust Master Morticon’s algorithm to run their own analysis by hand.”
Ali nods.
Ali says, “Almost half the voters didn’t do a complete ranking.”
BunnyHugger says, “That wouldn’t really prevent ‘fraud,’ would it? I think the concerns in the last election related to whether people were multiple voting, unless I heard wrong.”
You say, “I hope that those displeased with the outcome of the election will have the maturity not to research social choice theory simply to discover a means of analysis which derives a more preferred outcome and protest it into endless drama.”
BunnyHugger shakes her head.
Zeta brushes her tail and says flatly, “But inductive observation of human behavior makes me doubt it.”
Ali shrugs.
Ping giggles.
You say, “BunnyHugger, yes. In particular alt-voting did occur. However, not to an extent that would have impacted the results.”
Ali thinks there is nothing to complain about: the rules are not unduly unfair, and are explained a priori.
You say, “And further, the voting program now checks the alt-list.”
Ali says, “… there’s a The Alt List?”
BunnyHugger says, “The alt list is, I know from testing mine, not infallible, unfortunately.”
BunnyHugger says, “Although I had mine corrected when I discovered this.”
Dragoncat says, “An Alt list?”
Justin nods to BunnyHugger. Same issue.
Dragoncat says, “As in alternative players?”
BunnyHugger says, “It’s a property that’s supposed to be on you that lists your alts, viewable only by wizards.”
You say, “Ali, all characters have a hidden preference property visible only to the wizards which lists the alts. It is not, however, ever accessed except when a new alt is made or in the case of someone avoiding a ban.”
BunnyHugger nods.
Ali chuckles.
You say, “In SpinDizzy the philosophy is to err on the side of trust and privacy.”
BunnyHugger nods.
Austin says, “Primarily, it’s a way of making sure we don’t accidentally idle-purge anyone if, say, they have a character who’s on regularly, or making sure that someone who’s to stay off the muck is in fact staying off.”
Ali says, “It sounds very much like military or law enforcement DNA records. OFFICIALLY ‘only accessed if necessary’….”
You say, “In this case, the alt-list is checked by a program and not made visible.”
Ali says, “This tickles my dystopian funnybone.”
You say, “Nonetheless: It isn’t.”
Dragoncat nods.
Austin says, “Well, Ali, in point of fact, the wizards dno’t care who your secret alt is. Or anyone’s secret alt, really. You might be surprised how uninteresting a topic it is.”
Zeta tail-flicks a shrug. “I trust Master Morticon and the other wizards. Regardless, this isn’t the venue for this discussion. Are there any questions related to IRV or the implementation of the program before we continue with the second poll?”
Ali says, “Of course. The SED and its head are markedly more honest than real governments.”
Skyler says, “Ready, Zeta!”
Beltrami frowns at Ali.
Ali hasn’t got a secret alt. Has only one alt who is known and virtually never used.
Justin says, “Onward.”
Azure yips, “Ready!”
You say, “Master Morticon’s word is very important to him.”
Dragoncat has no alts, or secret alts. Has a puppet or two.
Ali says, “What now, Beltrami? I am dead serious. At least the SED ADMITS they’re an evil megalomaniacal society bent on power.”
You say, “Very well. Moving on: Please vote for your favorite planet. Assuming you haven’t already disobeyed orders and done so.”
In a page-pose to you, Morticon nods.
Jaxen says, “We are side tracking.”
You say, “The SED is not an evil megalomaniacal society bent on power.”
Ping squeaks, “Our ability to associate alts is, of course, largely based on users’ willingness to understand and believe our reasons for having an individual’s alts associated with each other – technical purposes only.”
Somewhere on the muck, Morticon has connected.
BunnyHugger nods.
Zeta says without a trace of irony, “We are a progressive organization for the purposes of creating a better future of meritocracy. But please use the poll. Jaxen is correct.”

Azure yips, “May we protest the exlcusion of Ceres, Haumea, Makemake, Eris, and Pluto?”
Justin giggles.
You say, “No.”
Dragoncat says, “Makemake? Ceres?”
You say, “180 seconds.”
[OOC] Jaxen says, “Minor Planets.”
Ali says, “Ceres is the largest body in the asteroid belt, estimated about as large as Pluto.”
Dragoncat nods.
Ping giggles.
J.P. has arrived.
J.P. wavies.
Pyralis looks to Azure, “This is about major league planets. Those little kid planets can stay in the stands!”
Dragoncat hugs Pyralis.
Ali chuckles. “I guess that’s why Sedna was left off, too.”
BunnyHugger giggles.
J.P. snugs Beltrami!
Dragoncat says, “But Pluto did overthrow Neptune’s rank in the planetary order.”
Pyralis eeps! And hugs. Squee!
BunnyHugger says, “I would like to campaign for Jupiter on the grounds that Kant thought it was the most likely to have intelligent life on it besides Earth.”
Chitter says, “No campaigning!”
Ali says, “It does that every few thousand years.”
Chitter pokes BunnyHugger!
BunnyHugger says, “Ow.”
Dragoncat nods.
Morticon has arrived.
Austin smiles.
Beltrami waves to Morticon!
You say, “As a parenthetical: My understanding is the final draft of the ballot will be posted soon. I encourage those desiring ‘write-ins’ to check it and add Pluto if necessary. Like these polls, I understand that the mayoral election poll will not be modifiable after it is open, as a courtesy to those who have to vote early.”
You say, “60 seconds.”
Ping waves to Morticon.
Dragoncat says, “Looks like your ballot system is working like a charm!”
Ali says, “Jupiter… is a gas giant! crushing doom! Intellingent life? No way, not there it Kant.”
Zeta stands on her hind legs and tail-flicks a sharp salute to Morticon. “Sir.”
Morticon is just here to observe.
Ali eeps, grand wizard conjunction!
Azure yips, “Balloon folk zipping about inside it?”
Azure waves to Morticon cheerilly.
BunnyHugger says, “Maybe that’s what he thought, Azure.”
Beltrami rocks on her feet.
Zeta nods and drops to all fours before tapping at her wrist and closing the poll.
Ali says, “Doubtful, Az. But if there is, I’l gladly shake their… um… greeting appendages.”
[OOC] Jaxen says, “Jupiter’s moon Europe is the most likely place to find Non-Earth life in the solar system.”
[OOC] Ali says, “Yay water. ^>^”
You say, “Another somewhat dull result:”

<Quote-O-Matic: Zeta>
Venus 1
Earth 6 7 <<WON
Jupiter 2
Neptune 3 3
Mercury 1
Mars 1
Saturn 1
Uranus 1

TOTAL 13 13
<Quote-O-Matic Finished>

Austin says, “Are we sure they weren’t voting for earths from different dimensions?”
Ali says, “I am surprised by the popularity of Neptune.”
You say, “I presume, Austin, they were voting for the best of all possible worlds.”
Azure is surprised he’s the only one who ranked mercury first.
BunnyHugger bounces.
You say, “But that’s only my most candid opinion.”
Pyralis did pick mercury, just not first!
Ali is surprised Azure ranked Mercury first!
Ali thought Azure might pick Neptune because it is blue.
BunnyHugger bounces more.
You say, “He is mercurial.”
BunnyHugger seems delighted.
Ali is surprised she was the only one who #1’d Mars.
Azure chuckles, “Why are you happy, Professor BunnyHugger?”
Beltrami grins.
BunnyHugger says, “Because Zeta is making jokes that delight me.”
Garrison chuckles
Pyralis #1’d Uranus… she’s bored okay?
Dragoncat thought Ali’d have voted Jupiter #1.
Chitter flicks his tail.
Ali says, “Why so, DC?”
Dragoncat says, “You said you liked it?”
You say, “I do have a sense of joviality as a rhetorical device, BunnyHugger. That I do not express is only testament to a lack of personal interest and and observation of its rather poor applicability. Regardless: I hope these sample polls have been interesting. Are there are specific questions before I open the floor to more general ones?”
Ali says, “I did? It’s a fine planet. I ranked it 4th.”
Skyler says, “I’m good here, Zeta.”
BunnyHugger shakes her head.
Ali says, “Can we see the votes?”
You say, “Very well.”
Ping footnotes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting
You say, “Type votetest, (S)ee results of closed topics, select poll 9, and check See (V)oting Cards, Ali.”
You say, “It should be available to everyone.”
Ali nods.
Jaxen nodes to Zeta.
You say, “But for convenience I will replicate the results here.”
Dragoncat says, “Interesting. So, if voting went a certain way, it’s possible that a entity that did not recieve any votes in the first round could still recieve votes, hmm?”
Jaxen eats an e. :9

<Quote-O-Matic: Zeta>
<Quote-O-Matic Finished>

Ali nods. “We saw that very thing happen in the music poll, too.”
You say, “Yes, Dragoncat. In fact, they could still win.”
You say, “Say for example, a candidate receives no #1 votes but is #2 for many eliminated candidates.”
BunnyHugger says, “In a sample I ran at one point playing with the vote test software, I had one come out so that the winner had no first place votes.”
You say, “In practice, however, it is difficult for a candidate who received no #1 votes in the first round to pull ahead.”
Skyler says, “Of course, that scenario is hard to predict, so again, it comes back to one’s genuine preferences.”
You say, “Those who appear as #1s tend to appear as #2s as well.”
Dragoncat nods.
You say, “As BunnyHugger states, however, it can happen.”
Ali says, “Interesting. By these criteria, the Condorcet winner might have been Mars instead of Earth.”
You say, “Ali, if there are no other questions, would you like to see an example where IRV does not select the condorcet winner?”
Ping notices that two voters’ preferences were identical up until the fifth choice. Interesting.
Ali says, “That’s okay, Zeta. I looked it up when you mentioned it and saw the Wikipedia examples.”
J.P. whispers, “J.P. fuzzles your tail.” to you.
Ali says, “look again, Ping. FOUR were identical for the first four.”
Ping squeaks, “Zeta what does the term ‘condorcet winner’ refer to?”
You say, “Ping, let’s say there’s one candidate who wins in a head to head vote against everyone else.”
Ali chuckles. Hers was the 4,3,6,5 line – flipping pairs of the most popular series.
Zeta nods. “In other words, say that Master Morticon can beat anyone in this room in an election containing only himself and one other candidate at a time.”
Ping squeaks, “Ahh, okay. I see.”
You say, “Such a candidate is considered the ‘Condorcet winner’. The term is named after a political philosopher and mathematician who created a voting method to find such a winner.”
Azure yips, “And there is a voting system where you do exactly that: pick one of two for each pair drawn from the set of candidates.”
You say, “Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, did as well.”
You say, “One of the ‘failings’ of IRV is that it does not necessarily pick a condorcet winner. Consider the following example:”

<Quote-O-Matic: Zeta>
199 ballots 3 ballots 198 ballots
1. Alpha 1. Beta 1. Kappa
2. Beta 2. Kappa 2. Beta
3. Kappa 3. Alpha 3. Alpha
<Quote-O-Matic Finished>

Justin has left.
You say, “Let us examine a head to head competition of the candidates.”
Ping listens.
You say, “In a run off between just Alpha and Beta, how many votes would each receive? Assume that the ballots accurately represent the preferences of the voters.”
Zeta brushes her tail with an expression of infinite patience.
BunnyHugger says, “Alpha would get 199; Beta 201…?”
Ping grins. “I think I see where you’re going with this now…”
You say, “Correct.”
You say, “And in a runoff between Beta and Kappa?”
Skyler says, “Same.”
BunnyHugger says, “Beta 202, Kappa 198.”
You say, “So who is the Condorcet winner?”
Bigears has arrived.
J.P. snugs Bigears.
Bigears hugs everybody.
Beltrami smiles.
You say, “The Condorcet winner is the one who would win in a head to head competition against everyone else. Hence it is ‘Beta’. However, who is the IRV winner?”
BunnyHugger says, “Oh!”
Bigears looks. “SQUIRREL!” He looks! !@.@!
Somewhere on the muck, Sora has connected.
J.P. grins.
J.P. cuddles Bigears and fuzzles fennecears!

<Quote-O-Matic: Zeta>
R1 R2
Alpha 199 199
Beta 3
Kappa 198 201
<Quote-O-Matic Finished>

BunnyHugger nods. “Kappa.”
Ping frowns. Her head is spinning a bit, suddenly unable to do simple addition. She’ll revisit the log.
Azure noses between Ping’s ears.
You say, “Correct. This is one of the properties of Arrow’s Impossibility theorem that IRV fails: The group as a whole prefers Beta to all other candidates, but they do not win the election. This is a little complicated but there are two reasons not to be concerned by it:”
Bigears is the omega fennec.
Morticon . o O ( I’m just lucky I only had to implement it, not worry about the theory. 🙂 )
Somewhere on the muck, Elandra has connected.
You say, “One, again, in practice it’s rare. We’ve had two polls tonight with nothing close to this.”
J.P. pets Azure.
Xor has arrived.
Ali finds her attention attracted to the theory. 🙁
J.P. pounces Xor!
Xor returns, “Hello!”
You say, “Two, First Past The Post suffers from the same problem.”
Xor flops!
BunnyHugger nods.
J.P. grins and pets.
Garrison skunks Xor!
J.P. squirrels Garrison!
Bigears yrfs, “bagels Garrison.”
Bigears gahs.
Xor *bamf* Also, sprawls. Also — …Bigears? Whoa.
You say, “In this instance, for example, it would have outright given the victory to Alpha. Kappa at least better represents the populace’s desires.”
Ali says, “IRV is better than FPTP across the board.”
You say, “There is at least one notable exception, Ali, but I won’t get into it tonight.”
Bigears roxs Xor. With a real roc. THUMP.
Xor splatters.
Bigears poses derpily to Morti. Derp. 9.6
J.P. eeps?
J.P. fuzzles Bigears.
Skyler hmms. “Would I be correct to say that we’ve reached the end of the discussion, minus a couple questions, Zeta?”
Bigears notes Xor would not be crushed by a roc. Much less noticed as they is a giant bird that preys on elephants and carries them off.
Garrison hugs Bigears!
Bigears hugs Garrison!
Bigears hugs Xor!
You say, “That is an accurate assessment, Skyler. Are there any questions which do not require social choice theory logic?”
Bigears fluffs J.P.!
Ali thinks FPTP is the very worst voting system, and believes it is only in use by tradition in countries directly descended from the UK.
Xor says, “Well, if it fell on me, I’d splatter.”
Xor hugs Bigears!
Ali chuckles.
Jaxen earperks. Then noses Bigger ears!
Bigears coldwetnoses Jaxen!
Jaxen eeps then ruffles the fennec ears. 🙂
BunnyHugger says, “I have a kind of silly question just to satisfy curiosity. On the highly unlikely chance of an N-way tie at any stage of voting, what does the vote program do?”
You say, “It stops.”
Morticon says, “It does?”
BunnyHugger says, “So — it declares a tie?”
You say, “I believe, Sir? It does if all that remains is an N-way tie.”
You say, “You can see these results in the best wizard poll, wherein Ping tied with the Wizard of Oz.”
BunnyHugger says, “I see, I missed that one.”
Morticon says, “Oh! Yes. It basically keeps going until there are no choics left from the cards. No winner is declared, and the polling operator would have to decide the enxt steps.”
Bigears sits up salutes. Misunderstood and thought the election was happening now. “Adios amigos.”
Ali heh.
Bigears is glommed down and swept away by a plastic hippopotamus mouth.
Bigears has left.
Ping turns a bit pinkish.
You say, “Hopefully it will not be necessary.”
You say, “Further questions?”
BunnyHugger shakes her head.
You say, “And that was a good one, BunnyHugger.”
Morticon agrees!
BunnyHugger smiles.
You say, “Hearing none: Thank you for the attendance in my presentation. I hope that it has been useful and elucidating. If anything is still confusing, you may page #mail me, and I will do the best I can to clarify anything to the best of my ability as a service of the SED.”
Zeta nods coolly and blacks the monitors.
Morticon adds, “THough bug reports should be sent to me.”

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