Idle Weekend November 25, 2016: Happy Dishonored Black Friday

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Idle Weekend November 25, 2016:


Happy Dishonored Black Friday
It's a holiday weekend! Which means we're finally getting to catch up with our beloved games, including Dishonored 2, which everyone is currently enjoying like a fine Karcannan Plantain, heaped upon a golden plate. We're also ready to feast upon a plentiful mailbag, and enjoy a bunch of smaller leftovers. Happy Dishonored Thanksgiving Weekend, everyone!

The Good Bundle, discussed in the episode, is available here:

Discussed: Dishonored 2, The Good Bundle, Catlateral Damage, EarthTongue, Pokemon Sun and Moon, Ultimate General: Gettysburg, Ultimate General: Civil War, Battlefield 1, Mass Effect, The Walking Dead: Season 1, Game of Thrones, Eminem, Say Anything, the films of Hitchcock, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., election 2016, Colored Candles, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (novel and TV series)


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maybe a weird thing to compliment you on, but A++ ad read guys.

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Oh no. Don't promote Instant Run-off Voting, It's the false prophet of voting reform that makes the whole thing look bad. 5 US cities have already repealed their IRV




There's not much of better argument than that. At least under plurality 3rd parties manage some success such as in the UK.

Ranked Choice voting, such as IRV, is a poor system (in single-winner elections).


But there an easy alternative voting reform that's better than IRV by every standard: Approval/Score voting where rather than ranking each candidate a voter gives each candidate an approval or a score respectively


Read more here:


Here are some reasons why IRV(how I'll refer to Alternate Vote/ Ranked-choice voting) pales in comparison to Approval/Score voting;


'1. Basic Functionality


In Approval/Score voting, if any set of voters increase a candidate's score, it obviously can help them, but cannot hurt them. That is called monotonicity.

Analysis by W.D.Smith shows that about 15% of 3-candidate IRV elections are non-monotonic. 

That means voting for a candidate can hurt their chances, and voting against them can help them!


'2. Simplicity.


Approval/Score voting is much less likely to confuse voters. Spoilage rate is the percentage of ballots that are incorrectly filled out rendering them invalid.

Approval: 0.5%, Score: 1%, Plurality: 2%, IRV: 5%.[Source]

If the Score vote allows for abstains, then Score vote ballot can mark spoiled sections as abstains. This allows Score vote to have an even better spoilage rate than approval.


Another measure of simplicity is how easy it is to calculate the winner.

Approval/Score voting is simpler in the sense that it requires fewer calculations to perform an election. In a Approval/Score election the only calculation is tallying the vote for each candidate. However, IRV voting takes roughly that many calculations every 2 rounds. In a 135-candidate election like California Gubernatorial 2003, IRV would require about 67 times as many calculations.


'3. 2-party domination


As mentioned the countries that used IRV as of 2002, (Ireland, Australia, Fiji, and Malta) all are 2-party dominated in their IRV seats.

This is a result of ranked voting's exclusion of the middle phenomenon, where strategic voters will give the top two candidates first and last rank to make sure the lesser of two evils wins. forcing third parties into the middle where they cannot win.


In Approval/Score voting, when strategic voters approve/score the top two in an exaggerated manner, then they are still free to approve third parties or give them the same score. Consequently, it would still be entirely possible for third parties to win with Approval/Score voting.


The "National Election Study" showed that in 2000, among US voters who honestly liked the third party better than every other candidate, fewer than 1 in 10 actually voted for them. These voters did not wish to "waste their vote" and wanted "maximum impact" so they voted either of the top two as their favourite. But Approval/Score voting lets voter express their opinion on every candidate independently so there is no vote wasting.


Here is a proof that this kind of insincere-exaggerating voter-strategy is strategically-optimal 100% of the time with IRV voting.


'4. Ties & near-ties


Remember how Bush v Gore, Florida 2000, was officially decided by only 537 votes, and this caused a huge lawsuit and chad-examining crisis? Ties and near-ties are bad. In IRV there is potential for a tie or near-tie every single round. That makes the crisis-potential inherent in IRV much larger than it has to be. That also means that in IRV, every time there is a near-tie among two no-hope candidates, we have to wait, and wait, and wait, until we have the exact vote totals for the Flat-Earth candidate and for the Alien-Kidnapping candidate since every last absentee ballot has finally arrived... before we can finally decide which one to eliminate in the first round. Only then can we proceed to the second round. We may not find out the winner for a long time. The precise order in which the no-hopers are eliminated matters because it can affect the results of future rounds in a repeatedly amplifying manner.




Meanwhile, in Approval/Score voting, the only thing that matters is the top scorer. Ties for 5th place, do not matter in the sense they do not lead to crises. Furthermore, with score voting all votes can real numbers such as 0-9, so exact ties are even less likely still. Exact ties in Approval/Score elections can thus be rendered extremely unlikely, while exact ties (or within 1) in IRV elections can be extremely likely. Which situation do you prefer?


'5. Communication needs


Suppose an election is carried out at 1000 different polling locations. In Approval/Score voting, each location can then count its own local tally for each candidate and send it to the central agency, which then adds up the local tallies into a final tally and announces the winner. 


That is very simple. That is a very small amount of communication (1 local tally per candidate at each polling place), and all of it is one-way. Furthermore, if some location finds it made a mistake or forgot some votes, it can send a corrected local tally, and the central agency can then easily correct the full total by doing far less work than everybody completely redoing everything.


But in IRV voting, we cannot do these things because IRV is not additive. There is no such thing as a tally in IRV. In IRV every single vote may have to be sent individually to the central agency.


 If the central agency then computes the winner, and then some location sends a correction, that may require redoing almost the whole computation over again. There could easily be many such corrections and so you'd have to redo everything many times. Combine this scenario with a near-tie and legal and extra-legal battle like in Bush-Gore Florida 2000 over the validity of every vote, and this adds up to a complete nightmare for the election administrators.


'6. Voter Expression


In Approval/Score voting, voters can express the idea that they think 2 candidates are equal. In IRV, they cannot.


Some voters want to just vote for one candidate, plurality-style. In Approval/Score voting they can do that. In IRV, they can't do it.


Score voters can express the idea they are ignorant about a candidate. In IRV, they can't choose to do that.


IRV voters who decide, in a 3-candidate election, to rank A top and B bottom, then have no choice about C – they have to middle-rank them and can in no way express their opinion of C. In range voting, they can.


If you think Buddha>Jesus>Hitler, undoubtedly some of your preferences are more intense than others. Range voters can express that. IRV voters cannot.


'7. Bayesian Regret (Voter Happiness)


Extensive computer simulations of millions of artificial "elections" by W.D.Smith show that Approval/Score voting is the best single-winner voting system, among a large number compared by him (including IRV, Borda, Plurality, Condorcet, Eigenvector, etc.) in terms of a statistical yardstick called "Bayesian regret". This is true regardless of whether the voters act honestly or strategically, whether the number of candidates is 3,4, or 5, whether the number of voters is 5 or 200, whether various levels of "voter ignorance" are introduced, and finally regardless of which of several randomized "utility generators" are used to generate election scenarios.


Smith's papers on voting systems are available here :


'8. A bunch of stupid little things about IRV;

[simple winner=loser IRV paradox


[IRV is self-contradictory

[IRV ignores votes

[IRV can't be counted with a lot of existing voting equipment]

In summary:


The optimal means of running a single-winner vote is Approval/Score voting, where voters rate/score each candidate on a range (most commonly approve/disapprove or 0-9) with the winner being the one with the highest approval/average score.


Some benefits of range voting;

* It prevents vote-splitting.
* It allows voters greater expressiveness [[?]].
* It's simple, both in terms of counting and spoiled ballot rate[[?]].
* It reduces the chance of a tie or near-ties that force a recount[[?]].
* It elects condorcet winners more often than condorcet methods[[?]].
* It has no in-built bias towards centrism or extremism[[?]]
* It is monotonic, i.e. dishonesty is never a good strategy[[?]]. 
* Mathematical analysis suggest it minimises Bayesian Regret(Voters' unhappiness with result)[[?]]
* The nursey effect lets third parties more votes than expected if they can't win[[?]]. 
* It can used on any system that can do FPTP polls including existing US voting machines[[?]].
* It doesn't force 2-party domination[[?]].

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6 hours ago, juv3nal said:

maybe a weird thing to compliment you on, but A++ ad read guys.

Man, yeah. The ad reads in general on Idle Weekend are just hilarious. They kill me every time. :tup:

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I recently saw this on Facebook and felt it was relevant to your discussion of "creepy guys" in the movie Say anything. It's an article on Cracked ( about how Han Solo, Indiana Jones and James Bond taught you how to commit sexual assault.


It's kind of fascinating how the meaning of media can change as societely changes around it. A different variant is consider how the first Ace Ventura movie ends, and how completely impossible it would be to make that same end today. (I think the original Idle Thumbs crew brought that up some time ago.)

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I do kind of take issue with that "Forcing Yourself On Women Makes Them Love You" section of the cracked article.

I mean not in regard to the harm it does in propagating bad attitudes, but in it characterizing what is "supposed" to be going on in those films. I mean I guess I am just going by feeling here rather than having anything solid to back it up, but the impression I always got is not that the male characters forcing themselves on women made them love them, but that the women loved them all along but were too repressed (or whatever?) to admit it to themselves and the male characters in question are just preternaturally aware of that. To be sure, it's still misogynist as hell, don't get me wrong, but imo it's vaguely more plausible than stockholm syndrome++ within the space of 2 seconds that is being posited.

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On 27/11/2016 at 0:58 PM, Googolplexbyte said:

Oh no. Don't promote Instant Run-off Voting, It's the false prophet of voting reform that makes the whole thing look bad. 5 US cities have already repealed their IRV


There's not much of better argument than that. At least under plurality 3rd parties manage some success such as in the UK.

Ranked Choice voting, such as IRV, is a poor system (in single-winner elections).




It may have been accurate to say that Australian politics was two party dominated 20 years (or even 10 years) ago, but that was not because of "Instant Run-off Voting" or "preferential voting" as we call it (general social and cultural norms together with a lack of viable alternatives were more important). In the most recent election, only 75% of voters cast their first vote for the two major parties. The other 25% were for minor parties. This has had a profound effect on Australian politics where parties on the left and right of the spectrum have significant influence in the parliament. As Rob mentioned in the show, at the very least it means the centre parties do spend quite a lot of time having to shore up their base to stop votes drifting off to the fringe rather than fighting their opponent. 


While it is true that many votes that go to the fringe parties will come back to the major parties through preferences, the reduced primary vote for the majors (which are predicted to go below 70% in a few years) has already produced one minority government in the last few years and looks like it will lock in permanent minority governments for a long time to come where coalitions with third parties are mandatory to form government. All with IRV in place. 

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