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Author Topic: Random Stuff Part III  (Read 519952 times)

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Roadrunner7671

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2000 on: November 13, 2016, 06:04:00 pm »
0

Are there any cough drops that aren't gross?
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Lekkit

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2001 on: November 13, 2016, 06:41:02 pm »
0

On my way home after finishing an RPG campaign we've been playing for the last seven years. Feels pretty good.
Yeah I'd be sad if it was over

I'm not. As I said, we've been playing this campaign for seven years. While we ended on a very epic and somewhat tragic note (my character had developed untreatable cancer from crawling inside a post apocalyptic nuclear power plant and passed away during the epilogue) we all kind of wanted to be done with it. All of us has played the same characters for at least 5 years. With me and another one having played the same character throughout the entire campaign. Getting to start over with new character who aren't epically good at everything will be fun, for sure.

Worth noting is that this was the campaing that came with the system and we included almost every single smaller official scenario and some inofficial ones as well.
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Kuildeous

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2002 on: November 13, 2016, 10:29:24 pm »
+1

On my way home after finishing an RPG campaign we've been playing for the last seven years. Feels pretty good.

Was the campaign that bad, if it feels good that it's over?

Just like TV shows, RPG games can get stagnant. Better to end on a high note than to keep trudging along.

And if the story is especially good, then it can have a satisfying end.
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silverspawn

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2003 on: November 17, 2016, 02:43:08 pm »
0

Played around with some effects. Didn't expect it to amount to anything, but...

I worked on it further (or made it into something else, rather). This is pretty fun. I unexpectedly feel slightly motivated to be productive again.
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Witherweaver

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2004 on: November 17, 2016, 02:50:55 pm »
+5

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Tables

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2005 on: November 17, 2016, 03:27:20 pm »
0

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...spin-offs are still better for all of the previously cited reasons.
But not strictly better, because the spinoff can have a different cost than the expansion.

SpaceAnemone

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2006 on: November 17, 2016, 06:10:37 pm »
+1

Played around with some effects. Didn't expect it to amount to anything, but...

I worked on it further (or made it into something else, rather). This is pretty fun. I unexpectedly feel slightly motivated to be productive again.

Be careful! I used to love doing stuff like that, and now I've ended up with a career in image analysis ;-)

You might also enjoy the book "Symmetry in Chaos: A Search for Pattern in Mathematics, Art, and Nature" by Martin Golubitsky & Michael Field. It generates similar-ish images, but using complex systems as a starting point, and covers different types of symmetries and symmetry-breaking. It's pretty trivial to code up some really nice stuff :-)
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Witherweaver

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2007 on: November 18, 2016, 05:53:25 pm »
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Does anyone have a link to that video where Donald was discussing different voting theories? It was posted somewhere on the boards, but I can't remember where and can't come up with the correct search string.
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Seprix

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2008 on: November 18, 2016, 09:31:45 pm »
+2

Does anyone have a link to that video where Donald was discussing different voting theories? It was posted somewhere on the boards, but I can't remember where and can't come up with the correct search string.

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Witherweaver

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2009 on: November 18, 2016, 09:54:06 pm »
0

Thanks sir.
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Donald X.

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2010 on: November 19, 2016, 11:59:11 am »
+9

Does anyone have a link to that video where Donald was discussing different voting theories? It was posted somewhere on the boards, but I can't remember where and can't come up with the correct search string.
Later I came up with one scheme that's just perfect, for a narrow situation that comes up everywhere constantly. I will share this wonderful thing with you. This is the text as written several years ago; I could tweak it a little to be clearer now (e.g. it should say "data loss" in a few places it says "data compression"), but I think it will do the job as written.

Quote
By voting reforms, I don't mean like making ballots clear or something. I mean, algorithms for doing a better job of going from "what people want" to "what people get." And conventional voting, I will tell you now, is awful at this.

The problem is data compression. You take everything about what one person wants in a president, for example, and compress it down into one bit of information - which of two candidates they prefer. Then you take millions of these bits - one per voter - and compress them down to one bit - who wins. Paint a picture of what Americans want in a president. To paint this picture you may use a single pixel, which you can make a particular shade of red or a particular shade of blue.

It's not quite that bad because of primaries, and you can argue about what chances exactly a 3rd party has, but whatever. There's massive data compression here. And the result is, well like I said, you do a poor job of turning what people want into what they get. You may still get some other value out of voting; that's not my topic today.

Sadly most voting reforms focus only on increasing the input. Instant run-off voting, for example, increases the number of bits of information each person puts into the system. But the output is still a single bit, so with millions of voters each voter can only contribute a tiny fraction of a bit to the result anyway. Increasing the input can address the problem of spoilers, and that's great, but mostly what you are accomplishing is letting people pretend to vote for a loser while casting their real vote for one of the two contenders.

I have a bunch of schemes for improving on conventional voting. Mostly they involve explaining tricky stuff to the voters, or have weird ways to game the system, or other problems. They are interesting thought experiments but need work. Today though I have a scheme to share that has no such issues. It manages to dodge problems my other ideas have, by only addressing a certain situation: voting for voters. As it happens people do this all the time so this is still useful.

So here is the scheme. I will use the U.S. House of Representatives for my example. It will apply to any situation where people vote on voters though.

1. Redraw the voting districts to be twice as big. Just join adjacent districts.
2. People vote for representatives in each district. It looks like classic voting here: pick your favorite guy.
3. Each representative getting at least 15% of the vote is elected. Potentially six people from any given district will make it in, or maybe just one.
4. In the House, when the representatives vote on things, each representative gets a number of votes equal to the number of people that voted for them. If 17,350 people voted for you, you get 17,350 votes in the House. You don't get to split your votes - anything you vote on, all 17,350 votes go the same way (or however many you got).

That's it. How many votes a representative gets depends on how many votes they got. In a typical district one or two people would make it into office, but possibly more would; in the long run you might want to make the voting districts a little larger to cut down on how many members of the House you end up with total.

The beauty of this system is that it's so easy to see how it works and what it gets you. The representatives are representing the voters, right? Doesn't this system therefore make way more sense than well not doing this? Once upon a time, large numbers were more work to deal with; today a computer just adds them up for you.

Let's say one district is 60% Apple party members, 30% Blueberry, 10% Carrot. Under the current system, the Apple gets in and gets one vote in Congress. The Blueberries and Carrots are unrepresented. With my proposal, the Apple and Blueberry candidates both get in, but in Congress the Apple guy's opinion counts for twice as much as the Blueberry guy's (well the district is twice as big but you know). This better corresponds to the reality of the district. The Carrot guy still doesn't make it in; I have to draw the line somewhere, so that everyone doesn't vote themselves into Congress, and if a party doesn't have a certain amount of support, maybe we would be scared to give them any power anyway.

One benchmark I like is, how does the voting reform do against gerrymandering? Gerrymandering doesn't do anything here unless you can get the enemy party below 15% somewhere. If you can't, they get the same number of votes no matter what you do. Gerrymandering can still be used against parties without much support in a region though, because of that 15% threshold. So, the district lines do matter, but not everywhere, and not as much as they currently do.

This system doesn't limit a party to one candidate in a district, and it's fine if two candidates for the same party win in a district - it doesn't give that party an advantage, since each candidate ends up with fewer votes and thus fewer votes in the House as a result. It might hurt that party though if they splintered so much that some of their people went below 15%, so in practice I think parties would have primaries and try to just have one guy running per district.

Overall this system seems obviously better than the current system, by the metric of, how well does it turn what people want into what they get. It represents people better than the current system, which seems like a fine thing to want out of representatives. So, get to it, governments!
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Seprix

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2011 on: November 19, 2016, 12:03:24 pm »
0

It's an interesting system, and the nice thing about it is that it can be simplified a tad with all of those huge numbers. Instead of 17k votes and all those huge numbers which scare people and turn them off, it can probably just be rounded down to say 17. It can always be expanded again if need be. That is taking representative democracy more literally than before. It's an interesting idea.

Another idea I have thought of is President major and President minor, where the second place person is President minor. That's kind of the whole VP being whoever loses in the past though, and that didn't work out too well then.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2016, 12:04:54 pm by Seprix »
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Witherweaver

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2012 on: November 19, 2016, 12:15:36 pm »
0

Interesting, thanks.  When you think about these things, do you formally go through and show which criteria it does and does not satisfy?  (I don't know much about voting theory, I'm just talking about what Wikipedia says.  Is that kind of the accepted evaluation technique?)
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Witherweaver

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2013 on: November 19, 2016, 12:18:58 pm »
0

That's kind of the whole VP being whoever loses in the past though, and that didn't work out too well then.

When was that done?  (Not a politics person here.)  I've always kind of thought that if I were ever to be president (not that I want to or am qualified), I'd select my main opponent(s) for major positions.  I haven't actually thought it through, just, seems to make sense to get people with different viewpoints to help you, as long as you can work together.
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Seprix

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2014 on: November 19, 2016, 12:31:30 pm »
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That's kind of the whole VP being whoever loses in the past though, and that didn't work out too well then.

When was that done?  (Not a politics person here.)  I've always kind of thought that if I were ever to be president (not that I want to or am qualified), I'd select my main opponent(s) for major positions.  I haven't actually thought it through, just, seems to make sense to get people with different viewpoints to help you, as long as you can work together.

It happened during the 1796 election, where nobody won, and John Adams ended up getting stuck with Thomas Jefferson as VP. It's an interesting time period too, because this election result basically formulated the 1-party system.

edit: I just realized I typed it so that it seemed like it happened all the time, sorry about that :P
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Witherweaver

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2015 on: November 19, 2016, 12:40:54 pm »
0

Quote
Let's say one district is 60% Apple party members, 30% Blueberry, 10% Carrot. Under the current system, the Apple gets in and gets one vote in Congress. The Blueberries and Carrots are unrepresented. With my proposal, the Apple and Blueberry candidates both get in, but in Congress the Apple guy's opinion counts for twice as much as the Blueberry guy's (well the district is twice as big but you know). This better corresponds to the reality of the district. The Carrot guy still doesn't make it in; I have to draw the line somewhere, so that everyone doesn't vote themselves into Congress, and if a party doesn't have a certain amount of support, maybe we would be scared to give them any power anyway.

In practice, how much different is Apple 2x Blueberry x vs just Apple in?  Blueberry is 'represented' but its vote gets dwarfed by Apple.  If our society were just this district, then it wouldn't be any different than just electing Apple alone (except for the extent to which Blueberry and Apple can influence each other while working in the same building, or whaterver).*  So we actually have lots of these, so you have an aggregate effect, though it's not clear to me how that plays out in practice. 

*I suppose one thing is that you'd have more opportunities for vote-trading, like, Apple needs Blueberry's support for this thing, so they promise to support Blueberry on their other thing, so that's a way in which Blueberry might get some policy in this system that they wouldn't be able to get in the current system. 
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SpaceAnemone

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2016 on: November 19, 2016, 01:15:05 pm »
0

It happened during the 1796 election, where nobody won, and John Adams ended up getting stuck with Thomas Jefferson as VP. It's an interesting time period too, because this election result basically formulated the 1-party system.

I know this from listening to Hamilton maaaaany times, and I'm not even American :-P
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Donald X.

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2017 on: November 19, 2016, 01:49:20 pm »
+2

Interesting, thanks.  When you think about these things, do you formally go through and show which criteria it does and does not satisfy?  (I don't know much about voting theory, I'm just talking about what Wikipedia says.  Is that kind of the accepted evaluation technique?)
I don't formally show anything or look up any criteria for judging things. I'm just entertaining myself.
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Seprix

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2018 on: November 19, 2016, 01:50:01 pm »
0

Everyone seems to like Hamilton.
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Witherweaver

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2019 on: November 19, 2016, 01:54:50 pm »
+5

Everyone seems to like Hamilton.

Not Aaron Burr.
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Kuildeous

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2020 on: November 19, 2016, 01:55:12 pm »
0

Everyone seems to like Hamilton.

The style of music doesn't quite suit me, but I do like bold musicals. I haven't really given it a really good listen, nor have I had the chance to see it on stage.

But it sounds like it's a smash.
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Donald X.

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2021 on: November 19, 2016, 02:05:45 pm »
+2

In practice, how much different is Apple 2x Blueberry x vs just Apple in?  Blueberry is 'represented' but its vote gets dwarfed by Apple.  If our society were just this district, then it wouldn't be any different than just electing Apple alone (except for the extent to which Blueberry and Apple can influence each other while working in the same building, or whaterver).*  So we actually have lots of these, so you have an aggregate effect, though it's not clear to me how that plays out in practice. 
It's a lot different! Our society is not just this district (and if it were, you could divide up that district so that it wasn't); the difference between a president and a parliament. And Apples aren't 100% party-line.

It is still a problem that then when the elected people themselves vote, they are using traditional awful voting. I have various approaches there, as you know from the video. The only perfect thing I have though is this method for voting on voters. In this one case you can just perfectly make each vote mean something, as much as it ever could, in a way that's very easy to understand.

In general it's ideal to replace voting with "choosing" as much as possible, everywhere that voting is used. The key concept of voting is "compare totals" and that just automatically throws away information about what people wanted. So in general my solution for "Congress votes on things" is to try to convert those votes to choices; for example instead of "vote on a budget" there's "each member gets a proportional amount of the budget to decide." That one example immediately doesn't work; everyone games the system, "you can put your money on roads like a chump, mine is 100% going to this thing only my party likes, oops no-one funded roads." But then you can work on, is there a way to fix that. In some cases there will be.

Obv. this innocent mathematical discussion should go to RSP, as people will helplessly bring in tangential issues.
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blueblimp

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2022 on: November 19, 2016, 05:08:14 pm »
+1

Later I came up with one scheme that's just perfect, for a narrow situation that comes up everywhere constantly. I will share this wonderful thing with you. This is the text as written several years ago; I could tweak it a little to be clearer now (e.g. it should say "data loss" in a few places it says "data compression"), but I think it will do the job as written.
You've probably heard of it already, but you might be interested in the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system, which is a multi-member district system used in a few places already. Your system has a much simpler ballot though, which is nice.
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Donald X.

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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2023 on: November 19, 2016, 07:42:04 pm »
0

You've probably heard of it already, but you might be interested in the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system, which is a multi-member district system used in a few places already. Your system has a much simpler ballot though, which is nice.
I am pretty familiar with voting systems. The one that's fun to say is Cloneproof Schwartz Sequential Dropping. The best simple system that doesn't increase the output (and thus sucks) is to give each candidate a score from 0-10, and add 'em up across voters. If people game the system it degenerates multiple times, ending up as approval voting, which is a fine simple system, if again you are willing to live with a 1-bit output, which you shouldn't be.

With STV, it's not the ranked list that makes things so much better, it's the output being more than one bit (due to the election determining a parliament). STV is providing additional bits of input, to a system that already had way more output than the vote for a president or Congressman. IRV in the USA would only get rid of spoilers (which is worth doing but a far cry from real reform).

It came up in the news a few years back, that Germany was increasing the size of their parliament, in order to have their representation be more proportional. Yet they could have had it be exact, perfect representation, with a smaller parliament than they already had. I thought, should I try to reach these people? But as always probably the move is to start with Sweden.
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Re: Random Stuff Part III
« Reply #2024 on: November 19, 2016, 10:41:46 pm »
0

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