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A rootin' tootin' separate thread about voting, collective action problems and game theory

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    spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Quid wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    A lot of people complain they don't want to vote for either the Democrat or the Republican, because their preferred candidate didn't make it out of the primaries. I feel that this reasoning is naive.

    You vote in the primary to get your preferred issues/candidates put forward.

    You vote in the general to elect the least bad option, because a non-vote is indistinguishable from a vote to default on the economy and plunge us back into a Mad Max style feudalistic society.

    The primary is when you play offense; the general election is when you play defense.
    Julius wrote: »
    Why is it so important that YOUR vote is the ONE VOTE that matters?

    From a position of rational self interest I should only ever do things that are beneficial to me.

    If my vote doesn't matter and voting requires a non-zero amount of effort, then there is no benefit to voting to me.

    I'd argue that in elections, unlike sports, running up the score has a tangible benefit. The percentage a candidate wins by can shift people's perspective on issues. So every single vote definitely has a non-zero value.

    But the differences between 250,000,000 and 250,000,001 is so close to zero as to be effectively zero.

    But still not zero. Which is the point. Every votes matters and has influence on society and future policy and elections. That you don't think it matters very much is has no bearing on the fact that it still matters.

    If the party/politician reacts the same to n or n+1, then the effect is nothing though. I find it highly doubtful that anyone would be influenced by n+1 differently from n where n is sufficiently large enough.

    But they don't react the same. You keep saying this but provide no proof. Every single digit one way or another provides a difference. Nobody reacts to two different numbers exactly the same, even if the difference in reaction is incredibly small.

    Given that election coverage and discussion is usually about percentages I find the suggestion that anyone actually cares about singular votes pretty dubious.

    Why would they even? A single vote tells you nothing, 27% of people will vote against you regardless of the merits of your positions. That single vote might be from someone who respectfully disagrees with your position for a good reason, but it could also easily be a vote from some crazy guy who just doesn't like your name.

    Are you claiming that people react to different things exactly the same?

    I'll hazard a guess not. Which means accepting that politicians react differently to 100 vs 101 votes for them. Even if it's only a small percentage it's still a difference.

    You guess it matters. I strongly suspect it does not. I think that the difference between n and n+1 is only meaningful in a small numbers game, and voting in the U.S. certainly is not a small numbers game.

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    JuliusJulius Captain of Serenity on my shipRegistered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    A lot of people complain they don't want to vote for either the Democrat or the Republican, because their preferred candidate didn't make it out of the primaries. I feel that this reasoning is naive.

    You vote in the primary to get your preferred issues/candidates put forward.

    You vote in the general to elect the least bad option, because a non-vote is indistinguishable from a vote to default on the economy and plunge us back into a Mad Max style feudalistic society.

    The primary is when you play offense; the general election is when you play defense.
    Julius wrote: »
    Why is it so important that YOUR vote is the ONE VOTE that matters?

    From a position of rational self interest I should only ever do things that are beneficial to me.

    If my vote doesn't matter and voting requires a non-zero amount of effort, then there is no benefit to voting to me.

    I'd argue that in elections, unlike sports, running up the score has a tangible benefit. The percentage a candidate wins by can shift people's perspective on issues. So every single vote definitely has a non-zero value.

    But the differences between 250,000,000 and 250,000,001 is so close to zero as to be effectively zero.

    But still not zero. Which is the point. Every votes matters and has influence on society and future policy and elections. That you don't think it matters very much is has no bearing on the fact that it still matters.

    If the party/politician reacts the same to n or n+1, then the effect is nothing though. I find it highly doubtful that anyone would be influenced by n+1 differently from n where n is sufficiently large enough.

    But they don't react the same. You keep saying this but provide no proof. Every single digit one way or another provides a difference. Nobody reacts to two different numbers exactly the same, even if the difference in reaction is incredibly small.

    Given that election coverage and discussion is usually about percentages I find the suggestion that anyone actually cares about singular votes pretty dubious.

    Why would they even? A single vote tells you nothing, 27% of people will vote against you regardless of the merits of your positions. That single vote might be from someone who respectfully disagrees with your position for a good reason, but it could also easily be a vote from some crazy guy who just doesn't like your name.

    Are you claiming that people react to different things exactly the same?

    I'll hazard a guess not. Which means accepting that politicians react differently to 100 vs 101 votes for them. Even if it's only a small percentage it's still a difference.

    But I'm not talking about situations where a vote makes a noticeable difference in percentage. One vote in a hundred thousand is a percentage of 0.001, which means it isn't usually reflected in the numbers we use. A difference of 1%? Sure that may have an effect. A difference of 0.1%? Maybe. A difference of 0.01%? Nah, who cares?

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    Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    edited July 2015
    The difference is the one wrapper can actually impact someone negatively if they come across it. The person watering their lawn actually reduces the amount of water that is available. Both are small impacts but they can occur. By contrast, if someone doesn't vote no one else is harmed. Their votes still count the same either way. The harm would only be if they fail to get the outcome they wanted because of the non-voter, but that is the single vote situation again, which is extremely unlikely in a large numbers game like voting in the U.S.

    Lower voting counts for your candidate means the chances they'll win shrink. Get them in high enough numbers and that takes out a significant portion of votes during an election. It doesn't matter how many people support a politician if not enough vote. This increases the chances of them losing and your politician will not get elected and your preferred policies won't get enacted into law. Chris Christie got where he is today by people voting for him, if he didn't he wouldn't have become New Jersey's governor.

    Harry Dresden on
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    spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    The difference is the one wrapper can actually impact someone negatively if they come across it. The person watering their lawn actually reduces the amount of water that is available. Both are small impacts but they can occur. By contrast, if someone doesn't vote no one else is harmed. Their votes still count the same either way. The harm would only be if they fail to get the outcome they wanted because of the non-voter, but that is the single vote situation again, which is extremely unlikely in a large numbers game like voting in the U.S.

    Lower voting counts for your candidate means the chances they'll win shrink. Get them in high enough numbers and that takes out a significant portion of votes during an election. It doesn't matter how many people support a politician if not enough vote. This increases the chances of them losing and your politician will not get elected and your preferred policies won't get enacted into law. Chris Christie got where he is today by people voting for him, if he didn't he wouldn't have become New Jersey's governor.

    Again, this is predicated on the behavior of other people. Unless your candidate loses by literally 1 vote, you do not hurt your candidate by not voting. That is the whole point.

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    Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    edited July 2015
    Interestingly, the lottery electoral system solves this thread's concern.

    Lottery voting means this:
    • Everyone gets one vote for one candidate
    • Each ballot is put into a big barrel and swished around
    • A ballot is randomly drawn, the candidate who is drawn is thus elected

    It tends to pick the condorcet winner, it is impossible to waste one's vote. Weird effects are: a party with 5% of the vote has a 5% chance of being elected.

    Which translates into it is always in your best interest to vote because you want your margins to be as large as possible to minimise the chances of an outlier result. or if you are an outlier to maximise the chances that you get an upset

    Edit: it is not technically voting, but language is hard.

    Apothe0sis on
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    ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    skfm is your argument based on the canonical game-theoretic Downs paradox-of-voting, or are you arguing from similar but not quite identical principles

    aRkpc.gif
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    Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    edited July 2015
    Again, this is predicated on the behavior of other people. Unless your candidate loses by literally 1 vote, you do not hurt your candidate by not voting. That is the whole point.

    It's never about 1 vote, though. 1 person don't vote in elections - it adds up when everyone does it. If everyone but you voted this wouldn't be as big a deal. Unfortunately this is how the majority acts.

    edit: It's also your civil duty as a citizen. It's a right people have fought over, it's not a right to ignore lightly.

    edit: You're too focused on what your vote does. It isn't about you, it's about electing this country's leaders. We need these leaders to be elected for the country to run.

    Harry Dresden on
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    JuliusJulius Captain of Serenity on my shipRegistered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    That doesn't actually answer the question. I do not control the behaviour of others, so their voting or not voting isn't relevant to my voting.

    It does when you vote and encourage others to vote with you.
    Like, if all of them had voted but I still hadn't we'd be getting the same results as if both them and I had voted. And if they didn't vote but I did the result would be no different from neither them nor I voting.

    Except you don't know the result until after the election and one less vote to the candidate you like means that's one less they have of winning an election. Once the election is won every political issue you have is in their hands, and you missed your chance to participate. The chances of your vote being the one which gets to be part of the portion that wins them an election dwindles to zero if you don't vote. Elections are determined by votes, lack of votes will impact them indirectly and the ones with the most votes wins.

    I don't need to know the result of the election to know my vote doesn't have an effect on it. If I hadn't voted last election the distribution would have been exactly the same. (Hell, I voted for a party that didn't even pass the threshold so neither my vote nor the vote of all those others mattered.)

    Also while encouraging others to vote may be in my interest, that doesn't mean my own voting is.

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    milskimilski Poyo! Registered User regular
    I hate the "people fought for this" argument on principle. It's absolutely terrible.

    I ate an engineer
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited July 2015
    There is virtually no scenario in which it is less rational to vote than it is not to vote.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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    Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    edited July 2015
    Julius wrote: »
    I don't need to know the result of the election to know my vote doesn't have an effect on it. If I hadn't voted last election the distribution would have been exactly the same. (Hell, I voted for a party that didn't even pass the threshold so neither my vote nor the vote of all those others mattered.)

    Your vote mattered, losing didn't invalidate your vote. McCain losing didn't mean the Republicans shouldn't have voted in the general when Obama won. You are only one person, why would you think your vote has to be the one to change the final outcome? It's the entire outcome that matters. Every vote counts to a candidate getting elected. It's not about each individuals vote, it's about voting as a bigger group the candidate can get - that determines who gets elected. You're not helping your favored candidate by not voting, you're making it easier for their competition to win. You'll be effected politically no matter the outcome, may as well try to get your candidate into office.
    Also while encouraging others to vote may be in my interest, that doesn't mean my own voting is.

    Nor does it hurt your candidate by doing it, while not voting does.

    Harry Dresden on
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    JuliusJulius Captain of Serenity on my shipRegistered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    There is virtually no scenario in which it is less rational to vote than it is not to vote.

    What if there are significant barriers to voting? Like in lots of places in the US?

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    spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    ronya wrote: »
    skfm is your argument based on the canonical game-theoretic Downs paradox-of-voting, or are you arguing from similar but not quite identical principles

    I had not read that theory before but it seems much the same as my position.

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    Crimson KingCrimson King Registered User regular
    we are looking at this question in the wrong way

    obviously, one vote is statistically insignificant

    obviously, one hundred thousand votes are statistically significant

    what is the smallest statistically significant number of votes

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    Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    milski wrote: »
    I hate the "people fought for this" argument on principle. It's absolutely terrible.

    And yet it is true.

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    DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    edited July 2015
    Julius wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    There is virtually no scenario in which it is less rational to vote than it is not to vote.

    What if there are significant barriers to voting? Like in lots of places in the US?

    I have to agree with this post, but only in that there can be legitimate problems with trying to vote in the United States based on various factors, and not because I approve of the current state of things.

    One should not have to choose between a day's wages and voting.

    DarkPrimus on
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    spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Again, this is predicated on the behavior of other people. Unless your candidate loses by literally 1 vote, you do not hurt your candidate by not voting. That is the whole point.

    It's never about 1 vote, though. 1 person don't vote in elections - it adds up when everyone does it. If everyone but you voted this wouldn't be as big a deal. Unfortunately this is how the majority acts.

    edit: It's also your civil duty as a citizen. It's a right people have fought over, it's not a right to ignore lightly.

    edit: You're too focused on what your vote does. It isn't about you, it's about electing this country's leaders. We need these leaders to be elected for the country to run.

    It adds up the same with or without person x. That is my entire point. There is no functional difference between 500,000 voters and 500,001 voters. If no one voted then things would be different. But whether everyone votes or no one votes, unless 1 vote is likely to decide the outcome, person x has no rational reason to vote.

    When you reduce the numbers enough things change. If a Supreme Court justice or a senator abstains it can change the outcome. Not so with large number games though.

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    JuliusJulius Captain of Serenity on my shipRegistered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    I don't need to know the result of the election to know my vote doesn't have an effect on it. If I hadn't voted last election the distribution would have been exactly the same. (Hell, I voted for a party that didn't even pass the threshold so neither my vote nor the vote of all those others mattered.)

    Your vote mattered, losing didn't invalidate your vote. You are only one person, why would you think your vote has to be the one to change the final outcome? It's the entire outcome that matters. Every vote counts to a candidate getting elected. It's not about each individuals vote, it's about voting as a bigger group the candidate can get - that determines who gets elected. You're not helping your favored candidate by not voting, you're making it easier for their competition to win. You'll be effect politically no matter the outcome, may as well try to get your candidate into office.
    Also while encouraging others to vote may be in my interest, that doesn't mean my own voting is.

    Nor does it hurt your candidate by doing it, while not voting does.

    But my voting doesn't hurt my candidate, because regardless of what I do (and not others) they'll win or lose. If I don't vote they lose by a hundred thousand votes, and if I do vote they just lose by 99,999 votes.

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    milskimilski Poyo! Registered User regular
    we are looking at this question in the wrong way

    obviously, one vote is statistically insignificant

    obviously, one hundred thousand votes are statistically significant

    what is the smallest statistically significant number of votes

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorites_paradox
    milski wrote: »
    I hate the "people fought for this" argument on principle. It's absolutely terrible.

    And yet it is true.

    More people died for the right to secede from the Union than people died to protect it. That does not mean that I have a moral obligation to attempt secession.

    I ate an engineer
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    Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    But my voting doesn't hurt my candidate, because regardless of what I do (and not others) they'll win or lose. If I don't vote they lose by a hundred thousand votes, and if I do vote they just lose by 99,999 votes.

    It isn't simply you, since you're not the only person not voting. If there are a large amount of people who support your candidate decide not to vote your candidate will lose.

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    spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Julius wrote: »
    But my voting doesn't hurt my candidate, because regardless of what I do (and not others) they'll win or lose. If I don't vote they lose by a hundred thousand votes, and if I do vote they just lose by 99,999 votes.

    It isn't simply you, since you're not the only person not voting. If there are a large amount of people who support your candidate decide not to vote your candidate will lose.

    But unless it is exactly 1 vote between winning and losing, what person x does won't change it. This is the entire point.

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    MillMill Registered User regular
    Let me share a fun anecdotal story from my work place. I'm part of the toastmasters club and one of the senior members decided to do a speech on the need for people to participate in democracy by exercising their right to vote. This individual ended taking a leadership position in one of the local GOP committees. She took that position despite feeling, in her words "that the GOP is behind the times, stuck in in the pre-1990's" and she clearly held some views that don't jive with the powers that be in the party (namely that we should have taxes because we live in a society and we do have to fund things). As she put it, "someone is going to be making the decisions and it might as well be you."

    I think that is the biggest thing people who advocate "voting doesn't matter miss." One doesn't have to be the deciding vote to matter, nor do they have to get a leadership position to have any sort of influence (I mean, if you want to do that sort of thing, be it getting a leadership position in the local party committee or actually running for office, go for it), but they should vote because others will vote and those votes will have consequences. Not voting makes it easier for factions that one disagrees with to implement policy that they don't want because we always have a winner in elections.

    Sure it might take a long time to get a stronghold to be a swing area, but you never know when the other side will get complacent and turn a sure victory into defeat (maybe they say something stupid like "legitimate rape" or a bunch of them decide to not vote in an election). Even in the worst case, it limits the other party's options because that's a percent of votes that are always there and not going towards them (so maybe they opt to not push some awful policy because it's estimated that they'll lose 10% of the vote and 8% of that will go to the opposing party, which might be enough to let the other party win).

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    GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    A lot of people complain they don't want to vote for either the Democrat or the Republican, because their preferred candidate didn't make it out of the primaries. I feel that this reasoning is naive.

    You vote in the primary to get your preferred issues/candidates put forward.

    You vote in the general to elect the least bad option, because a non-vote is indistinguishable from a vote to default on the economy and plunge us back into a Mad Max style feudalistic society.

    The primary is when you play offense; the general election is when you play defense.
    Julius wrote: »
    Why is it so important that YOUR vote is the ONE VOTE that matters?

    From a position of rational self interest I should only ever do things that are beneficial to me.

    If my vote doesn't matter and voting requires a non-zero amount of effort, then there is no benefit to voting to me.

    I'd argue that in elections, unlike sports, running up the score has a tangible benefit. The percentage a candidate wins by can shift people's perspective on issues. So every single vote definitely has a non-zero value.

    But the differences between 250,000,000 and 250,000,001 is so close to zero as to be effectively zero.

    But still not zero. Which is the point. Every votes matters and has influence on society and future policy and elections. That you don't think it matters very much is has no bearing on the fact that it still matters.

    If the party/politician reacts the same to n or n+1, then the effect is nothing though. I find it highly doubtful that anyone would be influenced by n+1 differently from n where n is sufficiently large enough.

    But they don't. In the same way that the water table does move when one of Californias 53 million people waters their lawn. You're confusing a small effect for no effect.

    Re: random selection

    Does not solve the problem. The value of a vote still approaches zero because the probability that that margin has an effect approaches zero. Indeed even more so if we consider repeated games where policy is expected to react to voting.

    Fptp is just fine for voting. Parties react and organize around the voting in ways that neutralize the single game downsides.

    wbBv3fj.png
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    Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    Again, this is predicated on the behavior of other people. Unless your candidate loses by literally 1 vote, you do not hurt your candidate by not voting. That is the whole point.

    It's never about 1 vote, though. 1 person don't vote in elections - it adds up when everyone does it. If everyone but you voted this wouldn't be as big a deal. Unfortunately this is how the majority acts.

    edit: It's also your civil duty as a citizen. It's a right people have fought over, it's not a right to ignore lightly.

    edit: You're too focused on what your vote does. It isn't about you, it's about electing this country's leaders. We need these leaders to be elected for the country to run.

    It adds up the same with or without person x. That is my entire point. There is no functional difference between 500,000 voters and 500,001 voters. If no one voted then things would be different. But whether everyone votes or no one votes, unless 1 vote is likely to decide the outcome, person x has no rational reason to vote.

    It is never about 1 person not voting. There isn't just 1 person not voting in your district or in state or presidential elections, it is in the millions. Millions of non-voters impact elections results as much as voters do. Whoever has the least amount of votes loses, and if it your guy you wanted to win - then things are about to change badly for you politically.
    When you reduce the numbers enough things change. If a Supreme Court justice or a senator abstains it can change the outcome. Not so with large number games though.

    It does when the numbers effected are large enough. This isn't just about your not voting, it's how many non voters for each side represents in the election. Voting in elections is vastly different then a small amount of votes in the Supreme Court, and who decides which judges get on that court is dependent on votes in elections.

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    milskimilski Poyo! Registered User regular
    edited July 2015
    Dresden, SKFM, I think both of you are circling around the entire point of collective action problem without actually talking to each other

    Dresden: SKFM is pointing out that an individual person's vote is so unlikely to matter that even if they have huge interest in one candidate winning over the other, the utility derived from voting is very low compared to the (still pretty low) costs of voting, so (with a huge number of people voting) it is rational to not vote.

    SKFM: Dresden is pointing out that if everybody interested in voting for a candidate acted by your logic, then they would all stand to lose a lot of utility compared to if they had all voted.

    This is fundamentally how collective action problems work; defecting is always beneficial to the individual, but can cause worse results for the group overall. This also ignores the fact that as less people vote, the utility for each individual voting goes up, and e.g. in a district where polling is at 50% and voter turnout is low, the odds your vote has an impact makes the expected utility greater than the costs.

    milski on
    I ate an engineer
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    JuliusJulius Captain of Serenity on my shipRegistered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    But my voting doesn't hurt my candidate, because regardless of what I do (and not others) they'll win or lose. If I don't vote they lose by a hundred thousand votes, and if I do vote they just lose by 99,999 votes.

    It isn't simply you, since you're not the only person not voting. If there are a large amount of people who support your candidate decide not to vote your candidate will lose.

    But it is simply me, because the question is whether I should vote.

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    EtiowsaEtiowsa Registered User regular
    Julius wrote: »
    But my voting doesn't hurt my candidate, because regardless of what I do (and not others) they'll win or lose. If I don't vote they lose by a hundred thousand votes, and if I do vote they just lose by 99,999 votes.

    It isn't simply you, since you're not the only person not voting. If there are a large amount of people who support your candidate decide not to vote your candidate will lose.

    But unless it is exactly 1 vote between winning and losing, what person x does won't change it. This is the entire point.

    But you have no way of knowing how the vote will turn out until after it happens. You can try and hide behind predictions but until the vote is done yours could be the one that decides the outcome.

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    Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    edited July 2015
    Julius wrote: »
    But it is simply me, because the question is whether I should vote.

    That is what every one who doesn't vote thinks, this adds up. That's when it's disastrous for candidates you supported.

    Harry Dresden on
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    spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Goumindong wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    A lot of people complain they don't want to vote for either the Democrat or the Republican, because their preferred candidate didn't make it out of the primaries. I feel that this reasoning is naive.

    You vote in the primary to get your preferred issues/candidates put forward.

    You vote in the general to elect the least bad option, because a non-vote is indistinguishable from a vote to default on the economy and plunge us back into a Mad Max style feudalistic society.

    The primary is when you play offense; the general election is when you play defense.
    Julius wrote: »
    Why is it so important that YOUR vote is the ONE VOTE that matters?

    From a position of rational self interest I should only ever do things that are beneficial to me.

    If my vote doesn't matter and voting requires a non-zero amount of effort, then there is no benefit to voting to me.

    I'd argue that in elections, unlike sports, running up the score has a tangible benefit. The percentage a candidate wins by can shift people's perspective on issues. So every single vote definitely has a non-zero value.

    But the differences between 250,000,000 and 250,000,001 is so close to zero as to be effectively zero.

    But still not zero. Which is the point. Every votes matters and has influence on society and future policy and elections. That you don't think it matters very much is has no bearing on the fact that it still matters.

    If the party/politician reacts the same to n or n+1, then the effect is nothing though. I find it highly doubtful that anyone would be influenced by n+1 differently from n where n is sufficiently large enough.

    But they don't. In the same way that the water table does move when one of Californias 53 million people waters their lawn. You're confusing a small effect for no effect.

    Re: random selection

    Does not solve the problem. The value of a vote still approaches zero because the probability that that margin has an effect approaches zero. Indeed even more so if we consider repeated games where policy is expected to react to voting.

    Fptp is just fine for voting. Parties react and organize around the voting in ways that neutralize the single game downsides.

    I am contending that with large number bough numbers there is no effect. How could a party react so granularity to an election that its actions in response differ based on 500,000 votes or 500,001 votes? It is very difficult to be rube th reaction bring different based on literally one vote of hundreds of thousands or millions.

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    milskimilski Poyo! Registered User regular
    Etiowsa wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    But my voting doesn't hurt my candidate, because regardless of what I do (and not others) they'll win or lose. If I don't vote they lose by a hundred thousand votes, and if I do vote they just lose by 99,999 votes.

    It isn't simply you, since you're not the only person not voting. If there are a large amount of people who support your candidate decide not to vote your candidate will lose.

    But unless it is exactly 1 vote between winning and losing, what person x does won't change it. This is the entire point.

    But you have no way of knowing how the vote will turn out until after it happens. You can try and hide behind predictions but until the vote is done yours could be the one that decides the outcome.

    Which is where odds start to come in, if you go full game-theory with this.

    If your state is polling 75% red +- 2%, the chance of your vote mattering is so low that you'd derive almost no utility from voting even if your preferred outcome literally made you world emperor.

    I ate an engineer
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    spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Etiowsa wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    But my voting doesn't hurt my candidate, because regardless of what I do (and not others) they'll win or lose. If I don't vote they lose by a hundred thousand votes, and if I do vote they just lose by 99,999 votes.

    It isn't simply you, since you're not the only person not voting. If there are a large amount of people who support your candidate decide not to vote your candidate will lose.

    But unless it is exactly 1 vote between winning and losing, what person x does won't change it. This is the entire point.

    But you have no way of knowing how the vote will turn out until after it happens. You can try and hide behind predictions but until the vote is done yours could be the one that decides the outcome.

    Like I said earlier, the odds are very low of that happening and even if it does, because of the inaccuracies in our polling process that 1 vote win is probably artificial and on challenge/recount, will likely not actually be resolved by one vote.

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    Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    milski wrote: »
    Etiowsa wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    But my voting doesn't hurt my candidate, because regardless of what I do (and not others) they'll win or lose. If I don't vote they lose by a hundred thousand votes, and if I do vote they just lose by 99,999 votes.

    It isn't simply you, since you're not the only person not voting. If there are a large amount of people who support your candidate decide not to vote your candidate will lose.

    But unless it is exactly 1 vote between winning and losing, what person x does won't change it. This is the entire point.

    But you have no way of knowing how the vote will turn out until after it happens. You can try and hide behind predictions but until the vote is done yours could be the one that decides the outcome.

    Which is where odds start to come in, if you go full game-theory with this.

    If your state is polling 75% red +- 2%, the chance of your vote mattering is so low that you'd derive almost no utility from voting even if your preferred outcome literally made you world emperor.

    If it was you, you'd be correct. Multiple that by a few thousand, or million and elections will play out differently.

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    Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    Goumindong wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    A lot of people complain they don't want to vote for either the Democrat or the Republican, because their preferred candidate didn't make it out of the primaries. I feel that this reasoning is naive.

    You vote in the primary to get your preferred issues/candidates put forward.

    You vote in the general to elect the least bad option, because a non-vote is indistinguishable from a vote to default on the economy and plunge us back into a Mad Max style feudalistic society.

    The primary is when you play offense; the general election is when you play defense.
    Julius wrote: »
    Why is it so important that YOUR vote is the ONE VOTE that matters?

    From a position of rational self interest I should only ever do things that are beneficial to me.

    If my vote doesn't matter and voting requires a non-zero amount of effort, then there is no benefit to voting to me.

    I'd argue that in elections, unlike sports, running up the score has a tangible benefit. The percentage a candidate wins by can shift people's perspective on issues. So every single vote definitely has a non-zero value.

    But the differences between 250,000,000 and 250,000,001 is so close to zero as to be effectively zero.

    But still not zero. Which is the point. Every votes matters and has influence on society and future policy and elections. That you don't think it matters very much is has no bearing on the fact that it still matters.

    If the party/politician reacts the same to n or n+1, then the effect is nothing though. I find it highly doubtful that anyone would be influenced by n+1 differently from n where n is sufficiently large enough.

    But they don't. In the same way that the water table does move when one of Californias 53 million people waters their lawn. You're confusing a small effect for no effect.

    Re: random selection

    Does not solve the problem. The value of a vote still approaches zero because the probability that that margin has an effect approaches zero. Indeed even more so if we consider repeated games where policy is expected to react to voting.

    Fptp is just fine for voting. Parties react and organize around the voting in ways that neutralize the single game downsides.
    FPTP isn't fine and the parties organise in ways to make sense of the rules but that doesn't mean the organisation is optimal compared to all possible organisations. And in the case of the U.S. there have been two spoiled elections - Perot and Nader - in recent decades which is the very definition of electoral failure.

    The random selection does solve the problem of any votes beyond the decider not mattering. It is true that it still suffers from diminishing returns as the number of people voting increases, so it solves most of the issues then.

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    spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    milski wrote: »
    Dresden, SKFM, I think both of you are circling around the entire point of collective action problem without actually talking to each other

    Dresden: SKFM is pointing out that an individual person's vote is so unlikely to matter that even if they have huge interest in one candidate winning over the other, the utility derived from voting is very low compared to the (still pretty low) costs of voting, so (with a huge number of people voting) it is rational to not vote.

    SKFM: Dresden is pointing out that if everybody interested in voting for a candidate acted by your logic, then they would all stand to lose a lot of utility compared to if they had all voted.

    This is fundamentally how collective action problems work; defecting is always beneficial to the individual, but can cause worse results for the group overall. This also ignores the fact that as less people vote, the utility for each individual voting goes up, and e.g. in a district where polling is at 50% and voter turnout is low, the odds your vote has an impact makes the expected utility greater than the costs.

    I fully understand this. But even when you accept that if everyone free rides everyone loses, you are still better off free riding because the winning state requires more people than just you to achieve. If 1,000 people need to vote x and you know many people who want x will choose not to vote, it still doesn't make sense for you to vote. If no one is going to vote anyway, your vote can't achieve the desired outcome on its own. If enough people vote to achieve the outcome, it happens without you. It is still only in the extremely unlikely deciding vote scenario that it makes sense to vote.

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    EtiowsaEtiowsa Registered User regular
    milski wrote: »
    Etiowsa wrote: »
    Julius wrote: »
    But my voting doesn't hurt my candidate, because regardless of what I do (and not others) they'll win or lose. If I don't vote they lose by a hundred thousand votes, and if I do vote they just lose by 99,999 votes.

    It isn't simply you, since you're not the only person not voting. If there are a large amount of people who support your candidate decide not to vote your candidate will lose.

    But unless it is exactly 1 vote between winning and losing, what person x does won't change it. This is the entire point.

    But you have no way of knowing how the vote will turn out until after it happens. You can try and hide behind predictions but until the vote is done yours could be the one that decides the outcome.

    Which is where odds start to come in, if you go full game-theory with this.

    If your state is polling 75% red +- 2%, the chance of your vote mattering is so low that you'd derive almost no utility from voting even if your preferred outcome literally made you world emperor.

    The thing is, applying 'rational self interest' to the election process means nobody votes after a poll has been taken, because apparently the outcome is cemented before anyone even enters the booth. Or are people suddenly omniscient and can determine with no outside information the exact point a vote goes in their favor and requires no action on their part?

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    Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    edited July 2015
    I fully understand this. But even when you accept that if everyone free rides everyone loses, you are still better off free riding because the winning state requires more people than just you to achieve. If 1,000 people need to vote x and you know many people who want x will choose not to vote, it still doesn't make sense for you to vote. If no one is going to vote anyway, your vote can't achieve the desired outcome on its own. If enough people vote to achieve the outcome, it happens without you. It is still only in the extremely unlikely deciding vote scenario that it makes sense to vote.

    You're not better off when your candidate loses. If you want them to win you have to vote, and others do too, or the candidate you don't want to win will get elected. If no one was going to vote anyway there'd be no winner, and that doesn't happen in elections there are always voters who vote and winners who get into office. Your vote doesn't have to be the deciding vote to impact an election being one of the random votes that give them a larger portion of the vote increases their chances of winning and make it easier for the deciding votes to matter. Free riders lose when their candidate they support loses, by not voting this increases the chances of that happening. The politician with the largest voting pool wins.

    Harry Dresden on
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    spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I fully understand this. But even when you accept that if everyone free rides everyone loses, you are still better off free riding because the winning state requires more people than just you to achieve. If 1,000 people need to vote x and you know many people who want x will choose not to vote, it still doesn't make sense for you to vote. If no one is going to vote anyway, your vote can't achieve the desired outcome on its own. If enough people vote to achieve the outcome, it happens without you. It is still only in the extremely unlikely deciding vote scenario that it makes sense to vote.

    You're not better off when your candidate loses. If you want them to win you have to vote, and others do too, or the candidate you don't want to win will get elected. If no one was going to vote anyway there'd be no winner, and that doesn't happen in elections there are always voters who vote and winners who get into office. Your vote doesn't have to be the deciding vote to impact an election being one of the random votes that give them a larger portion of the vote increases their chances of winning and make it easier for the deciding votes to matter. Free riders lose when their candidate they support loses, by not voting this increases the chances of that happening. The politician with the largest voting pool wins.

    We are going in circles here. Can we both agree that the following statement is true:

    As a normative matter, people should vote. However, any specific individual is unlikely to change the outcome of an election by voting or not voting, so while it is good for people to vote, if that individual does not vote, the outcome of the election is unlikely to be changed.

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    Harry DresdenHarry Dresden Registered User regular
    edited July 2015
    I fully understand this. But even when you accept that if everyone free rides everyone loses, you are still better off free riding because the winning state requires more people than just you to achieve. If 1,000 people need to vote x and you know many people who want x will choose not to vote, it still doesn't make sense for you to vote. If no one is going to vote anyway, your vote can't achieve the desired outcome on its own. If enough people vote to achieve the outcome, it happens without you. It is still only in the extremely unlikely deciding vote scenario that it makes sense to vote.

    You're not better off when your candidate loses. If you want them to win you have to vote, and others do too, or the candidate you don't want to win will get elected. If no one was going to vote anyway there'd be no winner, and that doesn't happen in elections there are always voters who vote and winners who get into office. Your vote doesn't have to be the deciding vote to impact an election being one of the random votes that give them a larger portion of the vote increases their chances of winning and make it easier for the deciding votes to matter. Free riders lose when their candidate they support loses, by not voting this increases the chances of that happening. The politician with the largest voting pool wins.

    We are going in circles here. Can we both agree that the following statement is true:

    As a normative matter, people should vote. However, any specific individual is unlikely to change the outcome of an election by voting or not voting, so while it is good for people to vote, if that individual does not vote, the outcome of the election is unlikely to be changed.

    That's ignoring how big a problem non-voting is. Individuals who don't vote don't hurt elections, groups of individuals who don't vote impact elections (You'd be in their number not an isolated individual) and if the supporters on one side have the bigger percentage of non voters they'll lose. You're not a lone non-voter you're one among millions. Those amount of votes effects outcomes with elections. This isn't about Space voting as an individual, it's about all the non-voters in your state and the country.

    Harry Dresden on
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    spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I fully understand this. But even when you accept that if everyone free rides everyone loses, you are still better off free riding because the winning state requires more people than just you to achieve. If 1,000 people need to vote x and you know many people who want x will choose not to vote, it still doesn't make sense for you to vote. If no one is going to vote anyway, your vote can't achieve the desired outcome on its own. If enough people vote to achieve the outcome, it happens without you. It is still only in the extremely unlikely deciding vote scenario that it makes sense to vote.

    You're not better off when your candidate loses. If you want them to win you have to vote, and others do too, or the candidate you don't want to win will get elected. If no one was going to vote anyway there'd be no winner, and that doesn't happen in elections there are always voters who vote and winners who get into office. Your vote doesn't have to be the deciding vote to impact an election being one of the random votes that give them a larger portion of the vote increases their chances of winning and make it easier for the deciding votes to matter. Free riders lose when their candidate they support loses, by not voting this increases the chances of that happening. The politician with the largest voting pool wins.

    We are going in circles here. Can we both agree that the following statement is true:

    As a normative matter, people should vote. However, any specific individual is unlikely to change the outcome of an election by voting or not voting, so while it is good for people to vote, if that individual does not vote, the outcome of the election is unlikely to be changed.

    That's ignoring how big a problem non-voting is. Individuals who don't vote don't hurt elections, groups of individuals who don't vote impact elections (You'd be in their number not an isolated individual) and if the supporters on one side have the bigger percentage of non voters they'll lose. You're not a lone non-voter you're one among millions. Those amount of votes effects outcomes with elections. This isn't about Space voting as an individual, it's about all the non-voters in your state and the country.

    That is a different statement than I made and a different topic than this thread is about though. Do you agree with the statement I set forth?

    As a normative matter, people should vote. However, any specific individual is unlikely to change the outcome of an election by voting or not voting, so while it is good for people to vote, if that individual does not vote, the outcome of the election is unlikely to be changed.

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    AistanAistan Tiny Bat Registered User regular
    If you're only looking at one person and saying whether that one person votes or doesn't vote doesn't matter then yes this is accurate.

    It's also completely useless information, because an election isn't about one voter. You have to look at all the voters, and as you look at more and more of them whether those people voted or not starts to matter more and more.

    I guess I just don't understand the point of the thought exercise when it has no real world applications. There should be no reason for anyone to not vote.

This discussion has been closed.