Talk:Proportional representation

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Clarity[edit source]

User:69.172.158.251 I pressed Enter accidentally:

It's not a "citation needed" tag; it's a "clarify language" tag.

"Conversely, no system has no Proportional Representation since metrics" is confusing to me. — Psephomancy (talk) 15:53, 13 February 2020 (UTC)

I think he's saying "There's no score that tells you if the outcome is proportional or not, so there's no way to know if the outcome is proportional". A better way of saying it might be "every method maximizes its own measure of good". Kristomun (talk) 16:31, 13 February 2020 (UTC)
You guys are both missing it. There are measures of PR like Ghalliger for example. They will never reach any where near the maximum level of disproportional even in single member plurality. The most disproportional systems are moderately proportional under all metrics. To get literally zero representation you have to elect a whole parliament from parties that nobody voted for. This is clearly never going to happen. I thought this was obvious but if you can write it more clearly please do so. --Dr. Edmonds (talk) 00:22, 14 February 2020 (UTC)


PR majority criterion[edit source]

topic copied from User talk:Psephomancy at 21:11, 19 April 2020 (UTC) by RobLa (talk)

I was on German Wikipedia, and found this article (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mehrheitsbedingung) which, if you look at it in Google Translate, discusses a criterion that a majority must always win at least half of the seats in a multi-winner election (the Google translation calls it the "majority condition"). I've often wondered if there is an English equivalent; do you know of any such thing? BetterVotingAdvocacy (talk) 07:08, 17 April 2020 (UTC)

No, I'm not very knowledgeable about PR. — Psephomancy (talk) 02:12, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
This seems like a good question for User:Kristomun. Is there an English equivalent of w:de:Mehrheitsbedingung? -- RobLa (talk) 21:16, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
The criterion says that a party that gets a majority of the votes must also get a majority of the seats; it's a special case of the quota criterion. D'Hondt meets it, but Sainte-Laguë/Webster does not, and in any case, it may be failed due to districting problems. I vaguely recall there being some uproar in Malta over just this. See https://aceproject.org/main/english/es/esy_mt.htm (search for "In 1981"). In any case, I don't know of any English term for that criterion, and I would guess there probably isn't one because party list is neither used in the UK, the US, or Canada. If I had to translate the term, I'd call it something like "majority lower quota" or "majority quota criterion". (The corresponding "minority upper quota", that a minority of the votes can't give you a majority of the seats, is the w:de:Minderheitsbedingung. They're distinct in the case that e.g. no party has a majority: the majority quota criterion doesn't apply in such a case, but if one of the parties get a majority of the seats, then that violates the minority quota criterion.) Kristomun (talk) 21:51, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
Is this not the Hare Quota Criterion? This is the one I have seen most referenced as the multimember version of PR. --Dr. Edmonds (talk) 02:44, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
To guarantee that a majority of voters always wins at least half of the seats, something like Droop or D'Hondt proportionality is necessary. This is because a majority group always has at least half of all HB quotas, but may have one less full Hare quota than half of the Hare quotas. The basic reasoning here is that even in the single-winner case, some PR methods meeting the Hare Quota criterion can allow a minority to win and a majority to get nothing i.e. because of higher utility. Also see Marylander's example of free riding with a Hare-based PR method denying the majority half the seats: https://forum.electionscience.org/t/different-reweighting-for-rrv-and-the-concept-of-vote-unitarity/201/92 BetterVotingAdvocacy (talk) 03:58, 20 April 2020 (UTC)

Moving nonpartisan definitions[edit source]

Dr. Edmonds, would you mind if I move the nonpartisan cardinal definitions to the cardinal PR article? It doesn't seem like they need to take up all the space in this article; a link can be given. I'd rather focus the nonpartisan section on discussing things like nonpartisan vs partisan, etc. BetterVotingAdvocacy (talk) 20:03, 24 April 2020 (UTC)

BetterVotingAdvocacy I would think the bulk of it can be moved to the cardinal PR article. However, it should likely be replaced with something and a link to the cardinal PR article. These definitions do apply to non-partisan and non-Cardinal systems. For example STV is in the Monroe theory and Jefferson Party list is in the Thiele theory. I have been meaning to do a whole rewrite to really give the context. I think that the current state of that section is likely too focused on cardinal methods but I think this page needs some section about the theory of PR. People basically know what is meant by PR and this needs to be written down. The measure like Gallagher index and criteria like Hare Quota are not enough to really get the idea of the true meaning. If you want to try to write that up please do otherwise this is a useful placeholder as it covers much of what needs to be there. --Dr. Edmonds (talk) 20:44, 24 April 2020 (UTC)

Addition of specific systems[edit source]

RobLa, You recently added many methods which get high PR. I do not think it is wise to do this as the page is already long and this has potential for explosion. There are 100s of systems. I think it would be better to list the classes of systems like Party-list proportional representation, Cardinal PR, Mixed electoral system or Multi-member system. They all have their own pages and the variations can be discussed there. --Dr. Edmonds (talk) 02:42, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

"...which get high PR.". Could you explain what you mean by that? -- RobLa (talk) 02:57, 7 April 2021 (UTC)
This is a tangent to my point but sure. The first line of this page states "Proportional Representation (PR) is a measure of the outcome of an election where there are multiple parties and multiple members are elected." A measure is a calculated value or metric and this page explains that in the very first section by giving examples. So PR is a number which is calculated after an election. Systems are not PR even though it is common for lay people to talk about "PR systems". The sections "Proportional Representation Criteria" and "Proportional Systems" explain how there is no possible consistent criteria for what could be used to do this. All this implies that when you talk about systems you should talk about a relative metric. Systems which get relatively high PR under one definition will get high PR under all other definitions. Maybe this seems pedantic but I would rather not be on record talking like a layperson. --Dr. Edmonds (talk) 03:14, 7 April 2021 (UTC)
I'd like to converge with the English Wikipedia counterpart to this article (here: wikipedia:Proportional representation), which lists all of these systems. It may be that we really need to trim back what I added, but generally, we need this article (and the Wikipedia counterpart) to be accessible to the layperson. In particular, it should specifically be accessible to the type of layperson who has just read the Wikipedia counterpart, and who talks about "PR systems" (like me). I disagree with your assertion that "when you talk about systems you should talk about a relative metric"; I think that's way too far in the weeds for most people learning about election methods. The systems that I added from Wikipedia with "high PR" (as you describe the metric) are what laypeople general refer to as "proportional representation systems".
I suppose the descriptions for the systems that I just added should be more concise, and that maybe we should switch away from Wikipedia:Summary style to a bulleted list to catalog some of the "high PR" systems that are "notable" by English Wikipedia standards (because they're already in use in large public elections). I want to make sure we don't deviate too strongly from the structure of the English Wikipedia in this regard. Since the English Wikipedia article "Proportional representation" links to "Party-list proportional representation", I'd like to make sure that electowiki's "Proportional representation" article clearly links to "Party-list proportional representation" as well. Assuming there are "100s of systems" worth noting on electowiki, we can solve that problem when have 100s of articles describing said systems. I'll also note that you may have inspired me to rewrite the first line of the article. :-) -- RobLa (talk) 04:56, 7 April 2021 (UTC)
I agree with most of what you have said but there are a few points that I strongly disagree with. The main reason for that is that English Wikipedia counterpart is of very very low quality. My understanding of the purpose of electowiki was to provide more depth and rigor to the pages than is allowed on wikipedia. If that is not the case then I am really missing something. I think using Wikipedia:Summary style for the major classes like party list and then listing the variants would be useful. The 100s of existing systems are largely comprised of variants and experts can disagree on what is a new system and what is a variant. There are only few dozen or so truly distinct methods. These classes however are complicated by the fact thatthey tend to come with their own version of PR and they overlap with eachother. I have written a fair bit of the existing page and would be sad to see a wilful effort to simplify it to the point of it being incorrect. I think it is possible to be both correct and simple and that balance is quite good at the moment. To this end I have made an attempt to talk more about PR than about the systems which achieve it. For example, the section "Non-Partisan Definitions" the options are discussed and 9 example systems are given. These system are just there to be put in the taxonomy of the types of PR. The depth and rigour I would like this page to have which the English Wikipedia counterpart will never have is a fair discussions of all the varying and conflicting definitions of PR. --Dr. Edmonds (talk) 05:24, 7 April 2021 (UTC)
Your credibility in my eyes goes way down when you call an article on English Wikipedia "very very low quality" without a clear effort to fix the English Wikipedia article. Wikipedia is much more popular than electowiki, because they allow anyone to fix the problems. It does a much better job of educating the "layperson" than electowiki does because laypeople are considered peers. It's not clear that you consider laypeople like me to be your peers. (Sidenote: you're misusing the word "comprised", which I also used to do. Most Wikipedia-editing veterans know better, possibly thanks to Bryan Henderson's work). Regardless, electowiki is not meant as a replacement for Wikipedia; it's meant to be complementary. It's partially meant to be a staging ground for articles that are maybe not quite "notable" yet, because they yet become mainstream. But all information on electowiki is striving to be notable enough to include on Wikipedia, and that doesn't work if we try to create our own definition of "proportional representation" not used by a significant plurality of the 7 billion people on this planet.
Feel free to make changes to what I inserted. If you delete everything I added, I'm likely to be annoyed, and I might just revert you. However, if you trim what I've added down (per my prior comment), and make incremental improvements that also ought to be made to the upstream article (to wikipedia:Proportional representation, that is), then I will probably welcome your changes. I may even try to get the changes accepted upstream. -- RobLa (talk) 06:21, 7 April 2021 (UTC)
If your goal was to have electowiki to have lower quality content than Wikipedia then congratulations. The current opening line is the worst definition of PR I have ever seen. It is wrong in several ways which are counterproductive to the reform effort. It would be better if it was nonsense than what it is now because it reinforces a common misconception. I don't understand why you always turn to personal attacks when challenged. I do not care what you think of me. I think I have a very different concept of knowledge than you. I do not care about the source of knowledge and basically consider all people my peers. The purpose of any collection of knowledge is to correct misconceptions and/or propaganda. Truth exists and the goal would be to record it when found. The two places where these are most problematic are when the topic is complex or contentious. Proportional Representation is both. It is complex because there cannot be a clean definition. It is contentious because it is political. I have spent a fair bit of time fixing wikipedia pages, even the Proportional Representation page. I swore it off years ago when somebody kept putting in a common science fiction notion into the quantum field theory page. I would fix it and then the next day somebody would change it back. If the goal is to store the average person's understanding of topics you are not going to have a very good source of knowledge. For the most part, wikipedia is great but it is susceptible to the issue you are promoting. You refer to the standard definition which has existed for decades as "our own definition" as if the experts definition is somehow inferior to the misconceptions of the masses. You are now proposing that I start incrementally correcting the page. Look at the revision history BetterVotingAdvocacy and myself have spent years tuning this page and now you are going to revert everything and tell us to start over. I have read many papers and books to make sure this page was as high quality as it could be. One of the reasons I got into the topic of electoral reform was the issue of widespread misinformation and propaganda, especially on wikipedia.
Also, I hope the irony of RobLa correcting my grammar error on a widely used but incorrect phrase in a push for preferring definitions which are widely used over those which are technically correct is not missed by people reading this. --Dr. Edmonds (talk) 22:23, 7 April 2021 (UTC)
My comments were not intended as personal attacks against you, and I'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that your messages weren't intended as personal attacks against me (despite the very personal accusations you made in your last comment). But it also doesn't seem productive to continue this conversation, since I'm finding it difficult to endorse your relentless attacks of the quality of Wikipedia content here on electowiki, given the lack of evidence that you've tried to make the corrections on Wikipedia. Instead, I'm planning to continue the work that I started last night. Your objections to my changes last night are noted (and you'll note that I eliminated the first line that I copied from Simple Wikipedia last night, and I may try fixing https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proportional_representation too) -- RobLa (talk) 23:40, 7 April 2021 (UTC)