Talk:Electoral system

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Former featured articleElectoral system is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophyThis article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on January 6, 2006.
Article milestones
November 12, 2005Peer reviewReviewed
December 2, 2005Featured article candidatePromoted
November 3, 2009Featured article reviewDemoted
Current status: Former featured article

"Electoral formula"[edit]

The old renaming debate for Voting system settled on putting the article here, and ultimately this article is a ground-up rewrite of that former-featured article. I believe that it is correct to have an article here, but as I argued in that debate, I think that this article should be split; the part that's focused on voting theory and math should go to a separate article, while the part that's focused on empirical/comparative political science should go here.

In the prior debate, I had proposed several possible titles for the other, math-focused article, but none of them was ideal, and none got good consensus. I now realize that I was missing the best term: "Electoral formula". Here's why I think it's best:

  • First, look at this ngrams result comparing "method", "rule", and "formula", each combined with "voting...", "electoral...", or "election...". As you can see, historically, "formula" has an advantage. Though it was overtaken by "rule" around 1970, most usages of "voting rule" refer to other aspects of electoral systems such as rules about when union elections can take place or who can vote in them. Thus, "formula" would seem to be at least competitive with the alternative terms for the title of the math-oriented article.
  • Second, do a simple google search on "electoral formula". You will see that all of the top results use the term to describe the topic of mathematical algorithms for translating ballots into winners.
  • Third, do the same in Google scholar, with similar results.
  • Fourth, search for both "electoral formula" and "electoral system" in Google. You'll find several links like this one, which explicitly draw the distinction between general electoral systems (including all practical rules) and electoral formulas (just the math).

(Note: of course, for the above searches, it's best to use an incognito tab, so as to get the same results others would get)

I think that given all of the above, it's reasonable to begin the process of reorganizing this article so as to create a sub-article at Electoral formula. I also think that, while the current version of this article has several virtues that the FFA at Voting system didn't, the reverse is also true; and that some of the missing aspects of that old article could be restored at the sub-article I'm proposing. Homunq () 16:21, 26 January 2018 (UTC)

I don't think it's reasonable or necessary to do this. WP:DROPTHESTICK please. Number 57 17:22, 26 January 2018 (UTC)
Frankly, you were in the minority of those who expressed an opinion on this issue the last time around. There's two ends to this stick. Let's both drop the meta, and deal with the arguments on the merits. Homunq () 18:32, 26 January 2018 (UTC)
This is just unnecessary. You lost the argument on where this article should be located, so have since tried on several occasions to shift the content to other titles by other means. And this is basically all you've done on Wikipedia for the last year. It's incredibly tiresome, so please just give up and move on in life. Number 57 18:44, 26 January 2018 (UTC)
Can you make that argument without ad hominems? Homunq () 00:58, 27 January 2018 (UTC)

Although I agree that eventually we need a separate article about "formulas" or vote-counting algorithms or something along those lines, I don't think conditions are yet right for creating such a subdivision here. In this case I'm using "conditions" to refer to the electoral reform field in general, as well as current conditions on Wikipedia, as well as too many misunderstandings about voting even among very smart people who are attempting to understand election complexities. Sigh. VoteFair (talk) 21:33, 27 January 2018 (UTC)

I began this thread with an appeal to actual usage. In particular, my fourth point: I stopped looking after four independent references from that search made exactly the explicit distinction I'm suggesting Wikipedia should make. For just one example: "Systems vary according to a number of key dimensions (for a discussion see Lijphart 1994) including district magnitude, ballot structures, effective thresholds, malapportionment, assembly size, and open/closed lists, but the most important variations concern electoral formula."
I really don't care what people think of me or of "conditions on wikipedia". This is a distinction that's trivial to back up with any number of WP:RSs. Can we please keep the discussion on article-space questions and not go directly to meta? Homunq () 17:14, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
It's not trivial though – behaviour like this is the reason for the second paragraph at WP:SPA. And it seems very odd that another editor who had not made any edits for nearly 10 months should suddenly show up and comment here. May I ask whether there was any off-wiki request to do so?
As for the actual topic, I don't think this is necessary; it's an unnecessary overcomplication of the subject. Please remember that Wikipedia is meant to be a general encyclopedia and not the place for excessively technical stuff. Number 57 17:21, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
Meta response
There was no off-wiki contact. I can guess by username who VoteFair is IRL, but I've had no contact with them off-wiki, directly or (to my knowledge) indirectly, for I'd guess at least 5 years. I have not told anybody about this talk page thread, period.
Plenty of productive wikipedians focus on a topic area more than I have. Hell, I was part of the group that got the old Voting system article to FA status (along with a couple of other, completely unrelated, articles), and nobody back then was complaining that my undenied interest in the topic made me an SPA. (I realize that FA standards were far laxer back then; I'm just saying that I was a part of the productive give-and-take of improving the article.)
Thank you for responding on the substance (at least in part). I disagree with this being "excessively technical" but arguing about that here is not the best way to proceed.Homunq () 17:43, 28 January 2018 (UTC)

One of the complexities related to this article separation issue is that single-winner methods interact with proportional methods (e.g. STV and IRV can be regarded as related), and that (among other reasons) makes it difficult to define the separation criteria. As Number57 points out, average folks need to be able to understand what's written here, and that includes understanding where the separation is. Humong has not supplied a well-defined criteria for separation.

Clarification: This article is in my watchlist and I watch edits every few days, but I only participate when I think I can add value, hence my infrequent edits. The number of people who study and understand the complexities of election methods is small, so Humong easily knows who I am, and I think I know who Humong is, but we do not communicate about Wikipedia stuff except here on Wikipedia. Translation: There is no collusion. VoteFair (talk) 20:46, 28 January 2018 (UTC)

I am proposing to have the main article here, from a point of view of comparative, empirical political science (on a non-technical level). This would still include a basic introduction to electoral formulas that are used in actual democracies. There would then be a sub-article at Electoral formula that would go deeper into the issues of voting theory/social choice theory, and would include discussion of electoral formulas that are important in that literature but which are not used by major polities today. Neither article would be limited to single-winner or to multi-winner systems, although of course that distinction would help to organize both articles.
I think that further argument here is probably not productive; I should just be WP:BOLD and start a new article to show what I'm talking about. Don't worry; as I build the new article, I intend to adjust the current article only slightly, and not to remove any significant content from it. I will, of course, pay close attention to WP policies, especially WP:RS.Homunq () 21:17, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
This isn't really acceptable – it's just another veiled attempt to move the information to a different title. Seriously, accept that the article is at this title, and move on to doing something productive on Wikipedia. You've been advised previously by another admin to drop this stick, and if you continue, I'm afraid it's going to end up requiring intervention. Number 57 22:26, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
Clearly, we disagree at a fundamental level. If this is going to work itself out without intervention (and such intervention should be something neither of us wants, from either a practical or a moral standpoint), I think it will have to be by focusing our discussion on concrete actions and their relationship to policy, not on extrapolating out underlying agendas. Homunq () 23:26, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
To try to explain: insofar as I have a "thinly veiled" agenda here, it is not to remove any info from the current article; I think that the current article will actually be bigger when/if it eventually reaches FA status. My agenda is to include more information/discussion about electoral formulas that are abundantly documented/discussed in RSes (and which have their own articles), but not currently used in major polities. The "comparison" material that was removed is one example of such discussion, but not the whole.
Of course, I envision the sub-article as being complete in its own right, with sections for initial overview and for history.
I believe this would not be a POV fork, because it would primarily contain additional material that would be UNDUE in this current article about real-world democracies but that is far from being UNDUE in an article about theoretical entities. (WP of course has many many articles focusing on theoretical entities; for instance, most math and stats articles are of that nature, and are often far, far more technical than the article I'm imagining.)
Essentially, I see Electoral System:Electoral formula:Social choice theory::Combination puzzle:Group (mathematics):Group theory::<concrete realizations>:<abstract objects>:<mathematical field of study>. As with groups, there is a good reason to have all three articles here. Homunq () 00:05, 29 January 2018 (UTC)
Homung: I seriously recommend that you do not try to do your split (at this time, and not in the near future). I do not want to be involved in the intervention, and I'm willing to essentially "throw you under the bus" if it happens. Part of the problem is that Wikipedia has been abandoned by many of the subject-matter experts who created so much of its wonderful content, and now Wikipedia is controlled by what I'll call "wordsmiths" (who were called "editors" when I was a contract technical writer). Ironically this shift has occurred because Wikipedia uses voting methods that are not proportional in terms of giving enough of a voice to subject-matter experts. As I see it, this conflict is better "staged" elsewhere, and then Wikipedia can catch up later, when the dust has settled. VoteFair (talk) 20:40, 29 January 2018 (UTC)
(It's Homunq, with a Q.) If I understand you, VoteFair, you're saying that you agree with me in principle, but believe that I am likely to lose this argument in practice. I guess I'd respond that in principle it's a bad idea to be that cynical, but in practice I don't have time to take this on solo right now, so... maybe later. Homunq () 13:10, 31 January 2018 (UTC)
To Homunq: I apologize for misspelling your username. Yes, I agree with you in principle, but I believe that even if I did help out, the change would not be accepted, or would be reverted later. (In the comment below, written earlier, I describe two changes that I will support you for making.) Yes, I'm cynical about the bias in Wikipedia, yet I'm optimistic that other platforms/websites offer lots of promise for election-method reform. To use an analogy, women getting the right to vote happened in Canada and other nations before it was tried in a few states within the United States, and only then were women given the right to vote throughout the U.S. In a similar way, voting-method reform will be adopted elsewhere before Wikipedia editors allow a clear linkage between the academic aspects of voting and the realities of elections, so I'm focusing my energies elsewhere. The conflict-oriented way to say this is that we might win the battle here yet lose the war. Hopefully Wikipedia will realize the significance of the difference between "editors" and subject-matter experts, and eventually adopt a voting method that does not allow the majority -- who are editors -- to outvote us, the minority -- the subject-matter experts. BTW, I've tried directly pointing this out in the recommended place for such suggestions (I forget what that's called here), but that effort was unproductive. Sigh. VoteFair (talk) 05:17, 2 February 2018 (UTC)

Today I was browsing Wikipedia, starting from "poll", and was impressed by this article having been improved by recent changes (thanks to work from Number57), yet I did see two possible improvements that I don't have time to make, plus I'm not sure if they might be controversial, so I'll point them out here because I think they relate to this discussion about needs for improvement, specifically the need for increased attention for the concept of vote-counting aspects of electoral systems:

  • In the article "electoral reform", the listed item "vote-counting procedures" I think should link to the "comparison of electoral systems" page. Currently it is listed without linking to anything.
  • In the article "social choice theory", in the "see also" section, I think there should be an item that links to the "comparison of electoral systems" page.

I also saw a grammatical error in this article, which I just fixed. VoteFair (talk) 06:43, 30 January 2018 (UTC)

Conclaves should be added[edit]

I think that the Conclaves, the electoral method for the Roman Pontiff, should be added, given its peculiarity (as an extreme example of a supermajority system) and relevance. (talk) 21:02, 22 February 2018 (UTC)

Topic organization[edit]

We have a family of great articles on voting systems that are, as a group, disorganized and duplicative. I would suggest a group approach to editing them all as a batch with the following structure:

Voting systems (the view from the moon) (Currently it is Electoral System)

Voting system in nation (as many as are needed)
name voting system (Plurality voting, Majority judgement, etc)
voting system criteria (Condorcet, Condorcet loser
other topics (Tactical voting, Tactical manipulation of runoff voting and others)

The very first step would be be an agreement on the use of voting, election, or electoral as a standard term for the naming the articles and categories. Electoral is the incumbent.

The second step would be normalization of the names and secondary names. For example, in the existing articles ranked voting is freely referred to as RCV,AV, IRV and other terms, even if they are differentiated elsewhere. A standard taxonomy supported by academic work would be a real plus for this set of articles.

We would rejigger the categories to make probably four. The names come after we have agreement.

Category:Voting system in various nations (start at List of electoral systems by country)
Category:Voting systems (exists already, needs some cleanup Category:Electoral systems)
Category:Voting system criteria (exists already Category:Election system criteria)
Category:Election topics or strategies (this would be the subcategories of Category:Electoral systems)

Some existing categories should either be beefed-up or removed. For example: Category:Use of electoral systems which has only three entries.

All of these articles need to corralled into the Portal:Politics, Electoral systems. Many are floating by themselves. They need to be labelled.

This is no small chore. Please respond with thoughts. Rhadow (talk) 14:05, 17 November 2018 (UTC)

Moving from electoral system to voting system wouldn't fly. We had a long discussion about this last year. This also led to a bit of a reorganisation of the articles and categorisation, so I don't think another one is needed (I think the current situation is probably optimal). Number 57 14:12, 17 November 2018 (UTC)

EU parliament - national election systems - help wanted![edit]

I am currently working on the national election systems for the EU parliament election, in form of a table. Your help is welcome, especially if you speak other languages from EU member states (I use the laws in foreign languages as references) C-Kobold (talk) 14:56, 7 February 2019 (UTC)