Pt. III: The Voting Digression

The Rawls discussion sparked a provoking line of inquiry on game designers turning their systems expertise to real world issues, and especially voting. As the conversation grows more sprawling, I have a more difficult time keeping up with the different branches and simultaneous threads.

  1. Continued from this discussion.
  2. @doougle @flantz @ludist like, this sounds like tricking someone into behaving less rationally
  3. @doougle @flantz @ludist does it do people any good to deceive them about whether their decisions have any effect on the outcome?
  4. @smestorp @doougle @flantz I disagree. It's openly asking someone to engage in an activity where mutual fun is more impt. than competition.
  5. @smestorp @doougle @flantz If your goal is mutual hedonistic utilitiarianism (havin' fun w/bros) (not win/dominate) it's perfectly rational.
  6. @smestorp @doougle @flantz Also not a trick; if you make a shit deck that's unplayable, no one is going to play with you in round 2.
  7. @smestorp @doougle @flantz Their behaviors have a tremendous qualitative/affective/social, if not game theoretical, effect on the outcome.
  8. @ludist @doougle @flantz i may have missed some details at the start of this conversation; sure, this completely depends on presentation
  9. @ludist @doougle @flantz if what's presented is essentially "let's do some game design and then compete together after" that's fine
  10. @ludist @doougle @flantz i just caution against presenting situations where you can't influence your chances of "winning" as though you can
  11. @ludist @doougle @flantz we're vulnerable to a feeling of having control over events bc we made some empty choice (red/black, lotto numbers)
  12. @smestorp @doougle @flantz This is wt. Caillois calls the corruption (i.e. principles from magic circle spilling to reality) of alea/chance.
  13. @smestorp @doougle @flantz As is advising an older child not 2 destroy his younger sibling at soccer, if we must take winning as rationality
  14. See Man, Play & Games, p. 46.
  15. @smestorp @ludist @doougle @flantz Haha, you just couldn't leave that last one out, could you, Michael?
  16. @tha_rami @ludist @doougle @flantz it's an interesting one, b/c it is possible to influence the outcome but that's not what it mostly does
  17. @smestorp @tha_rami @ludist @doougle what's currently the largest game where our actions do significantly affect the outcome? 100? 16?
  18. @tha_rami @smestorp @ludist @doougle the voting problem is deep and important, I hope game design can help us understand it better
  19. @flantz @tha_rami @smestorp @doougle Couldn't agree more. Seems clear the filibuster is a degenerate strategy that's ruining system
  20. @smestorp @tha_rami @ludist @doougle Voting sucks & many of the worst aspects of politics are the result of its weakness.
  21. @doougle @flantz @smestorp @tha_rami @ludist I foresee a group lunch where all ordering is done through a Rawlsian veil.
  22. @jessefuchs @doougle @smestorp @tha_rami @ludist I don't care where we eat as long as we pay for it using credit card roulette
  23. i assume someone's analysed what happens to games like prisoners dilemma if your utility function values other players scoring?
  24. Frank Lantz posted an excellent recap and expansion of the voting problem.
  25. @flantz speaking as someone who is forced to vote, I think you’re underrating the depth of the civic and symbolic functions of voting
  26. @bfod ok, let's say I ramp my appreciation of those things sky high, don't I still have a point here?
  27. @flantz no, because the considerations that I make in voting expressively are essentially the same as the ones I’d make if my vote did count
  28. @bfod @flantz Is that similar to what the interactive-fiction types are calling "reflective choices" these days? com/2010/07/16/the…
  29. @flantz "when we vote we are fooling ourselves about what we are doing and why." Speak for yourself dude.
  30. @flantz Long history of ethical theory that suggests why voting itself might not be "inherently" broken (for example, try Kant)
  31. @flantz The even deeper issue here isn't voting, but the framing around it. Beware the trap of overly abstracted game theoretical thinking.
  32. @doougle @flantz CCP implied that they were going to try and integrate some of EVE’s CSM voting systems into the Icelandic constitution
  33. also re my @flantz RT, a breakdown of the EVE CSM election process recently redesigned to try to improve voter impact m/news/dev-blogs…
  34. @flantz voters being held accountable for the consequences of actions of those they voted for would be interesting.
  35. @flantz at princeton I frequently heard American PoliSci grad students tell me that there’s no point in voting unless it affects the outcome
  36. @flantz it seems to me that this is false. For one thing, the way I cast my vote has an effect on the one guy whose vote decides the result
  37. @flantz there’s also this huge issue around legitimacy in government, and the government’s mandate. Each vote contributes directly to that.
  38. @flantz so I guess even though it could be true that I’m voting just out of some irrational herd mentality, my vote still matters!
  39. @flantz I think redesigning the voting frontend and scoring systems is interesting, but the other scale problem is backend corruption
  40. @ADAMATOMIC @flantz rather, even if the scoring was improved, if the options are pointlessly similar voting is still pretty trivial, right?
  41. @flantz You break your own frame at the end when you mention a system with significance in "[my] actions and those of other players."
  42. @flantz Contra solipsistic/individualist premise, if you scope to include not only your vote, but votes of others—significance is possible
  43. @bfod with a margin of tens of thousands is there "one guy" whose vote decides the result?
  44. @flantz one notional guy decides it. If the margin is ten thousand then your vote influences those ten thousand (and all the rest too)
  45. @flantz I’m not against redesigning the system, I just think it’s egocentric and also false to say your vote has to count for it to matter
  46. @bfod @flantz if you disagree with something your country does & believe your vote matters, vote against it and feel it's not your fault.
  47. @smestorp @flantz but in a very real sense it’s not your fault if you voted against it!
  48. @bfod @flantz whereas if you internalise the idea that your vote doesn't matter, you're more likely to go out and do something effective
  49. @bfod @flantz (protest, influence a group of voters, smash kapitalism). faith in voting pacifies resistance.
  50. @BooDooPerson being a statistic in a larger aggregate isn't the kind of significance I'm looking for
  51. @smestorp @flantz btw, that argument is used to excuse all kinds of small-scale inaction - for example, to excuse for not giving to charity
  52. @bfod @flantz in a very real sense it doesn't matter whose fault it is; if there's something you could do against it and don't it's on you
  53. @bfod @flantz right, but the faulty step of reasoning comes after that point. the conclusion is "so do more", not "so don't even do this"
  54. @flantz the biggest reason people don’t vote third party is because they expect the vote to be small. The size of the losing vote matters
  55. @BooDooPerson yes, but we expect voting to work for people who don't do any of that stuff