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Call For Discussion : CSM Voting Reform

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Gallente Federation
#1 - 2012-09-08 12:16:32 UTC  |  Edited by: CCP Spitfire
Over the past few CSM elections, it has become increasingly clear that the simple "vote for one candidate" election system should be revisited in the hopes of finding a system that produces a CSM that better represents the electorate (ie: those members of the community who care enough to vote).

In the most recent election, for example, almost 25% of the votes were cast for candidates who did not win election to the CSM. These lost "undervotes", coupled with the fact that some candidates have increasingly overwhelming information and organizational advantages, threatens to effectively disenfranchise a significant portion of the electorate.

Since it is in everyone's long-term interest for the CSM to broadly represent the electorate, a strong case can be made that the election system should be reformed. CSM elections should not only be fair, but should be seen to be fair.

This posting is the first step in that process, and it is our hope that it will spark a serious discussion of the topic and provide the CSM with community guidance as we solidify our recommendations to CCP.

Goals of a Reformed System

It has been mathematically proven that there is no perfect voting system. However, "The perfect is the enemy of the good", and there are many election systems that are clearly better than the current one.

The CSM believes that any new CSM voting system should, at a minimum:

1) Be easy to implement (by CCP), use (by the voters) and permit public verification of the results given the published raw vote totals.

2) Reduce the need for tactical voting ("I like A better than B, but I have to vote for B because I think she's more electable"). This is typically done by reallocating votes cast for candidates that are eliminated from the election to other candidates, thus reducing or eliminating undervotes.

3) Reduce (but not eliminate) the advantages held by highly organized voting blocs. In the previous election, for example, one voting bloc did extremely sophisticated exit-polling; if they had chosen to use this information to efficiently split their votes, they could have won 3 of the top 7 positions on the CSM.

Below we present one possible system that attempts to meet the above goals. We caution readers not to assume that this is a system we have decided upon; rather, it is presented as an example for discussion and improvement.

Candidate-Designated Single Transferrable Vote

The most common "better" election system is Single Transferrable Vote (STV). Typically in STV systems, voters rank the candidates (or some subset of them) in order of preference, and if their first candidate is eliminated from the election, their vote transfers to their second choice, and so on.

However, standard STV systems do not meet our first goal. Implementing classic STV would require significant work by CCP to update the system, would require extra effort by voters (which would tend to favor highly organized groups), and may not be publicly verifiable.

Therefore, perhaps a simpler system might achieve most of our goals. Consider, for example, Candidate-Designated Single Transferrable Vote.

In this system, voters vote for a single candidate, just as they do now. However, each candidate publicly states which other candidates they want their votes to be transferred to if they are eliminated from the election.

CD-STV, while not providing the full spectrum of choice that STV does, does meet all the goals. The amount of work CCP will have to do to implement it is small (listing the candidates' preferences on their profile and voting page), it is no more difficult to use than at present, and anyone can run the raw vote totals through an election simulator.

The Nitty-Gritty:

Currently, once the final list of approved candidates is published by CSM, there is a 2 week campaign period before voting starts. In the new system, candidates will have to disclose to CCP and publish in the first post of their campaign thread and on any campaign websites who their preferred alternate candidates are before the end of the first week. After that, they are locked in and cannot be changed -- thus there will be a week for voters to comment on these choices and decide how best to allocate their votes (troll and feeder candidates will be fairly obvious).

Candidates should specify somewhere between 3 and 6 alternates in order of their preference (their "preferences"), so that if one or more of their preferred candidates has already been elected or knocked out, their votes will not be wasted.

On the actual voting page, there would be a list of the alternate candidates so that when actually voting, people will know where their vote will go.

The determination of the results is straightforward:

In each round:

* If the top vote-getter has more than 1/n of the remaining vote pool, where n is the number of CSM slots still available (14 at the start), she is directly elected; the vote pool is reduced by the number of votes she currently controls (and n goes down by 1 in the next round)

* If this does not happen, then the bottom candidate is eliminated, and her votes are reallocated to the topmost candidate in her preference list that is still in the race.

This process continues until everyone has either been elected or eliminated, at which point we have our rankings.

Private Citizen • CSM in recovery

Gallente Federation
#2 - 2012-09-08 12:16:43 UTC
Some possible variants to consider:

* Instead of just using a candidate's preferences, you can also use the preferences of his preferences.

So if Alice prefers Beth, Charlie and Dave, then you extend her preferences to be Beth, Charlie, Dave, Beth's Preferences, Charlie's Preferences, Dave's Preferences (eliminating duplicates). This would reduce the chance that votes would be unused.

* When votes are transferred, they can either inherit the preferences of their new "owner", or retain the preferences of the original "owner". The latter choice arguably best represents the choices of the original voters.

* If CCP can allocate the resources to provide individual voters with full STV ballots, then the preferences of individual voters can be extended using the preferences of their preferred candidates. This would still permit the simplicity of "vote for one candidate" but provide extra flexibility for interested voters.

We have written a simple election simulator written in Python that implements CD-STV (using the results of the previous CSM election and random candidate preferences). It (and some sample output) can be found here:


Trebor Daehdoow
CSM 7 Vice-Chairman

Private Citizen • CSM in recovery

Gallente Federation
#3 - 2012-09-08 12:19:09 UTC
Reserved for replies

Private Citizen • CSM in recovery

Gallente Federation
#4 - 2012-09-08 12:19:16 UTC
Reserved for replies

Private Citizen • CSM in recovery

Caldari State
#5 - 2012-09-08 12:37:44 UTC
dont agree with the second one as that would tip the balance into a landslide if conspired with other players.
#6 - 2012-09-08 12:43:05 UTC
This was actually the worst issue from last election. It has come back too soon. Makes me want to run away.

Signature removed for inappropriate language - CCP Eterne

Mercenary Coalition
#7 - 2012-09-08 13:51:58 UTC
Ground floor of what should be a nice, calm discussion.

2004-2008: Mercenary Coalition Boss

2007-2010: CCP Game Designer | 2011-2013: CSM6 Delegate & CSM7 Chairman

2011-2015: Pandemic Legionnaire

2015- : Mercenary Coalition Boss

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#8 - 2012-09-08 13:55:22 UTC
Yeah, this totally won't backfire when the candidates end up working together instead of the voters.
Gallente Federation
#9 - 2012-09-08 14:00:24 UTC
Let's see how badly this will get gamed, and how much whining will come off it when hisec still doesn't have "enough representation", even though people can't seem to be able to figure out what "enough representation" is, or what "hisec representation" should look like.

Cyno's lit, bridge is up, but one pilot won't be jumping home.

RIP Vile Rat

Goonswarm Federation
#10 - 2012-09-08 14:01:21 UTC
Ahh, yes, the anti-Mittens crusade ruleset. I was wondering how long it would take the CSM to get around to doing something this year. I see you totally have your priorities straight and are focusing on such weighty topics as "How can we keep Mittens style candidates off the CSM"

Hint, you can't.

Leader of the Goonswarm Economic Warfare Cabal.

Creator of Burn Jita

Vile Rat: You're the greatest sociopath that has ever played eve.

Goonswarm Federation
#11 - 2012-09-08 14:03:19 UTC
It seems like this is a transparent attempt to game the system so the CSM dictates the results rather than the voters.
Goonswarm Federation
#12 - 2012-09-08 14:05:45 UTC
also, unlike actual STV, this system is deliberately designed to penalize overvotes by eliminating ALL of the votes for an elected candidate

that's utterly unacceptable and must be removed
Goonswarm Federation
#13 - 2012-09-08 14:07:53 UTC
* If the top vote-getter has more than 1/n of the remaining vote pool, where n is the number of CSM slots still available (14 at the start), she is directly elected; the vote pool is reduced by the number of votes she currently controls (and n goes down by 1 in the next round)

this is the portion I'm talking about, the change from the STV system that the CSM hoped nobody would notice

the proper way to do a STV is transfer the "excess" votes of anyone who obtains a seat
Goonswarm Federation
#14 - 2012-09-08 14:11:04 UTC  |  Edited by: EvilweaselFinance
here is the only acceptable STV mechanism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_transferable_vote#Counting_the_votes


Finding the winners
An STV election proceeds according to the following steps:
1) Any candidate who has reached or exceeded the quota is declared elected.
2) If a candidate has more votes than the quota, that candidate's surplus votes are transferred to other candidates. Votes that would have gone to the winner instead go to the next preference listed on their ballot.
3) If no one new meets the quota, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and that candidate's votes are transferred.
This process repeats until either a winner is found for every seat or there are as many seats as remaining candidates.

The quota is (votes/15)+1.
Goonswarm Federation
#15 - 2012-09-08 14:16:21 UTC
I'm glad to see the CSM has spent its time discussing issues that affect EVE as a whole, as opposed to immediately jumping down the line of "how can we make sure Mittens doesn't get elected to the #1 spot on the CSM for the third consecutive term?"


#16 - 2012-09-08 14:23:36 UTC
Goonswarm Federation
#17 - 2012-09-08 14:35:51 UTC
RDevz wrote:
I'm glad to see the CSM has spent its time discussing issues that affect EVE as a whole, as opposed to immediately jumping down the line of "how can we make sure Mittens doesn't get elected to the #1 spot on the CSM for the third consecutive term?"

To be fair it screams "how do we ensure that we stay on the CSM and not get mobbed out by bloc candidates next term" rather than "how do we keep the bloc candidates off entirely"

Twitter: @EVEAndski

"It's easy to speak for the silent majority. They rarely object to what you put into their mouths."    - Abrazzar

Masters of Flying Objects
#18 - 2012-09-08 14:37:18 UTC  |  Edited by: Salpun
Round 15 votes should have gone to Seleene right not Green Lee or did i miss a rule.

Edit: Read it wrong leboes vote trasfer put Green Lee over the top.

If i dont know something about EVE. I check https://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/ISK_The_Guide

See you around the universe.

New Eden Trading Company.
#19 - 2012-09-08 14:41:39 UTC
Mitanni would still have been elected under this, or probably any, voting system. Robert's post is more concerned at looking at the bottom end of the voting than the top.

And the CSM hasn't decided anything, we talked about it a bunch (hint, we can read and reply to several forum threads at a time, shocking i know) and felt the discussion reached an appropriately structured place that we could start a good conversation with the EVE player base.

Goons would probably be better served engaging in that discussion rather than inventing things to tinfoil hat about.

Alek the Kidnapper, Hero of the CSM

#20 - 2012-09-08 14:44:19 UTC
I'd rather they list all canditates, and you pick the 7 or whatever candidates you would put on the council. It's a council, you shouldn't be limited to just 1 or 2. Different candidates have different attributes, and you shouldn't have to decide which part is more important to you for a year.

With the increase in shiptoasting, the Report timer needs to be shortened.

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