May 26th, 2008


LJ election endorsements.

So, there's currently an election going on for LiveJournal's "user advocate". Nearly all of you all are eligible to vote. Candidate's position statements are here.

Important edit: As novalis pointed out in comments, the documentation of the voting protocol is unclear, and I interpreted some of it a bit differently than what the actual LJ source code implements. This revises my analysis considerably! What follows is the revised analysis.

Note that this is somewhat of an interesting election. Nominally, it's one of the "instant runoff" votes where voters rank the candidates, and the candidates who have fewest first-rank votes are eliminated and "their" voters have their second-rank votes taken as first-rank votes. If a voter has all three of their candidates eliminated, their ballot is discarded; when a candidate ends up with more than 50% of the top-rank votes on remaining ballots, they're declared the winner.

What's interesting is that it's not a closed-tally election. Anyone who has voted can (a) immediately see the current totals, and (b) change their vote. It's not currently possible to see exactly what will happen in the runoffs, but we can make some reasonable guesses on the bounds.

Meanwhile, regardless of how the runoff goes, it's currently a three-way race between legomymalfoy, jameth, and rm, in that order. Unless things swing dramatically, votes for anyone else are likely to only serve as endorsements of their position statements, which isn't likely to mean much.

Thus, unless things change notably, the only votes that are likely to matter are votes for legomymalfoy, rm, or jameth.

Personally, from a quick look through the position statements, I suspect that I would prefer rm to legomymalfoy (and I have seen several strong endorsements agreeing with that position), but I'm pretty sure either would do well, while it's clear that jameth would not be an effective user representative, to say the least. Given the current totals, it seems pretty clear that rm won't catch legomymalfoy in the first-rank votes; their votes are running about 2.5:1 between them. There is some danger that jameth will catch up, though; that ratio is about 1.5:1.

However, rm may not be that far behind legomymalfoy in the runoff, since she's got quite a lot of second-rank votes; there's a reasonable chance she could catch legomymalfoy once those are counted. (Of course, if a lot of those are from the people who have legomymalfoy as their first choice, then they'll never count.)

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Therefore, my practical endorsement is this: Vote rm at first-rank, legomymalfoy at second-rank, and put your third-rank vote on someone you like. If you've already voted, go here to change your vote.

(See, this is much easier than trying to pick among the at-least-a-half-dozen really good candidates who are running!)

LJ election endorsements, update

As novalis pointed out in comments, my understanding of the voting rules was wrong in a detail, and that means the analysis I posted yesterday wasn't quite right.

Here's an updated version of the original post, explaining why the instant runoff isn't as broken as I thought. Given that, I'm now recommending voting for rm and legomymalfoy in whatever rank-positions best reflect your preferences. Personally, I've seen several strong personal recommendations for rm, so I've given her my top vote.