Wed 15 Nov 2017 10:53PM

Separating argument style and conclusions

AW Aaron Wolf Public Seen by 21

I'd like to see an end to the ongoing trend where, to be specific, IRV proponents make false claims, critics point it out, and then the conversation devolves into STAR vs IRV or all the merits/downsides/issues etc.

To segregate the debate: the whole issue is that IRV proponents need to stop making one specific false claim: that your next choice counts if your favorite is eliminated (because that only happens in some cases for some voters and can fail to happen commonly under a wide range of scenarios for some voters).

If I said "eating lots of fruits and vegetables will get you hired for your dream job", it would be right to reject my claim. But the wrongness of my claim doesn't mean we should reject the idea of eating fruits and vegetables. If discussing my claim always turned into long debates about diet, we'd never get anywhere, and people would feel exhausted, frustrated, and it would turn off a lot of interested people.

How do we consistently, reliably, without tangents, get rid of the one false claim about IRV?

I think we do that by constantly refusing to get sucked into all the rest of any debate. We must only reiterate that whether IRV is great or not, it needs to be sold truthfully. The same applies to all reforms of any topic.

We can have whatever sorts of debates later once we're talking about a truthful representation of various reforms.


Sara Wolf Sun 24 Dec 2017 8:21AM

I'm confused. The metaphor lost me. If someone or a post says something utterly false what do you recommend we do?

*Example of a false on all counts, pants-on-fire IRV pitch: * "IRV solves the spoiler effect, ends the 2 party monopoly, and doesn't waste your vote. Here's how it works- If your favorite is eliminated your next choice will be counted so you don't have to worry about vote splitting or voting for a lesser evil.

One angle that I try and use where it might be better received is something like this:
While there are a number of totally legitimate reasons to support RCV or to prefer a ranked ballot, the claims here just aren't correct. There's a lot of misinformation that has been making the rounds for a long time now and I was guilty of spreading it too until I dug into the details. If we want to get anywhere as a movement we will need to raise the bar, refocusing on accurate messaging and education.
-List false claim followed by a short explanation of the issue and a rephrased accurate version.-


William WAUGH Mon 25 Dec 2017 9:58PM

If I may attempt to paraphrase and interpret, I think at least part of Aaron Wolf's point is he's advising that when we debate about IRV, we refuse to discuss other points about it until our opponent has accepted facts. The benefit of such a rhetorical tactic might be to keep the issue of truth vs. falsity front and center until such time that listeners/readers will have by and large grasped the truth and escaped from being mentally informed by false assertions.


Sara Wolf Fri 29 Dec 2017 4:00AM

On an interesting side note, I finally got a chance to talk with Rob Richie of FairVote about this specific issue. We'll see how it goes.