Include me out

It’s not always obvious how our tools can distort our methods.

A colleague who was co-ordinating a social event recently sent out an email asking us to say what kind of food we’d prefer by using the voting buttons in our reply.  The choices were Indian, Chinese, Italian, No Preference.   “Cool use of the tool” I thought.

It was only a few days later that another colleague said how disappointed she was that the most popular option was Indian, because she really doesn’t like Indian food.  (How can anyone not like Indian food? – But that’s another bemusement for another day).

It was then that I realised that what was needed was not voting buttons, but vetoing buttons, with the option for vetoing more than one choice.

I’d have made the same mistake, and it’s an interesting one.

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15 responses to “Include me out

  1. Hmm: good one. I’m wondering what the effect might be if you extrapolated this out to general elections..

  2. I think if you extrapolated this to general elections, you’d end up with some bemused non-entities in charge. (Plus ca change, I hear you cry…)

    It would also make election campaigns interesting. The big two or three parties would have to campaign similarly to how they do now, because we already know about them. Smaller parties, however, would have a strong incentive to do nothing at all, as attracting attention to themselves could only result in negative results – in a vetoing election, there’s (almost) no such thing as good publicity. If nobody knows who you are or what you stand for, why would they bother vetoing you?

    Also, in a vetoing election fringe nutters like Respect or the BNP could be properly spanked by the electorate. Compare and contrast:
    Current system – “Mr. Griffin – your policies are so nasty that, er, barely a million people voted for you. How do you feel?”
    Vetoing system – “Mr. Griffin – you polled more veto votes than any other party. More than sixty million people actively didn’t want you anywhere near power. How do you feel?”

    • >> Also, in a vetoing election fringe nutters like Respect or the BNP could be properly spanked by the electorate

      Nice sentiment, shame about the verb. It’s not a good image you’ve given me there, SoRB.

  3. Another option (with another dynamic entirely), might be the ability to vote ‘n’ veto. One one side are the people you want, and on the other side are the people you actively don’t want.

    Too complicated?

  4. On the other hand…people can strive too har for perfection. Sometimes we just have to put up with things. That’s democracy for yer.

  5. Oh I get it now. The negative votes are taken a way from the positive votes and then that’s who wins. For some reason I was thinking that one veto would strike out the choice. Been paying too much attention to European politics I guess.

  6. It’s an intriguing thought. I can definitely think of quite a few parties or politicians I’d happily give an anti-vote to.

    One of my colleagues seems to be the default person for organising trips to see the Singing Librarian in action. She sets up an online poll so that people who want to come can indicate which performance(s) they can make so that the most people possible can attend. They still tend to end up with 2 groups, but it’s a nice idea.

  7. Actually that would be a perfect example of the veto being more use than the vote. t’s not so much when you can come as when you can’t come that’s important.

  8. If you got just one vote and one veto that would ge interesting too, because the herd would vote Labour and veto Tory, or vote Tory and veto Labour… and the Lib Dems would win, again and again and again. Wouldn’t that be nice?

    • Nah. The BNP would get in. The herd would vote Labour and veto Tory, or vote Tory and veto Labour, nobody would vote Lib Dem and all the nutters would vote BNP.

      Although possibly, all the students would vote monster raving loony and so it’d be a coelition in a hung government.

  9. I miss the Monster Raving Loonies. Do they still field candidates? Mind you, with Boris as Mayor…. need I say more?

  10. Pingback: I’ve got life – Happy 101 Sweet Friends « Thinking about it…

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