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The Bi-Weekly App Update

Right on topic for global affairs, in this edition we talk voting systems.

Did you ever wonder why so many countries struggle with switching to a NETVS (not-entirely-terrible-voting-system)?


Dictators and people-who'd-like-to-be aside, I think the most significant obstacles stem from the HUGE amount of new issues and complexity of details.  

While replacing our basic "this or that" voting system with something that reflects opinions more accurately, we decided to go the Ranked Voting route. (Why? )

Even though we're mostly tackling "simple" day to day decisions, the same principles apply, whether you're trying not to elect a new leader or figuring out where to have lunch.

On the surface, that system appears straight forward: 

  • vote by ranking options

  • calculate the results

  • more happy people

…buuuut, as with most things, the caveats are in the details:

  • there are many voting algorithms, and all have flaws

  • you need different systems for different situations.

  • Sometimes you get different outcomes from the same data, depending on the algorithm(s) you use

  • for some things, you only get one winner, not a real ranking

  • remember: it's all still universally better than FPTP voting =D

So, we're taking a flexible way and will use different approaches depending on the needs of the situation. Most notably using one thing when going for one winner and a different one when you have multiple "seats" to fill, combined some "smart" fallbacks to give you better results.

Sounds Great?! That's neat. Nice voting. Democracy! 

Time for coffee.

…ok, we're not quite there yet (obviously). Side-stepping issues like strategic voting and this being a bit more complicated than just shouting "Great Leader's Name" repeatedly; ballot design is also a challenge:

  • should be easy to understand

  • allow you to choose just one option or rank all of them, or anything in between

  • avoid influencing choices (have you ever ordered from the top of a menu, because reading all of it is just too much?)

  • have you noticed that phones have smaller screens than laptops, and you don't use a mouse?

  • and we think white text lists and web forms are fairly lame


Anyway - most of that is part of developing tools like ours anyway, and it's only two problem areas - but there are many extra layers. Most of which are quite heavy. And not the comforting weighted blanked way.

Research and the recent past suggest that there is no perfect solution for the voting system or ballots either, so we do what we can.

Because we must (…all vote for something at some point, better make it count).

Coming up next as teased previously: This opion poll voting in the app.




Please, if you have any questions start a chat, we are always online and happy to talk 🤗 There is a little blue chat icon on the bottom right of the screen, give it a try 🧐

All the best from Potsdam,

The ODE Team ❤️

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