Re: Large Ballot Redux

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Wed Jun 02 2004 - 13:27:34 CDT

Below are what I think of as "straw man arguments" also.

When Charlie described Alan's sample ballot for an 80 race contest on
legal size paper as a "strawman" it missed those ordinary senses.
There was nothing fundamentally wrong with Alan's sample. Yeah... it
probably won't exactly match any final ballot; tweaks and adjustments
are likely to come up over time. But Alan's presentation was not
deliberately weak or deliberately flawed--it was a best effort based on
current (acknowledgedly partial) information.

Something like my ASCII-art sketch of a possible GUI ballot layout (the
one with navigation pane at left) was perhaps a "staw man proposal" in
the special and limited definition Arthur copied. That is, I
deliberately left off most of the candidates, their parties, many of
the contests, some likely navigation elements, etc. I wanted to show
the quick gestalt of the layout I was describing, but I knew full well
that it was not as robust as a real screen would need to be. If we
wanted to go forward in the direction suggested, we might develop an
"iron man proposal" (maybe a "tin man proposal" before that :-)).

On Jun 2, 2004, at 1:58 PM, Alan Dechert wrote:
> The page you cite has some excellent discriptions of "straw man." The
> part
> you cite is much narrower having to do with a "straw-man proposal."
>> One can set up a straw man in several different ways:
>> 1. Present one of your opponent's weaker arguments,
>> refute it, and pretend that you have refuted all of
>> their arguments.
>> 2. Present your opponent's argument in weakened form,
>> refute it, and pretend that you have refuted the original.
>> 3. Present a misrepresentation of your opponent's
>> position, refute it, and pretend that you have refuted
>> your opponent's actual position.
>> 4. Present someone who defends a position poorly as the
>> defender, refute their arguments, and pretend that
>> you've refuted every argument for that position.
>> 5. Invent a fictitious persona with actions or beliefs that
>> are criticised, and pretend that that person represents
>> a group that the speaker is critical of.
> This pretty well describes what I think when I use or hear the term
> "straw
> man." The straw man techniques are *very* common--often used by
> highly
> educated people that should know better. Just about every argument
> against
> the voter-verified paper trail fits one of these descriptions of "straw
> man." When Denise Lamb or Ted Selker wave around the 57 in. tape
> printout
> to prove how unworkable the voter verified paper trail would be, they
> are
> using straw man #3 above. Shamos likes to use #2.
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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:02 2004

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