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The limitations of democracyFollow

#52 Mar 04 2011 at 2:28 PM Rating: Decent
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Yoshida wrote:
The biggest thing is we want players to have that debate. If they have something they want to say, just get out there and start debating it. Get on the forums and tell us. In the end, the dev team makes the decision on what to do, but the stronger the voices are from the public, they'll move a topic up on our priority list.


I'm happy he clarified this to everyone. Hopefully they really base their decisions on the ideas we provide for them.
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#53 Mar 04 2011 at 3:08 PM Rating: Decent
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The experts are still deciding the course, for the most part. The developers are the ones that get to decide the questions, as well as what the possible answers may be.
#54SlayerXero, Posted: Mar 04 2011 at 3:38 PM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) Rate Up!
#55 Mar 04 2011 at 4:27 PM Rating: Good
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SlayerXero wrote:


Another thing I noticed related to Democracy is, people with high ranks are saying Yay, whilst most people with low ranks are saying Nay. How is it that people who are spending more time in Eorza are having a great time, while low rankers complain the most?



Because being a rank 50 to me don't mean squat when most who got there did so by exploiting group mechanics while the old dev team sat on their asses and watched ( my apologies to those of you who did earn your 50, but guilty by association, sadly ).

Also, for those who did it legitimately and are still around, they obviously are happy with the game the way it is, so what do you expect them to say? "Hi, I know I'm a rank 50 and have been playing since day one, but this game sucks!"?
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#56 Mar 04 2011 at 5:40 PM Rating: Excellent
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Democracy has been described as two wolves and a sheep deciding on whats for dinner. I love this analogy! It is a big reason the founding fathers of the USA purposefully stayed away from creating a Democracy for the United States, and created a constitutional republic instead.

That being said, I have the same worries as the OP. I see so many people saying, "Make this easier!", "Give us this", "Give us that!". I understand the prevailing opinions of society and gamers at least in the United States. But I believe many of their opinions are not informed with too much wisdom.

Let me be clear so that nobody gets buttsore, when I use the term "We" and "Us", I don't necessarily mean "YOU". We live in an age of instant gratification and instant congratulations. When we don't receive these instantly we wonder what is wrong. I don't think this is very wise, but it is where I see us. I don't want a game informed by those opinions because I believe that even those who hold that mentality wouldn't enjoy the game they helped create.

I would have more confidence in the quality of a game created by what could be thought of as a group of "gaming philosopher kings".
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#57 Mar 05 2011 at 8:41 PM Rating: Excellent
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That's just one recent study - there are tons more out there. So, yes, even when it comes to entertainment, experts often know better than we do, what makes a game fun. Where's Kachi to talk about the psychology of this?


Heh, well, ask and you shall receive, though I don't think you'll like what I have to say. I'm mostly going to mirror the sentiments that others have already stated, but admittedly I've skimmed parts of the thread, so forgive me if I say something completely redundant. I won't comment on the study you cited, except to say that the premise it explores doesn't necessarily relate to the point you're making.

Psychology is an incredibly complex field that is often over-simplified by people who aren't well-versed in it, and there are certainly odds and ends that I don't know about, either. I only focus on certain aspects of psychology, which is itself a field of study that attempts to explain complicated human behaviors that are ultimately caused by lots of tiny chemical reactions that occur between the brain, body, and environment-- and mostly ignore them while still explaining how things work on a macro scale.

And unfortunately for gamers, game developers are far from experts on the psychology behind players and games. Game developers are mostly people with technology degrees-- computer science, graphic design, network management, etc. They've probably taken a psychology class, maybe even more than one, but they won't have even a remotely extensive background. The fact is, they're not much more knowledgeable than the players-- maybe even less. Afterall, the players are the ones who generally spend a lot of time playing games, figuring out what they like and don't like. The developers usually figure out what's successful by looking at what sells. They play fewer video games than the players do, especially when they're constantly working on a projects.

Big companies don't hire people familiar with the psychology at play, either. The directors and people who make the executive decisions about the game are primarily former game designers themselves. The fact is, it's a job that doesn't even exist, and that's why there are so many total misses even among the most experienced studios. Me? I focus on health and promoting physical activity through games, because it's a good cause and there's actually a job there. Video game psychology is a hobby and a fun dream, for me, but any studies I do on video games will likely be about how we can get kids to stop playing them so much, or how we can use them to promote physical activity. Good stuff, but doesn't exactly make you a friend to the industry.

Now, certainly there are many players who do not understand exactly what they like about video games. Often they confuse correlations with causations, overemphasize realism, and don't account for maturing tastes. And absolutely, player input should be taken with a grain of salt, especially when elicited through the anecdotes of player forums or poorly-constructed polls.

To conclude, whether or not player input should be taken more seriously than the developer's plans depends primarily on the disparities between the playerbase and the developer. For example, there are game development teams that definitely seem to have, at the very least, an intuitive sense of what works and doesn't. You can see errors where they clearly didn't have a conceptual grasp of why their plans worked, but overall they know what players like. There are also playerbases that tend to be smarter (e.g., complex strategy games) than others, and they're more likely to be able to point out flaws in a game's design (e.g., the predominantly young adult playerbase of FFXI pointed out balance issues between jobs like DRG for years, which were glaring to a playerbase smart enough to conceive of concepts like damage-over-time). It's a case-by-case basis. Does Yoshi-P know better than we do? That depends on Yoshi-P's individual knowledge (or the collective knowledge of all in the decision-making process) and our collective knowledge. And there's certainly no way to know that without knowing what one group thinks.

The sad fact is that there will be times when neither what the development team wants to do or what the playerbase wants done will actually work out favorably. What some players like, others will hate. There aren't any perfect solutions, and there's no way to know who has the better solution without either trying it out, or carefully analyzing and crafting it based on player psychology. It will definitely be the former, and it will definitely be a gamble to some degree. Cross your fingers.
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Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#58 Mar 06 2011 at 3:35 AM Rating: Good
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Now, certainly there are many players who do not understand exactly what they like about video games. Often they confuse correlations with causations, overemphasize realism, and don't account for maturing tastes.


Great and informative post over-all, I especially liked this bit.

More importantly, Yoshida knows how his corporation works. There is so much behind-the-scenes activity we don't know of (and are not even supposed to know) like the time, manpower and budget constraints that ultimately the one who should decide the subjectively 'best' course of action is the person who has that knowledge. Yet, like Kachi said, he and his team may lack the knowledge that the players do have, which is why it is important to gather feedback and make sure that Yoshida gets his hands on our knowledge. From there on it's a constant balancing of resources to be sure that the most important features get attention first and that no feature gets too much attention. Part of this, of course, is to be able to determine what part of the feedback should be taken seriously and what shouldn't. As long as Yoshida has access to everything we know, and everything only him and his team knows, he can take the best course of action. Obviously there can be many people that could make better decisions than he does, but not without his knowledge. So right now he is our only bet.


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#59 Mar 06 2011 at 3:52 AM Rating: Good
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What I saw in the last patch is a way to work around what players want.

People wanted quests, when they said we want more content and we want quests, the majority (I think) didn’t mean FFXI type of quests, the wanted (WoW, Aion ……every other MMO type of quests), what did we get? We got another type of guildleve but even worse, no EXP/SP, why?

They don’t want people to have quests/guildleve that grant EXP/SP beyond the 36 hours reset timer, you can't progress doing quests/guildleve alone, they want you to 1- grind if you want to level up, and that’s controlled by fatigue system or 2- change jobs. Again why?

(no end game cotenant)


so even if they throw out millions of polls, in the end they will do what they have to do, not what we want them to do.

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#60 Mar 06 2011 at 7:18 AM Rating: Good
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SlayerXero wrote:

Another thing I noticed related to Democracy is, people with high ranks are saying Yay, whilst most people with low ranks are saying Nay. How is it that people who are spending more time in Eorza are having a great time, while low rankers complain the most?



Well considering it took me six months to get those ranks I am pretty sure I have every right to comment. Having endless amounts of time to spend on a game doesn't give you more right to an opinion. And I see (proportionally speaking) as many people with 40+ jobs who are unhappy as 20 or 30+ jobs.
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When it comes to sitting around not doing anything for long periods of time, only being active for short windows, and marginal changes and sidegrades I'd say FFXI players were the perfect choice for politicians.


#61 Mar 06 2011 at 7:25 AM Rating: Good
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Kachi wrote:
Quote:

That's just one recent study - there are tons more out there. So, yes, even when it comes to entertainment, experts often know better than we do, what makes a game fun. Where's Kachi to talk about the psychology of this?


Heh, well, ask and you shall receive, though I don't think you'll like what I have to say. I'm mostly going to mirror the sentiments that others have already stated, but admittedly I've skimmed parts of the thread, so forgive me if I say something completely redundant. I won't comment on the study you cited, except to say that the premise it explores doesn't necessarily relate to the point you're making.



Thanks Kachi - appreciate the well thought out post - rate up. And, your post doesn't have to agree with my OP/question for me to like what you have to say.

I think for me these polls (and what we've been getting after them in terms of patches) just scream lack of direction. HOWEVER after reading people's posts here I realize that my initial backlash against polling was misdirected. The polling isn't the problem, I can see that now.

What we are getting in response to the polling, however... well I won't fully judge that yet, since I haven't even logged in (I patched and closed) to check out the quests myself, but from the sounds of it - it isn't looking good so far. I seriously hope that they get their crap together soon.

Thank god they scrapped March release for PS3.

Edited, Mar 6th 2011 5:28am by Olorinus
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lolgaxe wrote:
When it comes to sitting around not doing anything for long periods of time, only being active for short windows, and marginal changes and sidegrades I'd say FFXI players were the perfect choice for politicians.


#62 Mar 06 2011 at 9:26 AM Rating: Good
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What we are getting in response to the polling, however... well I won't fully judge that yet, since I haven't even logged in (I patched and closed) to check out the quests myself, but from the sounds of it - it isn't looking good so far.


Honestly speaking? You think they should focus on content, they think they should focus on polishing the game. Sure, it's not what you want out of their work, but I don't think there has been a single adjustment yet that hasn't made the game better. Some go too far (like few mob sizes, and the visual look of the aggro indicator) but those are easily modified now that the majority of the work on them has been done. They aren't wasting their time doing things you don't want them to do (so far), that's for sure.

Maybe in the end it's your opinion against mine- but this game has never been good enough yet to warrant the emphasis on content instead of polishing existing features. It was a large complaint, it is a large complaint- but not the highest priority for them. There will be no good content without a solid foundation behind it.
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We really want to compete against World of Warcraft and for example the new Star Wars MMO.

#63 Mar 06 2011 at 11:39 AM Rating: Decent
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I do not know if SE listens too much or too little to the fanbase. But when a patch seems similar to another older mmo, and not advancing or innovating something new.

Here is Arenanet's thoughts on democracy and game design.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1g5gUweGK5I

Edited, Mar 6th 2011 12:40pm by sandpark
#64 Mar 06 2011 at 12:19 PM Rating: Good
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Kachi wrote:
[quote]Now, certainly there are many players who do not understand exactly what they like about video games. Often they confuse correlations with causations, overemphasize realism, and don't account for maturing tastes. And absolutely, player input should be taken with a grain of salt, especially when elicited through the anecdotes of player forums or poorly-constructed polls.

To conclude, whether or not player input should be taken more seriously than the developer's plans depends primarily on the disparities between the playerbase and the developer. For example, there are game development teams that definitely seem to have, at the very least, an intuitive sense of what works and doesn't. You can see errors where they clearly didn't have a conceptual grasp of why their plans worked, but overall they know what players like. There are also playerbases that tend to be smarter (e.g., complex strategy games) than others, and they're more likely to be able to point out flaws in a game's design (e.g., the predominantly young adult playerbase of FFXI pointed out balance issues between jobs like DRG for years, which were glaring to a playerbase smart enough to conceive of concepts like damage-over-time). It's a case-by-case basis. Does Yoshi-P know better than we do? That depends on Yoshi-P's individual knowledge (or the collective knowledge of all in the decision-making process) and our collective knowledge. And there's certainly no way to know that without knowing what one group thinks.

The sad fact is that there will be times when neither what the development team wants to do or what the playerbase wants done will actually work out favorably. What some players like, others will hate. There aren't any perfect solutions, and there's no way to know who has the better solution without either trying it out, or carefully analyzing and crafting it based on player psychology. It will definitely be the former, and it will definitely be a gamble to some degree. Cross your fingers.


Thank you for your scholarship. I have been terrified by these ridiculous polls, thinking that SE had no idea what they were doing. Then I realized the "Player's Poll" and "Letter from the Producer" and the whole Yoshi-P brand is simply an ad campaign, meant to pacify an angry player base and trick them into believing SE is actually dedicating more resources to fix the game.


Edited, Mar 6th 2011 1:19pm by HardHotThrobbingAetherite
#65 Mar 06 2011 at 12:25 PM Rating: Good
This game obviously isn't going anywhere any soon. From what I see is that Yoshi-P is just trying to satisfy players currently in the game by mini-patches that are so minor that do not effect the game significantly.

Yoshi-P needs to get some ideas from FFXI and that would solve the problems in this game imo. From my prospective as a new player this game have 3 problems. The first which is story. FFXI had a story in every allay and under ever rock. The maps was full of landmarks that was used in rank missions and quest. In this game however, the "levequest" are just simply quest without relevance to anything. what I mean is, quests are supposed to tell you more about the world not only give you some exp and items. In FFXI we used to tell stories of each country and brag that this country has this and that but I don't see that in FFXIV.

Second comes the classes. Yoshi actually is "addressing" it right now but I hope it doesn't go the way side quests went. The uniqueness of classes is very important. Some people may hate me for saying this but I wish classes were changed in certain areas rather than anywhere. I don't want to play as a GLD and see other classes use exactly my abilities, having those abilities makes me important and demanded in parties.

The last issue is the monster allocation. Seriously, why do people not see this as important? The monsters are like mixed up, where dodos are walking near rats and goats near beetles. From FFXI I remember (being a Bastok citizen) that we start at South Gusta.(1-7) then move to North(7-11) then Konchtant Highlands(11-13) then start partying in Valkurm (11-20) then take a journey to Jeuno where most gather. This sequential areas that I visited made me learn a lot about the game. This if put correctly can help the players understand the game in different aspects.

IMO the team needs to solve these problems in a major update, not only look at what the players want in the game and try to add them in a mini version.

,FRM
#66 Mar 06 2011 at 5:48 PM Rating: Good
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Olorinus the Vile wrote:

Thanks Kachi - appreciate the well thought out post - rate up. And, your post doesn't have to agree with my OP/question for me to like what you have to say.

I think for me these polls (and what we've been getting after them in terms of patches) just scream lack of direction. HOWEVER after reading people's posts here I realize that my initial backlash against polling was misdirected. The polling isn't the problem, I can see that now.

What we are getting in response to the polling, however... well I won't fully judge that yet, since I haven't even logged in (I patched and closed) to check out the quests myself, but from the sounds of it - it isn't looking good so far. I seriously hope that they get their crap together soon.

Thank god they scrapped March release for PS3.


No problem. It always strokes my ego when people care about what I have to say :P

We may never know the actual impact of the polling. When Tanaka was in charge, he took the developer-knows-best approach, and arguably, depending on whether you blame him, Wada, or whatever entity, he didn't know best. He could have polled the players, and used that information to change the game, and it still wouldn't have been good. Now we have Yoshida who seems to value player input more strongly. We can't say how strongly-- he may only want to confirm that what he plans will be successful. It's very common in individual psychology for a person to exhibit what we call a confirmation bias-- they look for proof of what they already believe, and rationalize away any evidence to the contrary. That wasn't the impression that I got from his comments, but we'll see. It's certainly possible that he will chalk up certain responses in the poll to poor wording or players not really knowing what they want. Maybe Yoshida would do a better job without considering player feedback.

One thing that interests me is the sociology of game designers, particularly in Japanese companies. At least in the U.S., where profession has been shown to correlate to personality, people with computer programming degrees tend to have strong, dominant personalities, which can cause a good deal of head-butting, and I wonder if it's the same in Japanese companies, and how that might make it difficult to lead a team of opinionated programmers to build a cohesive product. I don't know if the lead developers really take their subordinates opinions into consideration at all. I imagine it could vary greatly depending on the team.

Quote:
Thank you for your scholarship. I have been terrified by these ridiculous polls, thinking that SE had no idea what they were doing. Then I realized the "Player's Poll" and "Letter from the Producer" and the whole Yoshi-P brand is simply an ad campaign, meant to pacify an angry player base and trick them into believing SE is actually dedicating more resources to fix the game.


I think the true test of this will come when they begin to implement changes to the battle system. As it stands, this is the game's primary weakness. Battle, as in most any MMO, is the primary draw-- the thing you signed on to do. When it's not fun, it's difficult for a game like this to succeed. What will definitely work against Yoshida, particularly if he was relying on data from the player poll, is that the battle system currently needs significant work on every end. You can see that there was basically no consensus on what the problem with the battle system is, a pretty even split on criticism all around, which is the worst thing to hear when you're trying to get constructive feedback (You suck at everything!).

My concern is if the team is truly bold enough to actually implement the massive changes needed to turn combat in to a system that provides optimal challenge and appropriate feedback and motivation. This was a weakness in XI as well, and SE was always pussyfooting around with minor "adjustments." You can tell that this team is hesitant to make big changes as well, but we'll see.
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#67 Mar 06 2011 at 6:31 PM Rating: Good
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Thayos wrote:
Oct. 2010: "why is SE so out of touch? Whaaaaaaaa!!!"

Five months later...

"Why does SE listen to us so much? Whaaaaaaaaa!!!"


Even during the beta it's been said that there's two ways SE can make FFXIV fail:
1. Don't listen to its fans.
2. Listen to its fans.

As for Olo's doctor analogy, it wouldn't be quite so bad if Yoshi-P was the doctor, the players were the patient, and these polls were just the doctor listing the available options for treatment. Let's hope that's really what's going on here.

Edited, Mar 6th 2011 7:40pm by ForceOfMeh
#68 Mar 07 2011 at 10:33 AM Rating: Excellent
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SlayerXero wrote:

Another thing I noticed related to Democracy is, people with high ranks are saying Yay, whilst most people with low ranks are saying Nay. How is it that people who are spending more time in Eorza are having a great time, while low rankers complain the most?


I can't remember what the name of this fallacy is, but you're looking at it backwards. This statement assumes that you have to play the game more to enjoy it more and that if you play it less, you enjoy it less.

The actual matter is that the people who do enjoy the game are playing it more and therefore a higher level. The people who do not enjoy the game are not playing it as much or at all, and therefore a lower level.

That's why all the people who like the game tend to have higher ranks than the people who don't; because the people who aren't having fun (and many of them, like myself, are people who have logged on and TRIED TO have fun but simply couldn't) aren't playing.

Playing a game I don't enjoy more will not make me enjoy it more. Conversely, if I did enjoy the game, I would be playing it more.
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#69 Mar 07 2011 at 10:58 AM Rating: Good
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This is why no one uses a pure democracy. They use representative democracies. The people vote-in the expert that most closely sides with their beleifs/opinions.

Of course the benefits of this system go out the window when the people get buffaloed into electing someone like Sarah Palin as their expert. Just sayin.

I hope SE isn't simply implementing the thing that gets the most votes. Rather they should use that information to investigate and look into the possibility of revamping things in certain areas. The Physical Rank is one example. If they react directly to the poll, Physical Rank is toast. However, I would like to think they will take that poll response and dig deeper. Find out what it is about the Physical Rank we don't like and see what alternative way these issues can be addressed, then choose the thing(s) that make the most sense.




Edited, Mar 7th 2011 11:01am by Mithsavvy
#70 Mar 07 2011 at 11:29 AM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
Democracy is great


Actually democracy is just a glorified way of saying mob rule.


I think the idea of polling has some merit, but making good polls is very much an art and not a science. So unless SE has got gallup or frank luntz working for them, the mileage may very in terms of the quality and veracity of the answers.
#71 Mar 07 2011 at 11:36 AM Rating: Excellent
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Mithsavvy wrote:
This is why no one uses a pure democracy. They use representative democracies. The people vote-in the expert that most closely sides with their beleifs/opinions.

Of course the benefits of this system go out the window when the people get buffaloed into electing someone like Sarah Palin as their expert. Just sayin.


As an aside to this tangent: This is much of the reason why the US political system is terrible. A two party system (And I don't care what you have to say about Libertarian, Green, or any other party, if you aren't Democrat or Republican, your chance of getting elected to any office of importance beyond county councilman is 1% or less, and the higher up the chain you go, the less of a chance you have) is a severely limiting factor on letting the representatives actually reflect the "will of the people". You end up with two parties, both of whom are going to try to put the most middle of the road candidate they can in the race, whatever person they feel will get the most votes, regardless of their viewpoints. I'm sure anyone who follows politics can think of several candidates who shot themselves in the foot by actually having a thought of their own, for better or for worse, on a controversial issue. It's easier to elect a guy everyone can agree with and then use him or her to push your party's agenda than it is to elect a guy (or woman) who speaks their mind.

Then there's the mindless sheep on BOTH sides of the spectrum who will vote along party lines regardless of the candidate for no reason other than "I am [Party X] and [candidate] is [Party X] therefore I am voting for [candidate]." or even "My parents were [Party X] and therefore I am [Party X]."

Whether you voted for McCain or Obama or someone else, I would be willing to wager that if asked "Where does your candidate stand on [hot button issue]?" that at least 80% of voters would have no clue whatsoever what their candidate believed or said. People don't even care any more because your voice isn't heard if you live in a state that isn't a "Swing State". Even Texas and California, the top two electoral vote getters and the biggest "Red state" and "Blue State" in the country respectively, break down to a 45%-55% vote at the end of most elections. We have a higher voter turnout for freaking American Idol to pick which jack off can sing pop songs best than we do for the person who is going to lead our country and carry around a briefcase with a "Blow up the world" button for four years.

Honestly, the whole political system would benefit from having parties scrapped entirely and having candidates run on their own merits, talking about their own beliefs, laying it out and saying: "This is what I think about abortion." "This is what I think about *** marriage." "This is what I think about healthcare." "This is what I think about taxes." And then letting people vote on the IDEAS they agree with and not the party they just happen to belong to (even though any sane person of any political party usually ends up finding themselves toward the middle anyway). A reasonable voter might say "I am a [Party X] but I do believe that [Ideas party Y believes]". I find myself agreeing with the stereotypical mindsets of either party about 50/50. Call me crazy (and I assume some will) but I liked Ron Paul. Since Ron Paul is a little crazy himself though, I don't think he'll ever see his name on a ballot outside of a primary. In the last election, I didn't vote for who I wanted to win, I voted for who I disliked the least. I wasn't thrilled with what either candidate or either vice president brought to the table and I picked what I felt was the lesser of two evils.

And that's exactly it: When your country's election system boils down to roughly 1/3 of your voting population voting for the person they dislike the least... doesn't that seem like a glaring flaw? Not that I think either political party cares, I'm sure they like it so long as they get their guys in office.

But I totally digress from the topic...

The thing about the player polls is that they are representative of the players' aggregate opinions. I don't think they need to just give everyone ice cream and candy for dinner every day; they do need to have a mind of their own. But they can't just say "You're getting creamed corn and green beans for dinner and you're going to like it or you're not going to eat anything!" otherwise they will be left with a very empty dinner table.

Edited, Mar 7th 2011 12:39pm by Mikhalia
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#72 Mar 07 2011 at 11:49 AM Rating: Good
The point of American government is to spread power out as thinly as possible, to protect people from government for as long as possible. Not to provide a sincere avenue for representation and change.

If you lived in a Dictatorship, Monarchy or Communist Country you would likely not be calling Democracy out for it's failings, but rather wishing for the day when the IDEAL of Democracy was brought to your country.

In practice, Democracy is still a Dictatorship of sorts. But is makes it harder for a group in power to claim legitamacy. Which is sometimes all you can really eek out of a political situation - a minor change in public perception.

Yoshi-P and his polls do just that, change public perception. They do not make direct changes to the game, anymore than you directly vote for a Bill to pass Congress. They do add a bit of legitimacy to the decisions that are reached after the Dev Team considers this information. Even if you don't agree.
#73 Mar 07 2011 at 12:04 PM Rating: Decent
Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
I don't think they need to just give everyone ice cream and candy for dinner every day; they do need to have a mind of their own.


In America everyone is allowed to make their own choices largely. You CAN have ice cream and candy for dinner everynight. In fact, some people do. In this respect, the system is working as intended.

If you are having trouble understanding the reason we have ended up with a Two-Party sytem, the reasoning behind the Electoral College or representative government in general, I would urge you to spend $42 and take an American History class at your local community college. Maybe take part two if you are interested in the subject.

The living room discussions of politics, the absolutely inane comments that can be found on internet forums, indicate that some modern Americans have abosolutely no idea what America is. Why our founding fathers came here (what they were running from), why our war veterans fought so hard for the IDEALS of America. How our Constitution protects those freedoms (or tries to).

Knowing history doesn't make you a Doctor, Lawyer or Engineer. I find that it's very rare to hear of a History Major at all.

You don't even need to know American history to vote. That is scary.

Edited, Mar 7th 2011 1:05pm by SmashingtonWho
#74 Mar 07 2011 at 12:11 PM Rating: Good
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305 posts
I say we test out the OP's theory. If this were a true democracy and anything we put on the poll gets implemented if enough people vote for it i say we all vote for chocobos with laser beams.

I think this would be a win-win. If they don't show up, Op (and others) get the satisfaction that their doctor isn't pandering to the masses. If the chocobo's with laser beams do show up.... well ******-a we have chocobos with laser beams at least.
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#75 Mar 07 2011 at 12:12 PM Rating: Excellent
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SmashingtonWho wrote:
Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
I don't think they need to just give everyone ice cream and candy for dinner every day; they do need to have a mind of their own.


In America everyone is allowed to make their own choices largely. You CAN have ice cream and candy for dinner everynight. In fact, some people do. In this respect, the system is working as intended.

If you are having trouble understanding the reason we have ended up with a Two-Party sytem, the reasoning behind the Electoral College or representative government in general, I would urge you to spend $42 and take an American History class at your local community college. Maybe take part two if you are interested in the subject.

The living room discussions of politics, the absolutely inane comments that can be found on internet forums, indicate that some modern Americans have abosolutely no idea what America is. Why our founding fathers came here (what they were running from), why our war veterans fought so hard for the IDEALS of America. How our Constitution protects those freedoms (or tries to).

Knowing history doesn't make you a Doctor, Lawyer or Engineer. I find that it's very rare to hear of a History Major at all.

You don't even need to know American history to vote. That is scary.

Edited, Mar 7th 2011 1:05pm by SmashingtonWho


I understand the reasons behind the two party system. I also know that Washington, the only president elected before political parties began forming and gaining power, said that a two party system would cause a ton of problems down the road. And I believe the current political situation proves him correct.

I also know the reasoning behind the electoral college; it was formed based on the premise that many Americans at the time were illiterate and uneducated and therefore could not be expected to make accurate, informed decisions with their votes; the EC was formed to attempt to balance this. On one hand, I think returning to a popular vote would be a better system due to the EC leading many voters to believe their vote has no voice in a state which tends heavily toward one party over the other. On the other, one could argue that the fact that voters are so misinformed nowadays could also indicate needing to keep it.

EDIT: The Dinner analogy was in reference to FFXIV, not America. I was saying that they need to not just give the players exactly what they ask for at all times, but they also shouldn't jsut give us what they think we want and call it a day.

Edited, Mar 7th 2011 1:15pm by Mikhalia
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#76 Mar 07 2011 at 12:42 PM Rating: Good
Yes, Mik. Rate up sir. I think my wording was a bit off, I did not mean to direct that at you specifically. I think what I meant by ice cream and candy is really more like religion and anti-government sentiment.

We still have some basic freedoms in America that people in other countries would, and do, literally die for. I'm really just advocating for voter awareness and education.
#77 Mar 07 2011 at 12:49 PM Rating: Excellent
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To start, ironically, if it weren't for FFXIV's problems we wouldn't be having these really nice discussions.

Anyway, a 'dictatorship' is only really good when the dictator is good. But it goes further than that. The 'dictatorship' needs to be absolute.

As we saw from FFXIV's release it seemed as though the only ones with power, were the people who wanted to release the game, just to help SE's bottom line.

And although a game like Rift is a cut and dry WoW clone, that game learned and improved on the WoW model. It was a collaboration between developers and their investors and in short they are doing very well; it's night and day compared to FFXIV. I did kind of hope for FFXI 'clone', but only in terms of SE learning from the very strong foundation of FFXI. Right now (and still) it's like SE forgot they made FFXI.

Psychologically, as Kachi alluded to, developers really aren't deeply aware of what makes people like the game they're making. Developers make games because they love games, because they want to express something and because their investors want to make money.
You can make a good game that hasn't been made before, but it's that much harder to do when, successful foundations have already been created. Hence, you have player expectations to live up to which unfortunately or fortunately can make a game.

That's why our opinion matters so much. We want a better game and the community, if anything, isn't looking for a WoW clone, but like I stated earlier, is looking at FFXI for inspiration. Again, this is why we're being polled because those that play FF have different needs and wants than someone who doesn't care about the game.

Although when I play Rift, I often think if a FF label was stuck on it and it had FF lore and classes, how much more immersed I'd be, and how most people wouldn't care that it behaved like WoW, because of how fun it was.
#78 Mar 07 2011 at 1:06 PM Rating: Good
Trying to learn more about SE as a company. Suppose it is long overdue.

http://www.square-enix.com/eng/company/index.html

Very limited info here. To me, it paints a picture of one man, Yoichi Wada, who is very much the captain of the ship. What kind of ship? Perhaps a dictator-ship. HA!

Anyone have any other information that might shed light on the decision making process at SE?
#79 Mar 07 2011 at 1:06 PM Rating: Good
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Democracy sucks as a tool when doing anything creative. Games as an artform will devolve the same way hollywood movies have because everything nowdays is made to please as many consumers as possible. This way you'll never make the incredible experience for anyone but an okay-ish for most at best.
#80 Mar 07 2011 at 1:24 PM Rating: Good
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Mikhalia,

Some other countries use a system that allows you to specify your top candidate on the ballot, but then also select a contingent candidate(s) in order of preference. It solves the problem of being concnerned that your vote is going to waste. Even if one party splits, the other candidate can not win without a majority (in the first round). From there, they look at peoples contingent votes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contingent_vote


Of course the people that would have to approve such a system are the very people this would negatively affect.

The other potential negative is that I am learning more and more that people are a bunch of sheep. No one thinks for themselves anymore because "information" is so readily available. It's scary how many people believe anythign they read or hear - especially when it is delivered by someone who claims to be on your side of the political divide.

#81 Mar 07 2011 at 1:34 PM Rating: Good
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123 posts
Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
Honestly, the whole political system would benefit from having parties scrapped entirely and having candidates run on their own merits, talking about their own beliefs


Actually Washington, the only president not to represent a political party, cautioned against them. It was one of the writers of the constitution did research into the ancient republics and noted that it was the formation of factions or coalitions of factions which typically did them in.
#82 Mar 07 2011 at 1:43 PM Rating: Decent
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412 posts
Isn't Yoshi just questioning what is being complained about in forums and letting the players choose which is updated first?
I am almost positive this poll thing was to try and ease the people with complaints about the games status.
I've yet to see any content being added beside the NM's.
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#83 Mar 07 2011 at 1:47 PM Rating: Good
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Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
SmashingtonWho wrote:
Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
I don't think they need to just give everyone ice cream and candy for dinner every day; they do need to have a mind of their own.


In America everyone is allowed to make their own choices largely. You CAN have ice cream and candy for dinner everynight. In fact, some people do. In this respect, the system is working as intended.

If you are having trouble understanding the reason we have ended up with a Two-Party sytem, the reasoning behind the Electoral College or representative government in general, I would urge you to spend $42 and take an American History class at your local community college. Maybe take part two if you are interested in the subject.

The living room discussions of politics, the absolutely inane comments that can be found on internet forums, indicate that some modern Americans have abosolutely no idea what America is. Why our founding fathers came here (what they were running from), why our war veterans fought so hard for the IDEALS of America. How our Constitution protects those freedoms (or tries to).

Knowing history doesn't make you a Doctor, Lawyer or Engineer. I find that it's very rare to hear of a History Major at all.

You don't even need to know American history to vote. That is scary.

Edited, Mar 7th 2011 1:05pm by SmashingtonWho


I understand the reasons behind the two party system. I also know that Washington, the only president elected before political parties began forming and gaining power, said that a two party system would cause a ton of problems down the road. And I believe the current political situation proves him correct.

I also know the reasoning behind the electoral college; it was formed based on the premise that many Americans at the time were illiterate and uneducated and therefore could not be expected to make accurate, informed decisions with their votes; the EC was formed to attempt to balance this. On one hand, I think returning to a popular vote would be a better system due to the EC leading many voters to believe their vote has no voice in a state which tends heavily toward one party over the other. On the other, one could argue that the fact that voters are so misinformed nowadays could also indicate needing to keep it.
EDIT: The Dinner analogy was in reference to FFXIV, not America. I was saying that they need to not just give the players exactly what they ask for at all times, but they also shouldn't jsut give us what they think we want and call it a day.

Edited, Mar 7th 2011 1:15pm by Mikhalia


The bolded is much, much worse (in my opinion) than illiterate and uneducated Americans. At least back then they would have voted on ideals, if nothing else. Would you rather someone vote for a man who gave a few passionate speeches over the radio and won over a voter because of it (whether or not he was feeding bs). Or have voters who's opinions are based billions of dollars of campaigning and the constant bombardment or incorrect, or made-up facts and information.

People today read a couple of emails and listen to an afternoon talk show and all of a sudden feel empowered to preach to their peers the intricacies of global economics, domestic economics, socialism, communism, economics history, market economics, capitalism, religion, war, and-the-list-goes-on-forever, etc.

Nothing ****** me off more than someone who will listen to a radio talk show host for an hour, then proceed to "tell me like it is" to the point that they "feel sorry for me" if I don't agree with them. No really, I appreciate your concern, but at this particular point in time I am not going to hoard two years worth of rations, guns, and ammo to protect myself against the implotion of our country that our governemnt is causing.... geesh. Yea, that is the mentality of the majority voter in my state.... and apparently its not far from being the majority everywhere in the country.

#84 Mar 07 2011 at 1:59 PM Rating: Good
35 posts
Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
As an aside to this tangent

Fun tangent, lets continue!

Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
A two party system (And I don't care what you have to say about Libertarian, Green, or any other party, if you aren't Democrat or Republican, your chance of getting elected to any office of importance beyond county councilman is 1% or less, and the higher up the chain you go, the less of a chance you have) is a severely limiting factor on letting the representatives actually reflect the "will of the people".

Just about every time a mildly viable 3rd party runs for office of the president, it pretty much guarantees victory for the candidate that 3rd party disagrees with most.

Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
Honestly, the whole political system would benefit from having parties scrapped entirely and having candidates run on their own merits, talking about their own beliefs, laying it out and saying: "This is what I think about abortion." "This is what I think about *** marriage." "This is what I think about healthcare." "This is what I think about taxes." And then letting people vote on the IDEAS they agree with and not the party they just happen to belong to

Keep in mind that parties also call the shots for what goes on in the house of representatives and the senate. The parties control the legislative committees on everything from foreign/domestic policy to taxation/spending to naming judges to the judiciary. Party line is very important when you consider your moderate candidate has to fall in line with the speaker of the house or the senate majority leader, or become insignificant.

Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
I also know the reasoning behind the electoral college; it was formed based on the premise that many Americans at the time were illiterate and uneducated and therefore could not be expected to make accurate, informed decisions with their votes; the EC was formed to attempt to balance this. On one hand, I think returning to a popular vote would be a better system due to the EC leading many voters to believe their vote has no voice in a state which tends heavily toward one party over the other. On the other, one could argue that the fact that voters are so misinformed nowadays could also indicate needing to keep it.

A MAJOR reason for the electoral college is to keep highly concentrated populations such as big cities from being the only voice politicians cater to. With a simple popular vote, you would find all politicians cared about were the opinions of big cities like New York or Los Angeles. You would find massive amounts of everyone's tax dollars spent for big city interests in order to secure their vote. The electoral college helps to equalize the voice among all demographics.

Kierk wrote:
Anyway, a 'dictatorship' is only really good when the dictator is good. But it goes further than that. The 'dictatorship' needs to be absolute.

I can't think of any dictatorship or totalitarian state, now or in history, that I would have ever wanted to live under. I would rather be a free citizen than a subject. The difference for SE and it's subscribers is that we the players don't HAVE to play, or buy their product.
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#85 Mar 07 2011 at 2:16 PM Rating: Good
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SmashingtonWho wrote:
Very limited info here. To me, it paints a picture of one man, Yoichi Wada, who is very much the captain of the ship. What kind of ship? Perhaps a dictator-ship. HA!


I see what you did there.

Mithsavvy wrote:
Mikhalia,

Some other countries use a system that allows you to specify your top candidate on the ballot, but then also select a contingent candidate(s) in order of preference. It solves the problem of being concnerned that your vote is going to waste. Even if one party splits, the other candidate can not win without a majority (in the first round). From there, they look at peoples contingent votes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contingent_vote


Of course the people that would have to approve such a system are the very people this would negatively affect.

The other potential negative is that I am learning more and more that people are a bunch of sheep. No one thinks for themselves anymore because "information" is so readily available. It's scary how many people believe anythign they read or hear - especially when it is delivered by someone who claims to be on your side of the political divide.


Yeah, that's exactly it; the biggest problem with "fixing" the government is that the people responsible for fixing it are the people who would be adversely affected by it. It's also the same reason that Communism is good on paper and bad in practice; in theory, a government only exists to set up the system, then disband itself after the system is set up. In reality, no one is going to give up that much power willingly, and Communisms become dictatorships.

What we have currently is at best a representative democracy. A true democracy would put a lot more power in the hands of people and a lot less power in the hands of the government. Why would the government intentionally work towards giving themselves -less- power?

As an aside, it's interesting that the declaration of independence of the USA asserts to Britain that the founding fathers believed that it was not only the right, but the RESPONSIBILITY of the people to overthrow a government they viewed as tyrannical and oppressive. Yet I'm sure that the same government that rose from this ideal would have a much less welcoming mindset were anyone to seriously suggest the US government needed to be reworked because it was not serving the best interests of the people.

As for people believing anything they read and hear, try looking up petitions to ban Dihydrogen Monoxide. It's hilarious how many people will look at all the negative effects of something, without truly understanding what it is, and happily affix their name in the cause of banning something that "sounds bad", completely oblivious to what they are saying.

Spoiler: Dihydrogen monoxide is WATER.

KingWinterclaw wrote:
Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
Honestly, the whole political system would benefit from having parties scrapped entirely and having candidates run on their own merits, talking about their own beliefs


Actually Washington, the only president not to represent a political party, cautioned against them. It was one of the writers of the constitution did research into the ancient republics and noted that it was the formation of factions or coalitions of factions which typically did them in.


Indeed. And as I said, look where it has gotten us. (Besides off topic)

Mithsavvy wrote:
Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
On one hand, I think returning to a popular vote would be a better system due to the EC leading many voters to believe their vote has no voice in a state which tends heavily toward one party over the other. On the other, one could argue that the fact that voters are so misinformed nowadays could also indicate needing to keep it.


The bolded is much, much worse (in my opinion) than illiterate and uneducated Americans. At least back then they would have voted on ideals, if nothing else. Would you rather someone vote for a man who gave a few passionate speeches over the radio and won over a voter because of it (whether or not he was feeding bs). Or have voters who's opinions are based billions of dollars of campaigning and the constant bombardment or incorrect, or made-up facts and information.

People today read a couple of emails and listen to an afternoon talk show and all of a sudden feel empowered to preach to their peers the intricacies of global economics, domestic economics, socialism, communism, economics history, market economics, capitalism, religion, war, and-the-list-goes-on-forever, etc.

Nothing ****** me off more than someone who will listen to a radio talk show host for an hour, then proceed to "tell me like it is" to the point that they "feel sorry for me" if I don't agree with them. No really, I appreciate your concern, but at this particular point in time I am not going to hoard two years worth of rations, guns, and ammo to protect myself against the implotion of our country that our governemnt is causing.... geesh. Yea, that is the mentality of the majority voter in my state.... and apparently its not far from being the majority everywhere in the country.


I posed the alternative viewpoint, but I wasn't arguing in favor of it. I agree that there is far too much ignorance behind votes for either candidate in most modern elections. Too many people willing to listen to one news source and take everything that that one source says as fact.
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#86 Mar 07 2011 at 2:31 PM Rating: Good
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Agreed with points 1, 2, and 4 with nothing to add. Commenting on point #3:

SirEdmundBurke wrote:
Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
I also know the reasoning behind the electoral college; it was formed based on the premise that many Americans at the time were illiterate and uneducated and therefore could not be expected to make accurate, informed decisions with their votes; the EC was formed to attempt to balance this. On one hand, I think returning to a popular vote would be a better system due to the EC leading many voters to believe their vote has no voice in a state which tends heavily toward one party over the other. On the other, one could argue that the fact that voters are so misinformed nowadays could also indicate needing to keep it.

A MAJOR reason for the electoral college is to keep highly concentrated populations such as big cities from being the only voice politicians cater to. With a simple popular vote, you would find all politicians cared about were the opinions of big cities like New York or Los Angeles. You would find massive amounts of everyone's tax dollars spent for big city interests in order to secure their vote. The electoral college helps to equalize the voice among all demographics.


The result of the current EC system is that the states that get the attention are the swing states, the ones likely to go either way. Any state that is historically strong red (e.g. Texas) or historically strong blue (e.g. California) are highly unlikely to see much campaign attention from -either- candidate because these states are often chalked up as a guaranteed win for one candidate.

Then there's the matter of tiny states with only 3-5 electoral votes who won't see much campaign action either. States like Ohio and Florida that A: Are on the right side of the country and B: have over 20 electoral votes get their voices heard pretty heavily. On the other hand you have a state like Montana, Alaska, Idaho, and Hawaii that A: don't have enough votes to matter, B: Are on teh left side of the country and since polling locations close last, the election is often already decided before they're even finished voting, and C: excluding Hawaii, there's so much ground to cover in states that are physically large with few votes that it's simply not worth the fuel, money, and effort to spend more than a day or two at most shaking babies and kissing hands. Or was it the other way around...

One idea would be to keep the electoral college, but divide the larger states into smaller breakdowns of relatively equal population size and have each of those smaller areas have a portion of the electoral vote of the state as a whole. If a state has 20 electoral votes and has 48% vote for Fred Smith and 52% vote for Joe Johnson then Fred gets 9 EV and Joe gets 11 EV. It's more to keep track of, but it's more fair IMO than giving all 20 EV to Joe just because he won by 4%. This is part of the reason there is such low turnout. Taking my two common Red/Blue examples:

Republican in California: Why bother voting? Democrat will win so your vote is wasted.
Democrat in California: Why bother voting? Democrat will win so you're just a +1.
Republican in Texas: Why bother voting? Republican will win so your vote is wasted.
Democrat in California: Why bother voting? Republican will win so you're just a +1.
Independent in either state: Why bother voting? Your candidate is only going to get like 0.25% of the vote anyway.

With the system the way it is, it gives so many people no reason to vote because their voice is either not heard or is moot.

Split up the Electoral votes based on voter breakdown and you'll see a lot more people interested in the polls I think.

Remove political parties and have candidates speak their mind and get elected based on ideas and you'll get a lower voter turnout (since people CBA to actually research who they're voting for and want to be told who they are picking) but the voter turnout will at least be more likely to be making educated decisions. And honestly, if you can't educate yourself on who you're voting for, don't bother voting anyway.
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#87 Mar 07 2011 at 2:33 PM Rating: Good
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Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
In the last election, I didn't vote for who I wanted to win, I voted for who I disliked the least. I wasn't thrilled with what either candidate or either vice president brought to the table and I picked what I felt was the lesser of two evils.

And that's exactly it: When your country's election system boils down to roughly 1/3 of your voting population voting for the person they dislike the least... doesn't that seem like a glaring flaw? Not that I think either political party cares, I'm sure they like it so long as they get their guys in office.



Douche or ****
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#88 Mar 07 2011 at 2:54 PM Rating: Good
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Olorinus the Vile wrote:
Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
In the last election, I didn't vote for who I wanted to win, I voted for who I disliked the least. I wasn't thrilled with what either candidate or either vice president brought to the table and I picked what I felt was the lesser of two evils.

And that's exactly it: When your country's election system boils down to roughly 1/3 of your voting population voting for the person they dislike the least... doesn't that seem like a glaring flaw? Not that I think either political party cares, I'm sure they like it so long as they get their guys in office.



Douche or ****


Indeed. Although someone following people around with a gun screaming "VOTE OR DIE" would be pretty amusing to watch.
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#89 Mar 07 2011 at 6:23 PM Rating: Good
Mikhalia, would a modified system of election be better, or just have different failures?
#90 Mar 07 2011 at 6:41 PM Rating: Good
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SmashingtonWho wrote:
Mikhalia, would a modified system of election be better, or just have different failures?


No system is without its flaws, so I would definitely agree with the latter; that modifying the election system would fix some aspects of it while introducing other flaws.

I do feel that it's probably not the -best- system that could be use as it currently stands, but I'm sure it's not the worst either. I stake no belief that there is a perfect system, just systems that are "less flawed".
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#91 Mar 07 2011 at 6:57 PM Rating: Decent
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Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
SmashingtonWho wrote:
Mikhalia, would a modified system of election be better, or just have different failures?


No system is without its flaws, so I would definitely agree with the latter; that modifying the election system would fix some aspects of it while introducing other flaws.

I do feel that it's probably not the -best- system that could be use as it currently stands, but I'm sure it's not the worst either. I stake no belief that there is a perfect system, just systems that are "less flawed".


Ironically, I'm pretty sure the US will be shopping for a new system within the next few decades.

The current system is supposed to be a constitutional republic where the interests of the rich and the poor are balanced. Unfortunately, the rich have simply become too good at gaming the system. 7 out of 10 top political contributors are big business, the last 3 out of 10 are unions. If Republicans succeed in busting unions, as they are wont to do, the middle class will lose its "voice" permanently, especially when corporations now count as "people" with unlimited political spending at their disposal. Democrats will be forced to court big business for funding (a process already begun under Clinton), and your only choices in political parties will be "for the Rich" and "for the Richer," to the detriment of the other 98% of American society.

Basically, the shift from constitutional republic to all out oligarchy is hanging by a thread, and all but assured. However, I'm pretty sure the people won't stand for it for very long... over the course of decades, at least, once conservatives realize that sucking up to the rich didn't actually work out so well. There's bound to be political upheaval until the poor, once again, regains their voice.
#92 Mar 09 2011 at 3:46 AM Rating: Good
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Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
SirEdmundBurke wrote:
Mikhalia the Picky wrote:
I also know the reasoning behind the electoral college; it was formed based on the premise that many Americans at the time were illiterate and uneducated and therefore could not be expected to make accurate, informed decisions with their votes; the EC was formed to attempt to balance this. On one hand, I think returning to a popular vote would be a better system due to the EC leading many voters to believe their vote has no voice in a state which tends heavily toward one party over the other. On the other, one could argue that the fact that voters are so misinformed nowadays could also indicate needing to keep it.

A MAJOR reason for the electoral college is to keep highly concentrated populations such as big cities from being the only voice politicians cater to. With a simple popular vote, you would find all politicians cared about were the opinions of big cities like New York or Los Angeles. You would find massive amounts of everyone's tax dollars spent for big city interests in order to secure their vote. The electoral college helps to equalize the voice among all demographics.


The result of the current EC system is that the states that get the attention are the swing states, the ones likely to go either way. Any state that is historically strong red (e.g. Texas) or historically strong blue (e.g. California) are highly unlikely to see much campaign attention from -either- candidate because these states are often chalked up as a guaranteed win for one candidate.


This isn't really an issue with the system AS A WHOLE. The system is designed such that each state independently decides how to assign it's electors. There is no federal/constitutional requirement for all of a state's electors to go to the winner of the popular vote - in fact, there is no federal/constitutional requirement that the electors pay any attention whatsoever to the popular vote, and in 26 states, there's no legal requirement for an elector to vote for the candidate they were chosen to vote for. It just so happens that the state laws of 48 of 50 states apportion all of that state's electors to the winner of that state's popular vote (Nebraska and Maine do not use a winner-take-all system - instead, they assign one electoral vote to the winner in each congressional district, and two electoral votes to the statewide winner).

And as an aside, you're a little off on the reason for the electoral college exists. It had nothing to do with countering the uninformed decisions of uneducated and illiterate voters - remember that at the time voting was restricted to landowners, who would be wealthier and thus more educated and more likely to be literate, and anyway at the time the United States had the most literate citizenry in the world.

Instead it has to do with what was then seen as the reason for the federal government in the first place - since the federal government was intended to regulate interstate affairs and provide defense and security to the states, it was felt that the state governments, not the citizens directly, that should dictate the membership of the federal government. This is why the House of Representatives is the only branch of government the Constitution explicitly states is elected via popular vote (and thus, why all revenue bills, i.e. taxation bills, must originate in the House), with the selection of senators and presidential electors left to the discretion of each state's government. (Though even in the very first presidential election in 1789, 6 of the thirteen states assigned their electoral votes on the basis of the popular vote - in which Washington to about 93% of the vote.)

To be fair, SirEdmundBurke is a bit off, too - the electoral college was not designed to dilute the voices of urban voters. It didn't need to be, because the design of the bicameral legislature had already achieved that goal, with a lower house apportioned by population giving more power to more populous states, and an upper house apportioned by state giving more power to the less populous states. The electoral vote count being set to the sum of a state's representatives and senators was a further compromise to prevent both populous urban states AND sparsely-populated rural states from having undue influence in the selection of the president.

Quote:
Taking my two common Red/Blue examples:

Republican in California: Why bother voting? Democrat will win so your vote is wasted.
Democrat in California: Why bother voting? Democrat will win so you're just a +1.
Republican in Texas: Why bother voting? Republican will win so your vote is wasted.
Democrat in California: Why bother voting? Republican will win so you're just a +1.
Independent in either state: Why bother voting? Your candidate is only going to get like 0.25% of the vote anyway.


First off, you're somewhat overstating the "safeness" of those states. For example, California has only voted reliably Democratic for president since 1992 (i.e. Bill Clinton's first term). Historically, it's actually far more strongly Republican, having gone for the Democratic candidate only 16 times out of the 39 presidential elections since California statehood; the last time California went Democratic before Clinton was in 1964 for LBJ (and before that, Truman in 1948), and the state has a tendency toward Republican governors, with the only Democratic governor between Jerry Brown's second and third terms - a 28-year gap - being recalled less than a year into his second term after being reelected with the lowest voter turnout in CA gubernatorial history. There's a stronger case for Texas being a "safe Republican" state, as their electoral votes have gone to the Republican candidate in every presidential election since 1980, with the state going more often Democratic before then - though it's worth noting that for every election since 1980 with two exceptions (1996 and 2008), there's been an Texan on the Republican ticket, and it's uncommon for a state to go against a ticket with a state citizen on it (uncommon enough that it's generally considered a very bad sign when a presidential candidate fails to carry their own state).

Second, there's the issue of individual choice versus aggregate behavior. To wit: abstaining from voting because the outcome is a foregone conclusion only makes sense until you realize that it's only a foregone conclusion assuming everyone votes. If, for example, a majority of voters support A but don't bother to vote because they assume their side is going to win anyway, while the minority of voters who support B decide to vote DESPITE the fact that the majority disagrees with them, B may wind up winning despite not being the choice of the majority of the electorate. (See also CA Proposition 8.)

Quote:
As an aside to this tangent: This is much of the reason why the US political system is terrible. A two party system (And I don't care what you have to say about Libertarian, Green, or any other party, if you aren't Democrat or Republican, your chance of getting elected to any office of importance beyond county councilman is 1% or less, and the higher up the chain you go, the less of a chance you have) is a severely limiting factor on letting the representatives actually reflect the "will of the people". You end up with two parties, both of whom are going to try to put the most middle of the road candidate they can in the race, whatever person they feel will get the most votes, regardless of their viewpoints. I'm sure anyone who follows politics can think of several candidates who shot themselves in the foot by actually having a thought of their own, for better or for worse, on a controversial issue. It's easier to elect a guy everyone can agree with and then use him or her to push your party's agenda than it is to elect a guy (or woman) who speaks their mind.


On the other hand, it's easy to theorize about the merits of a multi-party system without also taking into account their flaws.

In a multi-party system, it's fairly rare for any given party to have a majority. Since it is difficult for a party to enact policy without a majority, they tend to form coalitions. Now, one would expect these to be ad-hoc coalitions formed specifically for given policies, but in practice such coalitions tend to be longer-lived.

Then consider the fact that, even under a multi-party system, political opinions tend to cluster together, the net result generally being two large parties among many smaller ones. Thus you wind up with legislative bodies where two parties represent the majority (often, a vast majority) of members, with each of those parties needing to court smaller parties in order to enact their agendas. As a result, smaller parties wind up having significantly more influence than they otherwise would. Frequently, you wind up with a situation like Canada, where two parties (currently the Conservatives and Liberals in Canada) represent the overwhelming majority of voters and comprise almost the entirety of the legislature, with one or two significant smaller parties (in Canada, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois) who use the fact that usually neither big party has a legislative majority to, effectively, play kingmaker.

In other words, a multi-party state will tend to function as a de facto two-party state, with a few minority parties wielding power far in excess of their numbers.

In a system with only two electorally-viable parties, on the other hand, each party is free to subsume a larger section of the ideological spectrum - in fact, they generally have to to remain viable.

Thus, each party is a de facto coalition, with significant overlap in each coalition's ideological space - in the US, the Republican party is composed primarily of free-marketists, fiscal conservatives, anti-federalists, and social conservatives, while the Democratic party is composed mainly of progressives, civil libertarians, unionists, and collectivists. Because each party covers a large ideological space, individual members have more leeway to vote their consciences - thus party-line votes are less common than in a multi-party state.

It's because of this that, for example, the Republican party was able to pass the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, and 1964, despite being the minority party each time (at times, outnumbered nearly 2 to 1) and twice overcoming Democratic filibustering. In fact, in the US party-line votes are quite rare in most situations, primarily showing up when one party controls both houses of Congress AND holds the presidency - and even then, it's primarily the party in power voting their party line.

In fact, because of each party's wide ideological spread, one can argue that the minor parties are not even necessary at the federal level - a member of the Libertarian or Green parties would not get very far running for congress, for example, but if they were to run as a Republican or a Democrat they could very definitely be elected (e.g. Rand and Ron Paul or the 83 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus) - especially given that the candidates themselves are selected by the voters, unlike most countries where candidates are chosen by party officials. Not that the primary system is perfect, of course - it's possible for an incumbent (who generally run unopposed in the primary) to campaign against a strong candidate from the opposition party during the primary to gain a favorable match-up in the general election (see also Gray Davis's 2002 campaign against Richard Riordan in the primaries). But then, no system is perfect, and no system can be perfect.

After all, "Aus so krummem Holze, als woraus der Mensch gemacht ist, kann nichts ganz Gerades gezimmert werden". "From the crooked timber of humanity, no truly straight thing can be made."
#93 Mar 09 2011 at 5:05 PM Rating: Good
And what do you think of technology?

Our government was created when representation was the ONLY way to get local opinions to Washington. Given that electronic devices are vulnerable to tampering, the idea of replacing personal representation with electronic voting methods has been dismissed, perhaps with good reason.

I still think that not including a single modern communication tool in the government election/decision making process will leave our government equally obsolete.

The majority opinion of America can be easily tallied, to some degree of precision, through modern communication tools. Should this information not be checked against the actual decisions being made by law makers?

Here's my idea:
Every Citizen of America gets a Public Voting number. They can vote YES/NO/MEH on a government run website. This is not a blind vote, such as is necessary for healthy democracy, but rather a public vote that has no bearing on the outcome, but can be verified by yourself later by checking your number on the website.

During the vote, you representative stands up to taka his vote and all his constituents vote as well. The results are sown on a big screen directly behind the Representative just moments before his vote is cast.

Comparing the results of the unofficial majority poll vs. the representatives' final decision, Americans can better decide if your representative is actual serving your best interest. Although, I'm not sure many people truely know what their best interest is.

#94 Mar 11 2011 at 5:24 PM Rating: Good
****
9,526 posts
BastokFL wrote:


Then consider the fact that, even under a multi-party system, political opinions tend to cluster together, the net result generally being two large parties among many smaller ones. Thus you wind up with legislative bodies where two parties represent the majority (often, a vast majority) of members, with each of those parties needing to court smaller parties in order to enact their agendas. As a result, smaller parties wind up having significantly more influence than they otherwise would. Frequently, you wind up with a situation like Canada, where two parties (currently the Conservatives and Liberals in Canada) represent the overwhelming majority of voters and comprise almost the entirety of the legislature, with one or two significant smaller parties (in Canada, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois) who use the fact that usually neither big party has a legislative majority to, effectively, play kingmaker.

In other words, a multi-party state will tend to function as a de facto two-party state, with a few minority parties wielding power far in excess of their numbers.


Meh, the problem as you are stating it, doesn't really exist in Canada. I think you would be hard pressed to find more than one or two issues where either the BQ or the NDP have held the Conservative government hostage during the reign of the most current minority government - and if you look at the history of Canada it is actually a very poor example of the problem you are trying to illustrate.

Despite the fact that we've had a multi-party system for most of our history There have only ever been 11 minority governments in the history of Canada out of 40 governments - so 3/4 of the time we have a majority parliament.

That said some of the best social policy has come about under minority governments, including the institution of public healthcare and pensions. If those policies are indeed the result of "minority parties wielding too much power" I say, bring it on.

You seem to be suggesting people with minority viewpoints should never see them recognized on the political level. I don't see why that should be the case. If anything, minority parliaments seem to give more mainstream parties (in the case of Canada, particularly the federal Liberals) an "excuse" to actually follow their consciences and enact policies that are in the best interests of citizens - which would otherwise be hard to justify to their political bases.

For myself, I enjoy being able to vote for a political party I truly believe in that can actually get elected - maybe not to full government status on a federal level, but can actually influence the direction of the country.

In the last election the NDP received almost 18% of the popular vote in the country. I don't think them getting 29 seats (which is only 9.4% of the total seats) results in them holding a disproportionate amount of power. What IS wrong is that the Bloc got 50 seats with only 10% of the popular vote - but that is a whole nother problem.




Edited, Mar 11th 2011 3:25pm by Olorinus
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