Is there a "right" way to structure draw votes?

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Is there a "right" way to structure draw votes?

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 23 Apr 2019, 05:39

As part of a Suggestions thread I've posted, I got to thinking about draw vote rules.

Two Issues
  1. Secret or public ballots?
    1. The official rules are vague on how agreement on a draw is to be reached.
    2. There's really no guidance about secret or open ballots.
  2. Should draws include all survivors (DIAS)?
    1. The official rules are clearer on this; the answer is yes.
    2. However, when you're playing with draw-sized-scoring (DSS), allowing someone to vote themselves out of a draw provides some convenience; it allows a game to end earlier once the final result is a foregone conclusion.
    3. Under a non-DSS scoring system, DIAS is almost always a requirement, so the point is moot.

To be clear, I think that whoever organizes the game should get to set the house rules for the draw. It's all Diplomacy, regardless.

But my personal recommendation is that all games should conform to one of two standards:
  1. DIAS only with Secret Ballots
  2. Non-DIAS allowed with Public Ballots

My idea here is that there are two types of flexibility in draws: composition and secrecy. Having both flexibilities can make draw voting a frustrating chore. Having neither flexibility can make draw voting too rigid.

Thoughts?
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Re: Is there a "right" way to structure draw votes?

Postby Mr.E » 23 Apr 2019, 09:20

Too many options involved with this aspect here. Too much time spent analysing what is the right way forward. I don't see a link between how a vote is held and whether the type of draw matters. Either DIAS or not, either public or secret ballot or not.
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Re: Is there a "right" way to structure draw votes?

Postby Woolgie » 23 Apr 2019, 12:19

From recent experience I know someone has rejected a draw in a secret ballot since it says rejected but I did not vote. Therefore I know there are 2 people who reject it but everyone else only knows there is 1. I really shouldn’t be allowed to know that. Surely everyone should be told at the end of the draw period - e.g. 2 accepts, 1 reject, 1 abstention.

As for DIAS I am firm advocate of the original rules and if a game is ranked it should be DIAS. The secrecy issue I don’t really mind as long as it’s fair to everyone.
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Re: Is there a "right" way to structure draw votes?

Postby Oh Cheese » 23 Apr 2019, 13:06

While the original rules say DIAS, we can assume that nobody originally played the game for ranking points. From my point of view, if I'm going to be part of a five-way draw in an unranked game, a draw is a draw. Let's just take it, shake hands, and get on with our lives. If however the game is ranked, then (and yes, I define my life by how many points I have on this website) I'm always going to look to whittle the draw down to less players. I actually don't like DIAS, because it gives credit to the players who have played a bad (or at least unfortunate) game, but then been bailed out by a stop-the-solo alliance. The original rules were written (presumably) with the intention that this is just a game played for enjoyment - and indeed to try to give more players enthusiasm for playing. DIAS is the perfect conduit for this. When there is some kind of 'reward' on offer in the game it changes the attitude of the players, and so draws without all survivors gives a means of rewarding players based on their skill, not their necessity.

That's just my two cents, and of course some purists on here will think that a draw is never a respectable result, and that players should always go for a solo. I'm not belittling that point of view - everyone's opinion is valid, (and the Mods here do a great job of making this game appeal to all kinds of players). But consider that draws are there to acknowledge how two or more players have both attacked others AND defended themselves adequately. Both of these are attributes of a good player.

I therefore see no need to change the current set-up. If you want to play DIAS, join a DIAS game. If you don't, don't. If you want to play Secret Ballot, join a Secret Ballot game. If you don't, don't. Simples.
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Re: Is there a "right" way to structure draw votes?

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 23 Apr 2019, 13:24

Note that I’m not suggesting a change to the available options in this thread. I’m mostly thinking about which types of draw structures are actually healthy for gameplay.
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Re: Is there a "right" way to structure draw votes?

Postby jay65536 » 23 Apr 2019, 14:51

Woolgie wrote:From recent experience I know someone has rejected a draw in a secret ballot since it says rejected but I did not vote. Therefore I know there are 2 people who reject it but everyone else only knows there is 1. I really shouldn’t be allowed to know that.


I will make a longer post in this thread later about my thoughts on the OP, but Woolgie, I made a Suggestions thread for exactly this problem, and the result was that nothing was done.
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Re: Is there a "right" way to structure draw votes?

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 23 Apr 2019, 16:23

Woolgie wrote:From recent experience I know someone has rejected a draw in a secret ballot since it says rejected but I did not vote. Therefore I know there are 2 people who reject it but everyone else only knows there is 1. I really shouldn’t be allowed to know that. Surely everyone should be told at the end of the draw period - e.g. 2 accepts, 1 reject, 1 abstention.

I agree with that notion for when you're playing DIAS; there's no reason for secret ballot results to be revealed early.

When you're playing non-DIAS, though, it can get really frustrating when there's a whole stack of draw proposals to work through. I would want players to have the ability to veto a stupid draw immediately rather than going through a charade vote, especially when there are other proposals on the table.

Really it comes down to timing: individual votes are important and necessary for face-to-face play, but the vote-with-expiration model is a pretty lousy approximation of that.

I personally would support the idea of restructuring the voting system entirely to have players a standing draw vote rather than scheduling individual votes, particularly for DIAS games. For non-DIAS that gets a tad uglier, but other sites have made it work.
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Re: Is there a "right" way to structure draw votes?

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 23 Apr 2019, 16:27

Oh Cheese wrote:I actually don't like DIAS, because it gives credit to the players who have played a bad (or at least unfortunate) game, but then been bailed out by a stop-the-solo alliance.


I'm not sure I follow you here. Any remaining player, including one that plays what you consider a "bad" or "unfortunate" game, can't be excluded from the draw unless they choose to be excluded from it. I'm not sure that has anything to do with stop-the-solo alliances.
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Re: Is there a "right" way to structure draw votes?

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 23 Apr 2019, 16:32

Mr.E wrote:I don't see a link between how a vote is held and whether the type of draw matters. Either DIAS or not, either public or secret ballot or not.

It's all still Diplomacy, so I'm not arguing that the "right" way(s) are the only way(s).

However, all of these differences (how the vote is held, whether it is secret, and whether it can be non-DIAS) do make a difference to gameplay. With that being the case, I just think it's worth having the conversation about which types of draw votes are beneficial to the game.
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Re: Is there a "right" way to structure draw votes?

Postby jay65536 » 23 Apr 2019, 19:37

OK, so first of all, everything I'm going to say assumes we're thinking about a game being scored by Calhamer points (fixed pot divided equally among draw participants), since, as NP pointed out in his OP, all non-draw-based scoring has DIAS because draw size is a moot point.

Second of all, while I don't want to focus on this, I should point out that both dichotomies (DIAS or noDIAS, secret or open ballot) are not true dichotomies. With some creativity you can come up with "middle ground" for both of them. Maybe that should be a separate thread, NP?

With those two things out of the way...

I think, based on a combination of my experience and my own opinion, that the place to start in this discussion is the following idea: the draw voting structure should not place an extra burden on someone who is trying to solo.

Let me explain what I mean by that, by way of explaining why I strongly oppose open voting with noDIAS. In my experience, endgames in draw-based scoring systems focus on the tension between two different things: draw-whittling, and solo pushes. If someone is trying to solo, they can potentially induce mistakes from their opponents by making them believe they would accept a draw but need to whittle it down before calling it. They can also benefit from unforced errors like someone else trying to whittle down a draw when their target is capable of throwing a solo (and does so).

The issue as it pertains to draw voting is that sometimes a draw vote can change the course of a game. For example, let's say it's a 3-power endgame with noDIAS, and the center counts are at F15/G14/T5. Let's say F wants to solo but has convinced G that she will take a 2way draw if they can cut T out. Meanwhile, let's say G has successfully convinced T that there is no point in playing on since she will definitely lose, and T is happy to end the game now and vote a 2way. In an open ballot game, G can expose F's lie simply by calling a vote! If G and T vote for a 2way, F can either vote it down, causing G to realize she was being lied to, or take a result that's inferior to what she wants.

In this case, the structure of the draw voting (open, noDIAS) has clearly made it harder for France to get the solo she wants. I am of the opinion that draw voting structures should not allow--or at least, try not to allow--these sorts of situations.

So to me, it's not, as NP says, a question of "composition or secrecy". It's a question of what mechanism is contained in the draw voting rule that stops the above scenarios from occurring.

Essentially, I see secret ballot and DIAS as two different ways of accomplishing the same goal. In the above example, if the draw vote were held by secret ballot, F could vote it down and at least have the chance to convince G that it's T voting down the 2way, giving F at least a chance to negotiate her way out of being stalemated. And if the game were DIAS, there wouldn't even be a vote--F could simply tell G that she wants a 2way, and G has to either believe her or not.

Secret balloting creates an extra layer of "politics", while DIAS basically forces people to make endgame decisions instead of trying to vote their way out of them. Both of these things can give "cover" to someone who doesn't want the game to end because they want to try to win.

So with that in mind, I'd say to the OP that instead of lining things up by "flexibility", I'd say that we line them up by whether they don't place an extra burden on solo pushes:

1. If you want open voting, then I believe DIAS is a must.
2. If you want noDIAS, then I believe secret voting is a must.

Of course having both DIAS and secret voting is not something I have a problem with!
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