How should I back up and redo, in a publicly-edited article?

post by Jameson Quinn (jameson-quinn) · 2020-07-28T19:07:13.046Z · score: 6 (1 votes) · LW · GW · None comments

This is a question post.

I've been working on the article https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/Rh8v4ba9w5KTb6onD/ongoing-thoughts-on-proportional-voting-methods [LW · GW] for some time now. From the beginning, I was driving towards defining a metric for proportional voting method quality that could be connected through some chain of reasoning and approximations to utilitarianism. I have now achieved such a definition, and am beginning to apply my metric to real-world voting scenarios.

And I am realizing that the connection to utilitarianism is too tenuous and abstract to ever hope to get ordinary people to even understand it exists. Even though I'm no stranger to explaining difficult and abstract concepts in simple concrete terms, this is just too much of a stretch.

I'd like to use the same building blocks to construct a different metric of "vote wastage" which is easier to explain and to grasp. I have a good idea of what that would look like, and estimate that means rewriting about 1/5 to 2/5 of what I have so far.

My question is: how, if at all, should I preserve the article as it currently stands? Is it important for somebody reading the article to understand how I came to this new idea through the old one, or should I focus on clarity and sweep any complexities of the old idea under the rug?

I imagine that at least some of the people reading this question have an obvious answer in mind: "just relentlessly rewrite, don't worry about the current ideas". That answer would be helpful for me to hear, but more helpful would be if you have any advice on specific rhetorical strategies I could use in this situation.

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