What triggered me was a news from Jakartass. The Café is nominated in a so-called Asia Blog Awards. Not bad, I think for a not-so (social-) capital intensive café. So I was thinking: should I myself vote? I remember Aco once wrote that in a voting that involves many voters, it might not be rational to vote. So I called him up.
Me: Aco, do you know the Café is nominated for an Asian blogs award?Voting | Rationality
Aco: Yup, I heard that. Congratz, Manager!
Me: I remember you once said that voting might be irrational...
Aco: Yes. Freakonomics did, too. Only a year later.
Me: Now, do you think I should vote?
Aco: For whom?
Me: ??? for Amien Rais! Of course for the Café, you idiot!
Aco: ... Easy, Boss... OK, how many people do you think will participate in the voting? 200 million?
Me: No! Even 200 will be a surprise. Let's say a hundred... Or maybe 50 -- They only give us 3 days to vote, can you believe it?
Aco: Then, vote. Your voice might count.
Me: ... why?
Aco: The marginal value of one vote is higher when the participation rate is low. In a million-voter election, your vote contribution is negligible. In a 15-voter game, your vote is decisive.
Me: ... Makes sense... By the way, the system is such that, every voter should rank nine candidates. What should I do?
Aco: ... That's interesting. OK, tell me who do you think is your stronger competitor?
Me: ... (I named one blog)...
Aco: What? You think that blog is good? ... (I was ready to argue) ... OK, OK, calm down. I respect your judgement. Now here's a trick. That blog, the one you think might give you hard time in the race, rank it the last.
Me: Why? Shouldn't it be the second ... (of course I mean after the Café)
Aco: No, put the weakest one you think in the second place -- I assume you'll put yourself in the top. Next, put the second weakest in the third place and so on... I presume there will be some averaging in deciding the winner. Then you have to make sure that your strongest opponent gets low point.
Me: ... Got it. I'll do that. Thanks. .... Will you vote?
Aco: Only if you give me a raise...
Me: Go to hell...