Rules of thumb for designing Electronic Direct Democracy systems

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metamerman
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Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:30 pm

Rules of thumb for designing Electronic Direct Democracy systems

Post by metamerman » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:02 pm

Note that these rules relate to *technical* issues. There are a parallel set of marketing issues (features that will make it easier to market the final system to The People). Unfortunately these two sets are in direct opposition in many cases. For example, "dictatorship by demagogue" is a particularly easy sell to our Pleistocene-tuned brains which is why Hitler was "elected" dictator by 88% of the German population in a 1934 referendum. Unfortunately the outputs of systems that are easy to sell to end up being far worse for The People, an outcome that apparently in most cases they seem to be unable to predict.
  1. The attraction, and indeed the viability, of democracy is due to the promise that *everyone* gets an equal vote in every decision that affects them. An effective EDD system must provide the effect of this equal weighting regardless of the *actual* participation rates: That is, the final decision should be the same as if each individual that will be bound by the decision had unlimited time, knowledge, and motivation to ensure that they cast a "correct vote", the vote that best represents their fully considered preferences. Failure to ensure this outcome means that the resulting system will be an oligarchy, not a democracy (and virtually all existing and previous so-called democracies, including all previous EDD proposals, fail to meet this requirement).
  2. No matter what you do the majority of The People will not directly participate in most decisionmaking because doing so requires a significant amount of effort (i.e., a time investment of more than a few hours a year). Therefore delegation is not only a required feature of any viable system, it must be the *default* operating mode (i.e., people must "opt out" of each decision if they don't want to be represented by proxies/delegates).
  3. The existence of political parties, demagogues, celebrities, "supervoters", or any other type of aggregated political power works directly against the requirements of #1. Therefore any proposed EDD must not only not facilitate this type of aggregation, but must include features to prevent it from arising spontaneously.
  4. There is almost no *scientific* evidence that a secret ballot is a necessary feature of a direct democracy other than as a marketing feature. If rules 1-3 are followed even the *potential* benefits of a secret ballot disappear. Because a secret ballot effectively eliminates transparency and the ability to have a verifiable delegation/proxy system, no viable EDD can include any provision for a secret ballot. The need for a secret ballot is this generations "The Earth is flat" or "Disease is caused by bad air": Beliefs that are nearly universally held, yet bereft of actual factual support.
  5. The requirements of rule #2 can be met by a wide variety of proxy-matching algorithms. This is where opportunities for creatively in EDD systems abound. The other rules, however, are much more restrictive and so present much less opportunity for alternative solutions: Any system that does not follow them will surely fail (indeed in most cases they can be shown to fail *by definition*, before even a single line of code is written).

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