The framework

If you wanted to list the core ingredients of what a society needs I would put these in one single website in order:

The current policy
The reporting, accounting and audit
The deliberating process
The community debate
The referendum starter
The community website starter

These are the essentials to build whatever else might be desired by the community

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A look outside

I have noticed that finally there are so many initiatives on the net aiming at achieving a quantum leap in the way the politics and government should be done in this connected age. The approaches are often a bit naive or mellow and offered as an aid to the existing politics status quo. Those might work actually. I have a tendency to a more drastic approach where I am neutral to the status quo, I simply build from scratch and let the old to adapt or vanish or do what they want.
It might sound dramatic or unpopular or whatever but I believe that whatever exists there is at least partially responsible of the poor state of affairs and I won’t trust a thing until deeply scrutinised and made sure it is the most logical way we can achieve with the current technology.
It’s very promising that the collective awareness is rising right now.

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Process neutrality

The political process is arbitrarily defined by its own user base. The basic principles of vote, quorum, majority are sufficiently universal, the way they are used in the flow are not. In order to achieve a neutral platform which allows for any kind of usage scenario, the system has to allow its users to construct and use their own model and use their very same model to alter it.

Let’s make an example.

A starting community has just one user. He is defining a process involving one single turn of vote based on 50% + 1 votes to pass any proposal. Due to being alone in the system his proposal is immediately approved. A second person joins the system. He starts a new proposal of having, as an example, a new voting law of having at least 50% of individuals expressing their vote in order to validate the result. This proposal gets voted (of course with the approved voting law) but the first user votes against, causing the proposal to fail. Later, two more individuals join the community and the same proposal is promoted for vote again. This time there are three positives, one negative. The law passes and from then onwards it will be enforced by the system for any subsequent vote. A new proposal, of no matter what type, is open for vote and the results are 1 positive and 1 negative. The new electoral law considers the proposal as rejected since it failed to reach the 50% threshold required by the new electoral law.

It can be observed that there is a ‘special’ category of proposals which have impact on the way the system works. They really follow the exact same process like any other proposals but they can be considered inward to the platform and should be submitted to the attention of all participants, so to ensure there is full viability of such potentially crucial changes.

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User documentation and participation

One primary problem to address when designing a political model is how to get the users to understand, familiarise, control the processes and mechanisms involved. This becomes even more evident when the scale is large enough like in the case of a city council.

Knowledge and understanding are the cornerstones of an effective use of a participative policy sysyem: lack of these fundaments might lead to poor adoption, misuse, abuse and ultimately the corruption of the policy and the degradation of the group itself. It is not a case that many modern advanced democracies have fairly complicated government structures and proticols, with professional politicians belonging to restricted circles of experts in the political field. This by itself can be considered as a ‘lack of documentation’ and carries along all of the above undesireable consequences. Preventing or discouraging the participation to the political life to the common individual is by itself a violation of our social nature as it would be for a child to stay in the same playground with other kids and be prevented to socialize and play with the others.

Fortunately this is a two sided coin, as with the increase of knowledge, awareness and power held by the member of the community, you can expect a corresponding increase of participation and value generated by the community itself.

It is wise to not to consider the politics as a job, but as an activity one ought have when desired or needed, like taking care of your backyard or taking the wife for a dinner out at the right time. You won’t like to have your wife going out for dinner with your political delegate, correct? And I guess nobody can do a better job with your flowers and plants in your garden too. Hence you should demand the same involvement when it comes to the group demanding taxes to you.

When imagining a complete political solution I can’t think of it not being completely understandable and documented, intuitive and rich of tutorials and whatever means to obtain the obvious purpose of having competent and efficient users making the most out of it.

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Constitutional law

Every group have a tendency to build its own core set of rules which in the first place encompass the fundamental reasons of existance of that group. In nations we see this applied with constitutions. These rules sets are normally more abstract and profound than any other laws and they tend to express the purest form of social forms and creeds of the group.

A constitution inspires its citizens and is there as a solid guideline for the conduct of the individuals as well as the political forces in a group.

Still these rules have a life cycle made of relatively small and rare amendments. It is probably even more vital that changes to the constitutional laws are under the scrutiny of the entire population with the aim of guaranteeing that the group protect itself from abuses or from sudden changes in policy clashing with those fundamental principles agreed upon the constitution of the group itself.

Having constitutional law as a ‘senior citizen’ in the overall system helps in the purpose of having a more stable and peaceful evolution of the law of the group.

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Metrics and performance

The best way to assert whether a law is producing more benefits than not is to define sensible metrics for the areas or subjects it impacts or affects.

It is in fact a problem of hard resolution until addressed with precision, objectivity and correct data.

Probably the best way to tackle this problem is by properly identifying the problem that a new proposal is trying to address. In the proposal, all primary and secondary aspects altered by the proposal should be enumerated and taken into the account of the overall economy of the suggested solution, in comparison to the status quo.

When all the parts of the problem have been identified, these will also constitute the metrics we need to inspect and monitor in order to objectively or at least clearly make a stateement about the results obtained by the introduction of the new rule. In theory this process should really lead to no ambiguity: the law was right or wrong because of sound, measurable evidence.

A system of rules should encourage the definition of strong enough ‘audit metrics’ and the process of acquiring and analyzing the resulting data should be part of the core featuress of an implementation of the overall concepts.

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System neutrality, levels of logics

The finality of a policy or governance system should limited to providing the framework of facilities which are necessary to produce, maintain, archive information and to perform a series of collective operations on the data itself, with the aim of producing valuable end products in form of law, rules, documentation, or change to the system itself.

A system can be considered neutral when it contains no assumptions nor incentive to the user to the way he should decide to use it.

As an example, a group might decide that the most effective way for that group to operate is to perform their voting session with a time limit of seven days, with no quorum and with a minimum number of votes of 20 percent of the population.

Another group would consider the above configuration inefficient for their purposes and would rather orient their process to have a quorum of fifty percent plus one voters abd a second stage ballot in case of the quorum quota not being met.

These examples will probably be sufficient to stimulate a debate and invite you to come with an even better configuration.

The point is that such level of logic can be considered of ‘secondary level’, compared to the very constant underlying concepts of vote, proposal or process.

Once observed that there are at least two level of logics, it is possible to proceed implemeting a truly neutral sytem.

You could imagine that a relatively small number of strong and abstract concept could constitute the core of the solution and serves the fundamental purposes required by no matter what process configuration, we can call this the system kernel or core.

Once the core system is made availablr, one or more configurations could be prepared and offered as a starting point for a community.

Whether or not this configuration is ‘perfect’ for that community is not really a problem, since they will be able to alter their configuration at any time by the very use of their platform.

In fact, in the exact same way as a group decides for any proposal produced within the system, the individuals in the group should be able to propose, vote and change their voting process for example, defining in their own way what the ‘right’ solution is.

The kernel does not enforce ‘right’ or ‘democratic’ or ‘specialised’ solutions, rather it provides the flexibility to adapt to whatever the group wants it to be.

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