Fri 11 Nov 2016

Coop Flag

Joe Public Seen by 413

I'm not going to give up trying to convince at least some of you that the real challenge is self governance. This requires better communication tools, processes and rules. The solution MUST keep everyone together as it allows every unique individual to be happy doing what they believe to be best for the initiative. There's no one right path forward.

Again, I'd offer up a new mini project to help demo my solution of how best to get many people to cooperate as one.

Let's co-create a coop flag (symbol) that we can brand this coop movement with. Let's start with figuring out our flag colors.

How many colors will be used on our flag? Who gets to choose what the colors are?

Traditionally "leadership" would make these decisions. But whatever leadership decides on, many will feel their voice did not matter and this will create separation or at a minimum a feeling of separation.

In my solution everyone has an equal voice in making both small and large coop decisions. No one (or small group) makes a subjective decision for everyone else. Your voice counts equally with every other member.

So now imagine you are tasked with putting forth your rank-ordered list of flag colors. You can put forth one color, two colors... 10 colors in your list with your favorite at the top of the list.

The instant you submit your list, it impacts the one combined group list. An algorithm that counts every list equally auto-generates this one group list.

In the beginning of the process the group list matches the very first submitter's list. As soon as the 2nd person submits the group list is the perfect combination of the two participants lists. So the group list sees great change. This is true for the first few participant submissions. But as more and more voices are submitted then the group list changes less frequently, UNLESS something someone submits sparks a change in others and gets others to change their own lists.

Now imagine a million people submit lists over a period of a week. Everyone has had time to watch the one group list stabilize on a set of rank-ordered colors. There's just one top #1 position color. The most popular. Now we could create our flag with just this one color or maybe we all decide together that two or three colors is best. This decision can be made also with another list that asks that specific decision question. Then you will submit a rank-ordered list of small integer numbers. Again, one number will rise to the top.

Here's the coolest thing about this solution. Our flag need never be a static symbol. We could have a flag that is dynamic across time. It can change with the times. It can be one thing for a while and then something else at any moment in time in the future. This solution works with the real world.

Just think about the difference between what the baby boomer generation would have set in their time and what the millennials would have for a flag now. Most likely the coop flag would see change. This is how the real world operates and coops that are inclusive of everyone should use tools, processes and rules that work with reality.

Everyone is allowed to be happy with their own lists. Everyone is happy because their voice is counted equally. Everyone can more easily accept the rule that the one group list provides the necessary data for helping to make coop decisions for the group.

We can actually do this to demo to each newcomer this innovative tech solution. Each person coming can immediately engage in this simple ask task. Each can immediately feel equality and power. IMHO this is what I believe most people in the world are in need of to get behind a movement looking to bring about positive change in the world.

This solution works at the macro and the micro grouping levels, but the key is the macro. If we are to change the world we MUST remain together and generate more power than the oligarchy has over us today. We need not force change. It will come naturally the day most people start using better solutions to cooperate in their daily lives.

I know I'm NOT the greatest in communicating my solution. Hope this attempt is more clear than any of my earlier attempts.


Paul Palmer Fri 11 Nov 2016

There is an inconsistency in your proposal.
You rely on ranked voting because we have had unproductive voting schemes in this country for so long, and ranked voting is one of the fixes that people have come up with.
However, you are proposing an immediate voting response, in real time. With that kind of election, there is no need for ranked voting. The recursive nature of ranked voting is taken over and replaced by instant response.


Joe Sat 12 Nov 2016

In reality it's not "instant response" though. Each list becomes a unique story of engagement and change over time. The first few to engage do not necessarily have the resulting same prioritized listing. As new submissions are added and enter the awareness of all, then many participants will alter their personal lists. Often subsequent world events impact our thinking via new discovery of facts and new possibility and these too cause us to change our personal priority lists.

Not everyone will engage in every list. Subgroups will form and each will have their own special interests and corresponding lists. Of course there will be some overlapping of lists too. Here we then are able to compare the group lists of various subgroups - not to mention the differences between interesting demographic breakdowns within and across all subgroups.

All people and all subgroups are mostly very different. There will almost never be perfect agreement across all possible governance lists co-created. But what will emerge is a far better understanding of where the agreement exists. The group agreement lists are in themselves the compromise point from the group POV.

Again, the trick is to attempt to keep everyone together within all the disagreement in life, for in today's world the disagreement is the focus and what is preventing us from collaborating (cooperating) and creating a powerful movement. As long as we keep dividing off into small subgroups the oligarchs will maintain the power. Not much will change.

Complexity, disagreement and fear are the tools of the oligarchs. Simplicity, agreement and curiosity our our tools to combat the status quo.


Paul Palmer Sat 12 Nov 2016

Strange, but your reply to me, which I saw on an email, doesn't display here.

Anyway, by describing the dynamic way in which people will interact as they push toward an answer, or a solution to problems, while the computer tallies keep adjusting and changing, your email made my argument for me. There is no need to invoke rank voting. That becomes irrelevant as people adopt discussing, negotiating and voting all in one great synthesis. Current forms of discussing and voting are obsolete in the face of the internet. We need to leave them behind. What is central, in the motivation to change our approach, is the simultaneity of VOTING. We are no long talking about relatively sterile discussions without impact. So long as the discussions are simultaneously expressed in votes, and votes which will eventually decide the issues, then the discussions must be focused and consequential in ways that have never obtained before. The use of the computers for mere geographical outreach and interactions like in emails and bulletin boards, is a major oversight of the real power of computers. When computers also are voting, that's when people discover democracy for the first time, since they no longer need any representatives to stand between themselves and decisions. Representation is the source of the worst kinds of corruption. Witness Congress!. Point made!


Joe Sun 13 Nov 2016

I can see we agree on much, but not on the traditional voting piece. There's often many good vote options and just as often many bad options. Prioritizing all options is far more meaningful than picking just one. Plus there's great unfairness in only measuring the popularity side of reality. A prioritizing solution gives equal power to measuring unpopularity. (My Presidential election demo post reveals this.)

It's OK if you do not immediately see the great improvement within prioritization vs. traditional voting.

My state. Maine, actually just voted in rank-choice voting (RCV) - by a narrow margin. Similar to muxing algorithm, but the RCV algorithm again focuses only on popularity and does not measure that other important side, unpopularity. So it's again not the best solution. But it's a start in the right direction. Positive change takes a lot of work and time.

Muxive is coming and we'll build greater awareness of the power of the people creating prioritizing thought lists to improve collaboration and communication.

Thanks for your thoughts.


Paul Palmer Sat 12 Nov 2016

Joe, now your reply is showing. I refreshed my screen.


Paul Palmer Sun 13 Nov 2016

I'm glad it's OK with you that I can't see something which doesn't exist. I'm a strong atheist so I'm used to that.
The fact that you reference a P:residential election shows what the problem is. I am not talking about the current unfair, undemocratic system which of course needs all of the temporary fixes we can find and apply. Ranked voting is one such along with throwing out the Electoral College and so many other revolutions.
No, I am talking about a future voting process that is not so corrupt as the one we are stuck with today. I am talking about a process which is democratic to its core, because all the people participate in making all decisions. I thought that's what you had in mind too but I guess not. I provide a description in my book The Endgame of Politics . I call it direct Internet voting. It has nothing to do with what other people call internet voting, which is a method for electing REPRESENTATIVES ! I don't see any need for representation in this world anymore. It is representation which is the sickest, most festering source of corruption. A representative means that all of the decision making power of thousands of people has been gathered up in the person of one representative. A locus of power beautifully susceptible to bribery. Put the decision making process in the hands of the entire people acting as individuals and the ability to bribe all of them effectively virtually vanishes. People being ambitious, there will always be hopeful manipulators but when you put democratic methods right in the hands of the entire people as the formal system in use, it seems to me that the snake of corruption will have no good place to sink its fangs. Perhaps in this I am falling prey to the siren song of planning - too much faith in your favorite designed outcomes. But I don't see that at this point.
I'm probably out of words at this point, so if you want to still rely on voting tricks to solve no longer relevant problems of a future democratic system, we can just agree to disagree.


Joe Sun 13 Nov 2016

It's so funny. We are on the same page but because of miscommunication issues with our dialogue and discussion - it took us this long to figure out we are actually mostly in agreement.

I'm 100% with you that we DO NOT need representatives now that we have digital technology. And I also agree that the current governance solution is designed such that corruption can exist everywhere within it. I too totally agree that the people with technology tools can totally govern themselves.

Probably the detail where we are not on the same page yet involves how do we transition from what exists today to this much better solution.

The present world is too f%&ked up for most people to actually engage in governance right now. They are focused on survival of self (and immediate family) and not too interested in what is best for their fellow community members. Because of this, this is why I designed into my solution, virtual engagement, that sees each citizen's personal governance avatar doing 99.999% of the actual governance work - as they see best for them and everyone else. (Happy to explain this better later.)

I guess I'm not sure what you think of co-creating group priority lists vs. traditional popularity (vote one) voting, like is employed today?

I'd like very much to continue to try to co-create more clarity of agreement. If you and I can stay with it and find it, then maybe others will engage too.


Paul Palmer Mon 14 Nov 2016

Joe: Yes, you have it now. We are essentially completely in agreement. Where we depart is that I am not focusing on what we are subject to now and how to fix it or improve it. I like to say that someone needs to sketch out what the ultimate goal is going to be, otherwise so-called progressives have no idea what to progress to. There are numerous examples I could quote of well intentioned, progressive people just flailing around and accomplishing nothing. Chief among those would be that abortive march for the climate - was it in NYC? - that had no goal and no animating idea. Marx provided a blueprint that lasted for many intellectuals for over a century but no idea lasts forever (democracy seems to be an exception, having a run of over two thousand years already). Today there is a shift away from workers and toward automation and toward a rise in service and allied industries. So I wonder if Marx's focus on workers and production is nearing the end of its term of applicability.
The book, People Get Ready, by John Nichols and Robert McChesney formed some of my ideas along these lines.
Paul Palmer


Paul Palmer Mon 14 Nov 2016

I'm like you. I tend to believe I can predict how ranked voting, or proportional voting will work and accept it as a progressive way to eliminate some of the evils of the two party system.

Nevertheless, ranked voting, as well as the schemes for direct voting that you and I have supported, are iterative procedures. They make a choice, then, on the basis of the first try, make a second or third try. Iterations are very difficult to plot. They quickly grow out of control. We learn this from the Mandelbrot set of fractals. You can see those beautiful pictures on many websites. They arise from iterations. In those cases, they use thousands of iterations.

There was an article in Scientific American about ten years ago about the dangers of proportional voting. It can lead to some unintentional consequences because when people make an initial guess for their vote, they don't know what the result will be after a first count. Iteration is tricky.

For example, here's a classic danger. Take the example of direct voting that both of us were discussing where the public sees the result of a vote and then "corrects" what they perceive as an error in a subsequent vote. What if a vote comes in, let's say, ten percent off from what most people think it should be. What if 20% of the voting population change their vote the other way and now the vote swings to 20% too far in the other direction. Then, imagine that 30% of the population is upset by this and switch their vote in the other direction. You can see where the total vote can oscillate wildly. One way to avoid this is to cap swings to ten percent changes no matter what the popular vote is. Iteration is a bear!

I'm willing to assume that simple ways can be found to avoid craziness in the voting, such as the cap I mentioned. Or perhaps reducing the time of totaling votes to near zero ( instant reporting ). Or whatever. I set my cap to the basic method which is true democracy with everybody having an equal say (or proportionate say - equal is not always the right assignment) in every decision.

Remember that some decisions affect a few people very strongly while affecting millions of people only a bit. Not everyone should have an equal vote under those circumstances. I reserve equal voting to decisions of public governance, where the concept of democracy is paramount, while fine tuning local decisions more carefully to be decided primarily by the degree of legitimate concern that each voter has. This can get tricky.

For example, what if there is a proposal to designate a national treasure like Yosemite as being off limits for every single kind of development (I guess it already is but let's consider the vote for argument's sake). Should only the people in those California counties have a vote? Or all Californians? Or all Americans? Include potential Japanese visitors? Who has a stake in the decision? The location is a kind of accident of geography. Today California is the site, tomorrow it may be a park in Maine. Everyone in this country is a potential visitor, with a stake in natural beauty. May be such questions should be a priori national questions with everyone getting one vote. Or maybe, the people voting democratically, on how to treat such an issue, will come up with a different approach. I can't decide for a future free people. I just want to help them obtain an intrinsically democratic voting method that they can use to make that decision for themselves. I don't try to design any utopia.

This is probably not clear enough yet. What questions do you have?


Joe Mon 14 Nov 2016

Paul, I'd offer you (and others) that prior to any group (community) governance decision being made, that first there should exist a single foundational (core) purpose (mission or objective.) We tend to focus on single legislative votes without putting them in the proper context referencing the main purpose.

Of course a primary purpose is not a yes (for) or no (against) type of group decision. It is better handled by a rank-ordered set of possibilities. Each may be as important to the other, but when directed to prioritize all possibilities, it's a job most citizens can actually complete.

This is the starting place I'm suggesting the people begin at to govern. Co-create this type of dynamic ever-changing reference for all subsequent decision making.

Yes, the list may change over time. It's critical that it be allowed to. But for any moment in time this single reference becomes the very solid foundation for all rule and law of the community.

You are very correct in pointing out the problem of geographic POV. Depending on where a person physically stands in the world greatly impacts their POV. But I would offer up a single POV for the purpose assignment. It is one that goes beyond even a global POV. I like to bring time in the POV and ask everyone to consider the POV of all the people living on planet Earth 10,000 years into the future. I call these people "them" and I ask for this exercise to establish a purpose that assures "them" will have as good - if not better - a life as the most fortunate do today.

For many this is much the same as saying we want to leave our kids and grandkids a better world. But this is too short-term thinking and it does not force the current generations to consider their actions quite deep enough - IMHO.

So the purpose exercise (assignment) is to find our collective agreement on why humanity exists in the universe and why it's so important to assure humanity still exists 10,000 years into the future.

Again, this is not a vote assignment. It's a rank-ordered set of possibilities where one possibility will rise to the top. Almost as important a 2nd possibility will position itself into the 2nd most important position. So forth and so on until we have a long list of many different possibilities.

Just seeing each and seeing their relative positioning is highly educational. Seeing how different sub-groupings differ is highly educational too.

So we are not making any decisions here with this assignment. Instead all we are creating is a reference for the necessary governance decision making to follow.

I predict that with this dynamic reference in place to act as a solid context, then all subsequent decision making becomes way easier. Arguments and discussion become much clearer. All must connect back to that #1 positioned purpose statement - whatever it happens to be at the time.

Like you, I'm not here to say what that #1 purpose is. I'm only here to suggest the tool(s) we create to be able to test drive this possible solution that is intended to help improve our world.

The governance issues will be many and will change importance from time to time depending on world events, like hunger, disaster, economic failure/success, etc. Without a solid reference we are just reacting with no meaningful mission.

All people across all time must understand that though anything is possible, there's limited time and resources to address all the many issues of life. We CANNOT have it all or do it all. We need to prioritize and attack all possibilities from a top down approach.

So to conclude... Where you seem to be focusing on specific governance issue decisions, I'm suggesting there's an even more important prerequisite step to complete prior to tackling the governance decisions. Once in place then the decision making becomes easier - still difficult - but much easier - and with far more harmony surrounding it all. IMHO - this will naturally translate into an improved future world.

The good news is this tool for co-creating these very important lists is in development and will hopefully be launched in 2017. The algorithm was the simple part. The difficult piece was to design something that works to keep everyone happy no matter what language, culture or set of beliefs each participant holds at any moment in time. But we have a solution for this figured out too.

Paul, can you see the importance of having such a reference co-creation tool in the world?


John Rhoads Wed 30 Nov 2016

Have we made any progress on our flag?


Simon Carter Wed 30 Nov 2016

Further to a previous comment about global solidarity, do you not need a flag with global consensus?. If not, does each country have it's own coop flag?. Kind of ironic that a global flag would be nice when we all agree that re-localisation is the way forward. Maybe the flag could be a word cloud, with every member country inter-twined.
Is there in fact an international Loomio group for this sort of discussion?


Joe Wed 30 Nov 2016

So imagine that a flag can be automatically generated for any subset population, as well as from the global POV of all participants in the flag generation tool. The subset populations are NOT limited by traditional demographics, like geography, either. Think about virtual groupings as well, like this d@w collaboration of people from all over the globe.

Each and every person carries their own unique flag (changeable by the person at any time) and any coop they stand within has a flag that is automatically generated by combining every members' flag - each individual flag having perfect weighting of impact on what the group flag appears as.

Coop flags are dynamic and change with each new member that stands within the group - or leaves the group.

No one person or committee makes any unilateral decision of what their group flag will be. Everyone has equal say with their own flag design. The rest is just a perfect mathematical algorithm doing the real-time combining of flag attributes.


John Rhoads Wed 30 Nov 2016

"Is there in fact an international Loomio group for this sort of discussion?" You can start one here. Seems to be the right place. On a political level, I look at flags as merely a "marker" (symbol) of identity and identity can be a healthy thing for people and groups if it embodies more of a perception of harmony vs conflict. I think the world could use a flag that symbolizes a set of principles where all other flags under it, no matter the diversity, will never stray so far that it would be cast as a menace (violence). Identity is a double-edged sword like many other things in life like fire or pride and should not be repressed. The trick is to feel needed and belong to something that benefits mankind instead of destroying it. Mankind needs unification without sacrificing granular local identity.


Joe Fri 2 Dec 2016

I like the idea of creating a whole new innovative graphic tag ID solution for coops. But the simpler the better, for who gets to decide the design for the particular group or subgroup? Would it be "an every member of the coop decision" or a "leadership decision?" Would it be static or dynamic over time - meaning changeable vs. one design that never changes again?

Within this simple case of creating a graphic ID tag, a case of cooperation and collaboration, lies the fundamental problem all coops must first deal with. How do coops make group decisions? Then how do old decisions get changed or amended as the world changes?


John Rhoads Sat 3 Dec 2016

I think to get traction on this, people should upload an image of their "symbol" or "seal" or "tag ID" which can be shared among us and commented on. Then we can vote up or down on each image. If one image wins out yet is not perfect, the group can vote on a modification of the top image, re-post and re-vote. Eventually, you will have your symbol in whatever form. It shouldn't be too complicated of a process but will require participation. I will start this as an example and maybe people will follow up with their own. After comments go around for a week, symbols can be proposed. Set a due date for this as well, like a month. That way progress actually gets made instead of just talking about it. :smiley:


John Rhoads Mon 5 Dec 2016

I guess one would have to ask if this thread is just a general discussion or meant to actually create and implement a "coop flag" or other symbol? I was under the impression it was meant to cooperatively decide on a flag yet am not sure at this point. :sweat_smile: All I know is if discussions become too drawn out and ambiguous, participation rates will probably suffer and threads will get "abandoned". It makes me want to create a mathematical formula of word-count to issue importance ratio that could extract whether or not X-amount of time out of one's life is proportionally weighted to the importance of the subject matter. LOL :smiley: