Liquid Democracy in Loomio
I've been doing some research into various kinds of democracy, and I'm intrigued by the idea of "liquid democracy." This might have already been discussed here, but I wanted to see if anyone else would be interested in this sort of thing.
The basic idea is a democratic system in which most issues are decided (or strongly suggested to representatives) by direct referendum. Considering nobody has enough time and knowledge for every issue, votes can be delegated by topic. Furthermore delegations are transitive and can be revoked at any time. Liquid Democracy is sometimes referred to as Delegated or Proxy Voting. source
So, as I understand it, liquid democracy is somewhere between representative and direct democracy, leaning toward direct democracy. I'm intrigued by this idea of being able to "delegate" the weight of my support on particular issues to particular people. So, if I trust my friend on environmental issues, I can give her my support on those specific issues. This will free me up to focus on the issues and deliberations that I am more knowledgeable about and interested in.
I could see this being a useful addition to the Loomio system for a number of reasons. Personally, I'm not able to keep up with all the different conversations going on at any time, and even if I were able to read them, I wouldn't be able to engage in the background reading needed to really be able to contribute meaningfully. So, either I skim most of the discussions, or I just ignore them.
If, however, I were able to indicate my support for an individual in some way on a specific issue, and that support were made visible to others in the discussions where that issue was being discussed, then at least I would know my support is playing a role in those deliberations even if I wasn't personally engaging in them.
I would imagine this would start very small, a few individuals delegating specific things to close friends. It's a new and odd way of thinking about deliberations. But, eventually, I could see a robust system of liquidity, where support is extended and withdrawn and deliberations are more productive and engaging for everyone.
It would require a system for people to "delegate" their votes, and vote-recording system, so that people can track how their "delegates" vote and make sure they still deserve that support. It would also require some kind of system for people to see how much "support" each person has about specific issues. There would surely be other issues, but these seem like the biggest ones.
But, like I say, I'm only now exploring these theories. Here are some more sources I've been looking at: The Wikipedia article on liquid democracy, Der Spiegel on the German Pirate Party's use of this model, Community Wiki notes on the idea.
So, what do you say? Would this work with the overall goals of Loomio? Could this be implemented in such a way that it takes advantage of both direct deliberative democracy?
Joop Kiefte (LaPingvino) started a proposal Sun 7 Sep 2014
It is good to add an open answer system, but we should avoid chain delegation Closed Sun 7 Sep 2014
The question turns out to be confusing and probably too early. We should come back to this when/if it is decided to add more question options, and then this should probably be configurable.
Liquid feedback gives us some good examples of what can be good and bad in a system that allows to give open answers to polls. For example the priority voting (available in both Liquid Feedback and Pirate Feedback) is a necessity for a honest open question system. However, chain delegation has its own problems that make Loomio too complex and defeating its purpose.
|Agree - 2|
|Abstain - 2|
|Disagree - 1|
|Block - 0|
Joop Kiefte (LaPingvino)
Sun 7 Sep 2014
I would suggest to go for a one-time degelation system myself, but in small groups I think not having delegation could also be an option, and the other alternatives to chain delegation should probably also be considered.
Sun 7 Sep 2014
This is an interesting discussion and I want to encourage it to continue, but in terms of actually what could be implemented in Loomio, I think jumping to specific solutions is premature.
Sun 7 Sep 2014
The solution proposed is too restrictive.
According to me loomio should propose different kind of voting system and let the groups used the system that they prefers.
The solution proposed is only one kind of voting system but there is other.
Sun 7 Sep 2014
Chain delegation is as complex as we want it to be. There's always users/citizens that want to influence the decision making but don't have the time to do it, however they trust specific users/citizens to vote for them.