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Since there exist many open governance projects (see related projects), it has been proposed to define a collaborative governance standard in order to enable the exchange of data between all those projects.

We do not see a unified, singular global project as a good idea: the existence of multiple projects allows the exploration of different approaches to find the yet unknown solution to the creation of a collaborative governance system. Competitive and/or cooperative interaction between projects with the same goal seems the best strategy for answering this problem. To let the interaction happen, we think about settling the projects in a common ground the standard, so they can interrelate with each other.

Use cases

Free-range voting

Free-range voting is one of the use cases that was discussed in the mailing list, in May 2009. Aspects of it have since been cited as a use case of vote mirroring (more effective than vote pooling), and as a development target for rapid prototyping.

  1. You make a proposal on White House 2. Your proposal is now visible on other project sites. Users of DemocracyLab, Vilfredo, and Metagovernment can see it, too.
    • One issue that White House 2 will have is that each "vote" is actually a priority ranked a list, so every vote is relative in importance to every other vote the person has made.
      • I think I understand. You're not so much concerned that a ranked voting mechanism cannot be opened up to the network (it probably can). You're more concerned that these other projects (Vilfredo and Metagovernment) won't want to use it? But that really shouldn't be a problem for you. You'll just share votes with whatever sites have chosen to use a compatible mechanism. And you'll know that regardless of which mechanism a site has chosen (ranked, rated, delegated, whatever) it'll always be free to switch later, without too much pain, because it'll be switching from one standard voting service to another (much easier than switching from a closed, non-standard service). Michael Allan 09:00, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
  2. A user on DemocracyLab casts a vote for your proposal, that same vote counts on White House 2. Users everywhere share the same vote pool and see the same results.
  3. Out in the larger Web, where your proposal is the topic of a blog post or a discussion thread, it is accompanied by the latest poll results, and also a 'Vote' button. (So the open network reaches out to users wherever they happen to be.)
  4. Anyone may post an alternative proposal anywhere on the Web, and put a 'Vote' button beside it.
  5. Anyone may propose a bridge (synthetic or compromise) proposal, and pitch it to the voters of two competing proposals. Votes may then shift toward the bridge, or not. (The voting mechanism is especially designed to facilitate this, without forcing it.)
  6. Votes are authenticated and results are independently verified. If a consensus emerges, it will be a consensus of real people (not virtual), living in real, physical communities.

(other case scenarios, please add your own)

Open network architecture

The idea is to rationalize the field by dividing the overall provision of services not among big, general-purpose projects (strictly competitive with each other), but among a collection of small, specialized providers (both cooperative and competitive).


The services and standards can be divided into "soft" e-democracy and "hard", where . . .

soft: is all about the information sharing - semantics, repurposing, republishing and syncing information, allowing a network of repositories to lookup, index and sync text based data with each other.

Prioritize this list! (in your opinion)

  • index list of issues (a dewey decimal system like classification scheme or an organic list of terms and tags)
  • standardized vocabulary
  • management of content licenses (auto attribution)
  • common understanding of processes and best practices
  • common data architecture and data formats to facilitate syncing of databases. e-politics database
  • development of new proposals
  • distribution of new proposals
  • ranking existing proposals
  • discussion
  • Collaborative drafting of proposals

hard: standards and services necessary to operationalize mass decisionmaking. This is hard not only from the technical but also social perspective, and can probably be prioritized lower than the soft stuff.

Examples of hard services are:

  • Authentication of user identity
  • Compilation of voter lists
  • Classification of issues, proposals and candidates
  • Counting of votes
  • Vote storage and pooling
  • Verification of counts
  • Integrated user interfaces
  • Query by example (QBE), metadata-driven discovery of issues, proposals, candidates, and goals of interest to the user
  • (many others, please add your own)

Each service is provided at a separate site, by specialized software. Cooperating sites intercommunicate via standardized network interfaces, which are typically client/server.

Competing sites that offer a more-or-less identical service, or different flavours of the same service, do so under the same interfaces. Clients can therefore cherry pick among the service providers, or mix and match them, without too much pain.

Services and sites are primarily defined by their public interfaces. In other words, a vote counting service/site is one that provides a vote counting interface.

Public interfaces

At the top level, the most important type of public interface is the integrated user interface (UI). It serves to glue together multiple underlying services into a single package, for the convenience of the users. It is pure facade. There can be many of these UI's, of various flavours, on various sites (both competitive and cooperative).

The underlying services (by contrast) are mostly standardized, and their clients are mostly other services (not users). For example, a vote counting service will export standard interfaces for UI clients to request the latest results, and for verification clients to request copies of the underlying votes, and so on.

The technical details of each interface are to be specified by the developers, then posted for critique by others. The development process can be summarized as "rough consensus and running code". It will take two developers - one on the server side, and one on the client side - to get the process rolling for any particular interface.

Online identity

Wikipedia's article on online identity.


A common registration and authentication method is proposed in the Streetwiki.


Trust net

Transparent public external organization

Semantic Web

Wikipedia's article on Semantic Web.


In order to coordinate the actions in support of the goals of the standardization effort, the forming of an official subsidiary project of Metagovernment was proposed. This is the strategic plan for this project:


Support the creation of an ecosystem of voting facilities, which are all inter-connected and communicating and therefore allow free range voting.


Every voter is free to use his/her favorite voting-tool for casting a vote and this vote is being shown/counted in every other tool too.


  • Freedom
  • Openness
  • Cooperation
  • Competition
  • Self-expression
  • Innovation


Provide the necessary facilities in support of free-range voting, including a common voter register and supports for poll identification and vote mirroring.


Finish and maintain a poll identification facility (pollwiki). Finish and maintain a sockpuppet-proof residential voter register (streetwiki).


  • Voters
  • Developers of voting tools


I suggest and Atm I own both domains. Ofc they would go into the property of the organization or the voters themselves. --ThomasvonderElbe 12:00, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

List discussion

This debate is ongoing on the Startup list server, and can be tracked in the archive. The thread starts with this post and continues throughout the month of May. Due to the different e-mail client formats, the discussion is broken up into several threads by the archiving software.