Direct democracy

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Direct democracy is a form of democracy wherein sovereignty is lodged in the assembly of all citizens who choose to participate. See the Wikipedia article on Direct democracy.

Proponents of direct democracy usually hold it to be theoretically superior to representative democracy, except for the fundamental flaws noted below.

Problems with direct democracy

Issue overload

There are simply too many issues on too many levels of government/community for everyone to be able to track and participate in them all.

Mob rule

Giving everyone an equal say on everything can lead to mob rule. A seasoned expert on an issue has the same voice as someone completely ignorant on the issue. Since the latter will almost always outnumber the former, decisions are never intelligently made. Tyranny of the majority is a related criticism.


A fundamental objection to direct democracy is that the public generally gives only superficial attention to political issues and is thus susceptible to charismatic argument or demagoguery.

Addressing those problems

Metagovernment intends to overcome the traditional problems of direct democracy by use of a community system and a scoring system. Citizens will tend to gravitate toward communities which interest them, and will build reputations in those communities (either by a formal software score or by an informal reputation). The more respected one is in a community, the more influence they will have there. See open source democracy.

the assumption is that direct democracy on the internet would be the same as direct democracy outside. This is false. DD on the square is a form where only few orators have the ability to speak and raise the mob to a decision. The single individual counts really little. On the other hand on the internet each individual has the possibility through Google, blogs, wikipedia, and all the other tools to get informed transversally, and for lobbies, and sub groups that then can act together. Now the mob is no longer a huge animal with a small brain (the orator), but a more or less integrated structure with many internal pulsions that are not silenced, because have the ability to connect together. So even before metagovernment, just using blogs, and google, wikis, and discussion groups, any form of direct democracy would be fundamentally different from what would happen in a square, where the person that shouts more would be automatically considered right.--Pietro 22:16, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Fractional voting solves some of these problems by giving the ability to express opinions on several candidates rather than winner-takes-all. It also tends to solve demagoguery by allowing the expression of negative votes. The meritocratic solution to "issue overload" is a good one, but in a functioning constitutional state like America should have, issues should be pushed downward where a diversity of solutions and leaders can handle them rather than sent to the top.
The other means to solving the problems of mob rule and such is through money (donations): if the state is handing it out judiciously and the economy is working properly, it rewards those who have been rewarded already, therefore counts as a meritocritus process.