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The objective of the Metagovernment project is to enable individuals to get much more involved in their own governance, instead of relying on career politicians to take care of the important decisions in their life.

To that end, we are supporting the development and use of internet tools which enable the members of any community to fully participate in the governance of that community. We are a global group of people working on various projects which further this goal.

We expect governance software to be adopted first in small communities, and then to spread outward with the potential to gradually replace many institutions of representative democracy with a new kind of social organization called collaborative governance.

We conceive a world where every person, without exception, is able to substantively participate in the governance of any community in which they have an interest. We envision governance which is not only more open, free, and democratic; but also which is more effective and less fallible than pre-Internet forms of governance.

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I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

Thomas Jefferson, 1816.

Participating projects

Numerous projects are involved in this project and others are welcome to join. All other similar projects are welcome and encouraged to join by subscribing to the Startup list and introducing themselves.

Through collaboration, we hope member projects can share ideas, learn from each other, and perhaps eventually work toward a modicum of standardization in governance software or in parts of it (such as allowing for portability of users and/or proposals).

Individuals also are welcome and encouraged to join us.

Metagovernment members are involved in a variety of projects, the most active of which are:

  • Airesis — The global social platform for participatory democracy available in 9 languages and 11 country localizations. Airesis does not consider liquid democracy a valid alternative and use a Schulze voting algorithm for multiple solutions. Airesis is developed in responsive web design to provide optimal access by mobile devices.
  • DemocracyOS — Voting platform
  • Liquid Democracy — The Liquid Democracy Association works on innovative ideas and projects for democratic participation
  • Loomio — Loomio is an open-source platform for collaborative decision-making.
  • Matchism — A philosophy and voting system for the next generation of government. The meek shall govern the earth!
  • Vilfredo goes to Athens — Software which uses mathematical formulae to help participants build a consensus on an open question.
  • Votorola — Software for building consensus and reaching decisions on local, national and global levels.

Some of these formerly active projects or proposals might also provide a source of information, inspiration, or source material for a new project:

  • Adhocracy — A drafting and (delegated) voting tool for small and medium-sized groups
  • Agora Voting — A liquid democracy social voting tool.
  • Architecture for a Democracy 2.0 - Paper, that elaborates a way of how to establish a hybrid of direct and representative democracy by using the means of modern infrastructure (i.e. computers and the internet).
  • Citizen report — one-week conference of 25 absolutely randomly selected citizens about a political topic, getting lectures about topic and developing ideas together with experts and politicians.
  • Cyber Democracy - A concept which seeks to combine direct democracy with mainstream portable information technology such as smartphones and tablets.
  • Democracy 2.0 - A decentralized decision making concept seeking software developers. What makes this one special? Identity confirmation using the US government's own voter registration records and integrated feedback. General info Patent for Democracy 2.0
  • DemocracyLab — Software using participants' posts and votes to build a dynamic map of political thought designed to facilitate consensus and solve problems.
  • Determining Evaluation Voting — A quite advanced mathematical method to select a winner by letting voters evaluate(/score) alternatives. The method minimizes tactics and applies desired amount of consensus assign by a number.
  • d!sco Network, The d!sco is the implementation of a meta discussion system. We rapid prototype an Ontology and Web API to serve as a data hub inside of a P2P network. Be involved!
  • EIPW - Web-based tool collection for working on the processes proposed by the Architecture for a Democracy 2.0.
  • Indaba Application Network — The platform running WeVote (on Facebook) and ChoiceRanker.
  • Leading Boards— portal is for Board members and their meetings where they can view documents and archives online plus e-votes, collaborative and networking tools.
  • Liquid Feedback –– The legislation platform used by the Piratenpartei in various parliaments of Germany.
  • MetaPlan — documented structured brainstorming method
  • opendemocracy.fi — A community-based hybrid between direct and representative democracy
  • Openpolitics — Canadian wiki based project for deliberation on political issues.
  • StratML — An American national standard (ANSI/AIIM 21:2009) for strategic plans, with a number of E-Forms authoring/editing interfaces and various service prototypes.
  • PeopleCount — A mechanism to gauge constituent opinion on a variety of issues. PeopleCount.org
  • Pärnu Wiki - Civil Society Portal of Pärnu City and Pärnu County (Estonia)
  • Systemic Consensus — how much are You against the suggestions to vote for? SC gives You the method to build group consensus upon everybody's individual degree of being against a suggestion.
  • VirtualPol — The first Democratic Social Network.
  • Votetocracy — US site allowing citizens to vote on bills in Congress and send those votes to representatives.
  • Wisdom Of Crowds — Open Source collaborative platform for making decisions build on top of Yii framework.

These projects have been discontinued, but are worth noting:

  • Candiwi — Wiki software based on consensus, synthesis, and a distributed framework ("candid distributed wiki").
  • Direct Congress We the People can Direct our Congress by selecting America's Laws online. Direct Congress allows any U.S. citizen to create and review legislation in a thoughtful forum. Our movement will support candidates who pledge to vote the way citizens vote securely online.* OpenAssembly — Direct democracy platform that employs Schulze ranked voting and configurable consensus and is designed to bridge the gap between real life and virtual decision making.
  • Dynamic Democracy — An experiment that lets its users suggest and vote on bills that they wish the government was considering.
  • Eudemocracia — Activist Latin American NGO based in Buenos Aires city. It promotes the open democracy philosophy.
  • GenerallyAssembled.com — An online general assembly platform.
  • Hyperarchy — Real time collaborative decision making based on the Tideman's Ranked Pairs voting method.
  • Karari Participative Democracy and Constitutions Platform— Based on principals of Direct Democracy (liquid), this portal hosts hundreds of national and state constitutions whey users can comment, rate, discuss and develop their own constitutions and learn from what have been developed in other nation states. View all available constitutions here List of constitutions. and join us on facebook here Karari Global Participative Democracy
  • NationBuilder — The platform running The White House 2, and a growing number of other systems.
  • noddr - Simplify the democracy
  • Telematics Freedom Foundation — Promotes democracy, including media and global democracy, through the promotion of telematic solutions (see linked page for list).
  • Virtual Parliament — UK site allowing anyone to suggest and vote on policies.

See also the list of similar projects that are not affiliated with Metagovernment.


Basic principles

Discussion of the principles below should be conducted on the basic principles page.

Please go to Talk:Basic principles to discuss the content of this page. Please do not change this page without first discussing.

The basic principles of the Metagovernment project are as listed below.

This project upholds basic principles consistent with those developed in the free and open source software and direct democracy movements.

Common principles

The following two principles are generally held by every group and person participating in this community.

  • Government of, by, and for all the people – Anyone may contribute to any collaborative governance structure.
  • Openness in everything – All aspects of governance will be as open as possible, under the principle of radical transparency. All software and systems used to run administrations will be free, open source software and systems.

Suggested principles

The following two principles are held by some groups, and are suggested as mechanisms to make collaborative governance more sustainable in the long-term.

  • Without consensus, there is no law – Unless consensus can be reached on how a policy could address an issue, then there will be no policy on that issue.
  • Consensus through synthesis – When opposing views are presented, preference is always given to synthesis rather than either conflict or compromise.

Transition

We anticipate that open governance software will most effectively be used in communities organized around a common theme. From these small communities, we intend to get a better idea of how the process works in the real world and adapt our projects accordingly to enable software to scale to larger and more diverse communities.

Members of those communities may simply set up an instance of open source governance software and invite members of that community to begin using the software, they will eventually invite the entire community to switch its formal governance mechanism over to the new form. In this way, any community, from a small club to a large government can transition to open source governance.

We do not expect governments, particularly national governments, to cede their authority in the near future, but the expectation of Metagovernment and its associated communities is to gradually make a governance system so superior to the status quo — and so compellingly, unprecedentedly democratic — that the people will simply demand a change to this form of government. In states which claim to be built on democratic principles, the people should be able to peacefully transform their government through the mechanisms of that government or even more gradually through attrition. In less democratic states, the transition may take longer, but open source governments innately are protected from brutal force, as they do not have a single leader or a single physical presence.

Until an open source government has the power to collect taxes or otherwise raise funds, members may be invited to act under the principles of adhocracy.

How you can help

There are many ways you can help, as detailed on the participate page.

Contact

To ask questions of this group, please join our list server. If you do not want your question posted to the list, write to contact (at) metagovernment (dot) org.