Talk:Basic principles

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Rating based weighting

As far as I am aware, there is no consensus about weighing user scores.

--AurSaraf 00:42, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

Weighting contributions and comments based on the user's rating is not the same thing as weighting the user's 'vote' (yes, i know this is a contentious term) on a particular item of proposed legislation. I don't think there is anything currently about voting or scoring in the Basic Principles ... and, I'm not sure that the voting/rating/etc mechanism by which a proposal becomes legislation should be a Basic Principle .. it seems almost more like a procedural detail. thoughts?
--Jacki Buros 05:10, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
I am still vigorously in favor of weighted scoring. However, if I cannot convince the rest of the group soon, then I agree that this at least should be pulled from Basic Principles and put as a suggestion for how to run Metascore. Note that Basic principles#Geographic distinctness within a global community (currently the last principle) would also have to change.
The reason I think weighting is important is because it enables communities to protect themselves from being overrun by newcomers who do not have a vested interest in the community.
What is anyone's interest in trying to form a small community of people with a related interest, if at any time a group of vandals can join in and degrade their community with irrelevancies?
Ed Pastore 21:58, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
Below is a rough idea responding to your point. I haven't audited it, so there's probably reasoning errors. But I'd like to present it, anyway.
My intuition for the right way to solve this is that a person gets a vote in a particular bill if and only if the bill affects that person; it's the community created by the bill, not the community created by the forum of discussion, that matters. If I have a rule about a lake that's private or joint property, which really has no effect on the outside world, the owners of the lake are the ones who would vote on the bill. If that same bill was about a lake that is public property, we need to define which shard of the "public" in question will be affected, and put them as the stakeholders. Roving trolls can't sabotage discussion unless they have a legitimate stake in its outcome - in which case a single person's veto ought to have all the effects that any other person's veto would have.
Marcos 23:25, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
If the system is designed well, vandals or other "irrelevancies" are handled by two factors, respectively: user ranking (a merit-based network of trusted others whereby vandals (or other new users) will simply have little "rank mass" to influence an existing work), and a metascore system for letting users vote the most interesting and relevant topics into greater visibility.
Also do note, that Wikipedia does quite well, even though it has NO such system in place, only the good will of thousands of fellow citizen-editors. In other words, part of reducing vandalism (whether online or real life) is helping everyone know that their input is valued and that the Forum is also their forum. Rarely, if ever, do others "act out" unless there is prior history of disenfranchisment.
Humphrey 22:30, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
But how do we define who is affected by a bill? What software mechanism can we use to determine someone's degree of impact from a bill? Especially, when it varies... a person who lives on a river is highly influenced by what happens right there on that river. Someone who lives a thousand miles downstream is somewhat affected by those upstream decisions... but not as much. The idea of user-weighting solves this. If a user has a score within each community which is defined by their participation in that community... then we have an organic, working solution to deciding how much say someone should have within any one community. — Ed Pastore 19:07, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
Hrm. I have some ideas as to that, but they would add a lot of complexity to what is yet a very conceptually simple system.
Lemme get back to you on it. - Humphrey 01:01, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
The software mechanism is groups. The system cannot (or should not) just be a collection of millions of individuals -- it should have groups of shared interests, one of them being geographical proximity, but there are many others. Consider, for example, Facebook's groups. Such groups themselves should behave (like a corporation) as an individual in a [[meta]-order with abilities to act as an individual and vote (or represent) it's membership collectively. Marcos 23:39, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Something else I'd like to say on this matter:
Currently, every ranking system proposal we have includes a "veto vote" which requires very large opposition to remove (or in some cases, offers no method of removal at all if the vetoing party stays involved in the discussion). Would the *10 multiplier in your proposal simply be applied atop the community score multiplier? I'd also like to brainstorm how community scores might affect vetos in Aur's proposal - while the threshold of +s necessary to flag "consensus" could certainly be weighted by score, vetos are an all-or-nothing effect in that system.
Aur, any thoughts on this? - Humphrey 01:01, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

I personally like and agree with the idea that votes should be wighted according to various elements. I think it is open to speculation what those elements are. But generally we might make a general system where there are various parameters. And then each community decides how open or close they are by setting the parameters to different values. WHat cannot be changed that easyly is what gets multiplied and what summed. In short the shape of the formula. ANd I think we need to work on that first. But we could start bymaking a list of all the elements that might affect the weight. And if we disagree that something shoud or shouldn't be there, we just add it, with a parameter before, like:


where the ki are the parameters. And then if some community prefer not to use them, they can just set them to 0. I think the priority should be to make the software general, not to fit only one of us, when we disagree.--Pietro 14:33, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

It seems no matter how hard we try we can't increase our ambition above the notion that we will be unable to achieve sythesis and consensus and therefore have to resort to imposition of disagreeable solutions achieved by majority vote. We haven't yet got a model or process to achieve sythesis and consensus on important and emotive issues and it is precisely this that we should focus our efforts on developing. This is not a software problem, but software may make it a whole lot easier to implement on a mass scale. So let's use a rating system where the contributions of people with more connection, history or reputation in a particular area are awarded greater visibility and recognition in the debate. Votes will be used where clear and uncontested information about the points of the debate cannot be found, as a way of substituting the missing information with the intuition of the crowd. But only on the basis that it is followed up with actions and experiments to validate the crowd's intuition against it's alternatives. --CauliflowerEars 11:50, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Remember that votes here are meant to let the software track whether or not there is consensus within the relevant community, NOT for their usual purpose of breaking deadlocks - in every proposal thus far one or two people have the capability to hold up a proposal if they think it necessary to do so, so only a proposal that is at least consensus will be allowed to pass. However, without some filtering mechanism (for instance the proposed connection/history/reputation rating) affecting that process, anyone in the world can conceivably enter the debate and stop it in its tracks, just because they feel like ruining someone's day. People like that exist. Do we want the votes to be used to determine "majority rule" when no consensus can be reached, as opposed to detecting consensus itself? And if not, how do we deal with this issue? --Humphrey 15:29, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
Does not the idea of synthesis score and consensus score (as currently defined on the Main Page) provide a mechanism for driving people toward a consensus? — Ed Pastore 00:39, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
It does provide a mechanism. I agree with that. I was just responding to CauliflowerEars's comment that seems to think votes would be used in a simple "majority rules" fashion rather than in the way we had described before. -Humphrey 04:37, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes I think it goes a long way to doing that. Thanks for pointing back to it Ed. I'm slightly struggling to put the meat on the bones of the idea tho and I'd love to see a "for instance..." example of how these might play out in practice. It might be useful to highlight the differences between how it will work and the traditional compromise and majority rules scenarios.
I think it also needs some notion of bias towards content in synthesis resultions which uncovers and addresses the root causes of issues rather than just their downstream effects. If that's not contentious, I'll have a go at coming up with some appropriate wording for that for us to play around with. --CauliflowerEars 20.40, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Scoring and consensus

I'm not entirely sure where this might fit in the discussion, and I understand that it may confound some of the movement toward consensus by other contributors. But consensus is the synthesis all opinions. Here's a question: What is the differance between compromise and synthesis?

First I'd like to say the concept as a whole is brilliant and that is why I've decided to join in the discussion, I truly hope that at some point in the future this is how we do government. Though I fear that there will be many stumbling block in before we get anywhere near the ideals express here.

My specific concerns with weighted "voting" is that it actually hampers true consensus, it assumes that certain people opinions matter more than other. I can understand assigning some importance based on personal relevance. Current electoral systems do the same.

It's is my belief that for a system like this to work the participants need to be vetted somehow, other wise several people holding several accounts could very easily hijack a discussion. I something to the effect of a random password generators associated with a semi-private "voter number" where the voter number was used to assess an acceptability score to a particular resolution, or comment there on. Plain language user ID would be used to submit said resolutions or comments.

There reason I suggest these is that any governing system must elicit a certain level of trusts if it is to be accepted widely. I agree with harnessing the collective wisdom, but using the present "wiki-discussion" method wouldn't illicit my own trust let alone a hard-line opponent of this method of government.

Further more, regarding scoring the scorer, I would abandon that idea entirely, not only are you handicapping a particular idea by scoring the contributor you are further handy capping it by scoring it's scorer. Every opinion is equally valid as it is generally the product of an individual mind. If consensus is truly the objective of this system then a resolution should be open to edit until all effected by it are entirely satisfied with it, in which case, as with wiki-discussions, no score is truly necessary, only a unanimous vote.

I'm sorry this is less than organized but this is my first attempt at this, thanks for your collective patience. --David Brown 13:58, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for your input, David. And welcome to the group. We have had a lot of debate over the idea of the scoring system (which is why it fell to "disputed" status on this page). We are not really sure where we will land on the scoring of users, so instead of debating endlessly about it, we are going to try to let the users of the system play with it and see what happens.
Our first targets for implementation will be small, non-governmental groups such as condominium associations and social clubs. And ourselves. We will make the components of the scoring system modifiable by the administrators (as an interim solution; we don't want one administrator to have that much power in the end). These communities will then be able to try out different kinds of scoring and see what works for them. As they do this experimentation, we expect to get feedback that will inform how we should proceed with implementing the scoring system in later versions of Metascore. — Ed Pastore 14:53, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

How To Build a Successful Nation?

A country is not made of land; a country is made of its people. --G.A.Rao

1. Prevent Race To The Bottom - Affirmative Action, Basic Income Guarantee, Wage Slavery (Stock Options) etc

2. Promote Race To The Top - Extrinsic motivation, Subsidizes, Appreciation, Awards, Rewards etc


Hello, and welcome! While your input is appreciated, please note that this project attempts to avoid specific political positions as much as possible. We are creating a framework for everyone to be able to participate, so we do not want to alienate potential participants by taking a stand against their ideology. Also, note that this is an entirely global project: our current membership comes from what appears to be dozens of different countries, and all peoples are welcome to join. So as a result, we are not particularly focused on the politics of or for any particular individual nation. However, thank you for your input, and please do continue to contribute. — Ed Pastore 01:43, 27 October 2008 (UTC)


Hi all, please don't be offended by what I'm about to write - it's just my first take on where you guys are at presently!

It seems to me there is an unresolvable conflict in the weighting system. Every proposal (in terms of the wide reaching interests of national government) is likely to require different weighting conditions. In order to provide for every effector you could give proposal makers or system administrators an option to specify a list of user fields (Eg. Geographic Location) which can effect the modifier score, however this is open to abuse by the person setting the score.

Abuse is the one thing a system like this cannot withstand if it is to prove legitimate.

It would also be virtually impossible (without a database state or costly bureaucratic structure) to ensure that information entered by individuals is legitimate. Of course as far as Geographic Location is concerned, it would be possible to derive this from IP addressing, however this again is abusable by proxy connections.

If vote weighting is to be done by the most active members of a group, then this is a prime example of the Tyranny of the Majority problem touted by Mill's and Rousseau. It also gives certain user accounts the chance to become highly politicised, with back scratching voting distorting what the consensus should be.

There is a prima facie conflict however - without a way of weighting votes, what prevents a Mill's like Tyranny of the Majority (as in the case of the one guy by the river vs everyone else)or simple abusive net users?

It seems to me that vote scoring needs to be developed ad hoc in some way...

--Jack Schofield 02:20, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

The simple answer is that we're not trying to build a nation-scale governmental system... not yet, anyway. We're trying to build something which can run a very small community such as a chess club or condominium, and then let it organically develop and scale up to larger communities. As it scales, we expect it to change substantially and to get more complex and nuanced. — Ed Pastore 23:36, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Market Democracy

I wish to suggest an idea borrowed from economics. At present we suffer the tyranny of two social systems:

  • In the market, we have an unequal quantity of votes (money) - but are free to choose where to spend them (equal quality).
  • In democratic politics, we have an equal quantity of votes but are not free to choose where to spend them (unequal quality).
i.e. In theory you are free to choose any candidate, but in practice monopolies ensure that you are provided with a choice of only two candidates (if you are lucky). A vote cast for a minority candidate is pointless, and does not have the same value as a vote cast for one of the monopolies. Even if a minority candidate is elected to the legislature, the proxy vote becomes valueless at this stage.

The result is that even though each citizen casts an equal quantity of votes, the value of their votes are not equal. This is not democracy - this is tyranny.

From my studies in economics I have come to the conclusion that the market functions best if money is periodically distributed to every participant in equal quantities - which is an idea borrowed from democratic politics.

My suggestion is to borrow an idea from economics, namely, the market. Each citizen is periodically allocated an equal number of votes. But, each citizen is free to choose where and when to cast their votes.

There is then no need for a "qualified vote". A long term thinker may save up votes and cast directly upon important constitutional matters. A short term thinker may choose to cast votes upon issues of immediate consequence or may choose to vote by proxy via a representative. A minority member may choose to cast votes on special issues having consequences of specific value to that minority etc.

A vote cast in favor of another citizen could either increase the weight of the proxy, or could increase the number of votes available to the proxy. A vote cast directly upon an issue would effect the outcome directly. There are many variations of this scheme. Issues may pass through separate consensus and consensual stages - votes could be cast in either of these stages i.e. a vote may be cast to modify legislation, or cast to pass/veto legislation. Votes could also decay, so that legislation must be constantly renewed with fresh votes(thus providing a mechanism for aging legislation to disappear on its own).

In this way, a market of ideas is developed, each citizen being free to choose where and when to cast their votes.

The result: Every vote has equal value.

I hope I have satisfactorily explained the idea. --Matabele 11:07, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Metascore doesn't really use voting. In traditional systems, there is one proposal, and people can either vote for it or vote against it. In our system, we intend there to be a large number of proposals, and people apply scores to any that they choose. Only a proposal which gains a consensus in the community can then become a policy. The expected result is that almost all policies will fail... only the strongest, most consensus-building ones (through synthesis) will be able to become a policy of the community. — Ed Pastore 23:36, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
How apllying score is different from voting? Could You explain (if possible very simple example) or give me a link? Liinkas
We are still toying with different methods and kinds of scoring. See the scoring system page for an introduction. — Ed Pastore 18:05, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

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. ". This seems too strict and eliminates the value that an incomplete suggestion may have for guiding decisions.

Suggest change wording to:

Unless concensus can be reached on a given policy, the issue remains downgraded as a guideline or suggestion. Unless given in bad faith, all such suggestions should be treated as tentative and further discussion should be encouraged until the underlying idea is singularly accepted or rejected.

Suggestion to add Limiting principles

According to my suggestion in my User Talk on 17th August 2009 it seems to me important that we include among Basic principles (of this website) also our obligation that any here developed governing procedures and software will enable respecting of higher principles and rules, which will not allow acting of individuals or communities against Fundamental principles of human life on the Earth and against in this frame accepted decisions and consensus of other individuals and communities. Under communities also different organizations, companies and national states are thought.

According to the name of Fundamental principles of human life on the Earth, which explicitly defines the aim of these principles, it would be also wise that we in the title itself clearly define the aim of the basic principles of this website– for example:

Basic principles of developing community governing software

The suggested text in the continuation of listed Basic principles… would therefore be:

Limiting principles

The following principles will have to be respected at functioning of each community. Therefore the governance structures and supporting software will have to enable and assure limiting of consensus, agreements, decisions and actions according to:

Fundamental principles of human life on the Earth – No community should act as the majority of all people on the Earth don’t wish to. Like: no wars, no destroying nature, right to healthy food, …

Fundamental rules – Derived from these principles and adapted to be used in software. They consequently assure respecting of all subordinate programmed rules and laws.

Human rights – These must be unified from different world human right documents, like EU, UN, ASEAN…

Rights of the entire life on the Earth – The demands of the natural life and environment must be set before every human intention to destroy it.

I am not saying that we must develop and talk about all these fundamental principles and rights here. But it would be desirable to find some conclusions that the software designers and developers will get the clear guidelines, how to plan the philosophy of the governance software.

Milan malej on 20th August 2009

I would suggest you post this on the Startup list server. That venue is better for this sort of discussion, and you get more feedback there. — Ed Pastore 19:33, 20 August 2009 (UTC)