From Metagovernment - Government of, by, and for all the people
How would this system of government be able react quickly in the case of an emergency? Confusedlittlepanda 21:11, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
- I don't really know the answer, so I'm going to leave some thoughts. I assume that you are talking about how the instance of Metascore which interfaces with the general population would react quickly in case of an emergency? If we're talking about a decision-needed-now sort of situation (e.g. 9/11 or Katrina) which has traditionally required a top-down decision making authority, then I don't think the general populace instance of Metascore would or could.
- I still think there would be organisations such as emergency response teams which would receive an overall mandate, or policy decisions from the general populace. While it's possible they could use their own instance of MetaScore I don't see anything in the philosophy which would dictate how those organisations managed their own tasks and met their own imposed responsibilities. That said, an instance of Metascore amongst these different organisations could be one way for them to collaborate effectively -- which is one of the main reasons why we lean towards power pyramids in the first place.
- Personally, and I'm sure to come across some philosophical disharmony here - but I don't have a problem conceding some limited authority in such cases where absolute accountability is in place. The general populace via Metagovernment have the ability to a) gain access to information and b) hold those granted authority accountable in a timely manner -- the current lack of such mechanisms I believe is one of the root problems with our current systems of Governance. - Richard Franks 02:33, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
- There has been some debate on this issue, but certainly not enough. I'd like to see what others think, but my initial reaction is that Metascore systems will be able to nimbly deal with emergencies... once people have adapted to this form of governance. In the case of action-needed-right-now, I think people who have to act can simply act, somewhat under the principle of adhocracy. And/or under the adage, "it is easier to seek forgiveness than permission."
- If they need a group action, I think they can use Metascore quickly to build a consensus. Generally, in emergencies, people will either lead or follow, and once someone steps up to lead, others usually fall in line quickly. I can even envision people using mobile phones to build an action plan while they are rushing to an emergency.
- If there is a more general emergency about something which requires a more nuanced reaction, then I think that consensus government can still work. If people cannot come to a consensus, then maybe it's just not an emergency after all. If people really, absolutely feel that there needs to be action, then they have a huge incentive to make a consensus quickly. They might even compromise, or one side might cave completely. Otherwise, again, maybe it just isn't an emergency. — Ed Pastore 03:15, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
- I'm not entirely sure about this, but without relying on some other group for events that require immediate action, the people in a metagovernment community, would be have to make preparations before an event. A plan would have to be in place for all conceivable catastrophes. How many are there really? Tsunami, hurricane, floods, fires, bombings, earthquake, outbreak of a disease. Having to think and plan for all of these things prior to there occurrence, shows clearly what we are prepared for and what we won't be prepared for. What if right now an asteroid showed up on our radar, that would hit with a probability of 0.001 in two years. Do you think any politician would put up funds for an operation that might turn out not to be necessary, and risk being put out of office? A year later, it might be up to 0.01. Statistically that is ca. 67,000,000 dead people, and far to late, to do anything about it. If metagovernment were in place right now, you bet I would be 1. behind funding for discovering all objects that might be dangerous to us. 2. setting up a plan to get such a thing off track, if it appeared. What are we doing now? Is the pyramid working? Are we prepared for all conceivable events? It costs practically nothing to draw up a plan. It will be very costly to deal with an event once it occurs and we aren't prepared, and I would argue, that we aren't prepared with the current (supposedly superior in this aspect) system.--Mbarkhau 08:09, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Tactics Vs Strategy
Any emergency which contains at least one variable cannot be adequately catered for with a preordained plan. The plan itself would need to be dynamic and adaptive - more of a software program than a plan - you would need to run simulations to test and ensure that there are no gaps in the planning. That type of activity is best performed by experts in those areas (tactics), with Metagovernment perhaps filling an oversight role (strategy).
The potential danger of this thought that we can plan for everything is that a) By definition we can't conceive of the inconceivable (it's a law, not a flaw) and b) An over-confidence or over-reliance in these plans would likely lead to the scenario where attempts are made to squeeze current circumstances to fit an existing plan. — Richard Franks 14:26, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
- I agree that preparation for the unknown is not a viable course in itself (though it is helpful... on a personal level, being generally prepared for emergency is the single most relevant factor in surviving a catastrophe). There aren't just natural disasters, there are all kinds of random catastrophes that groups of people might face, and the nature of them varies depending on the size and composition of the group.
- But I believe that there is nothing inherently weak about a mesh of consensus groups as opposed to a leader-based structure. What if the leader is unavailable at the time of an emergency? Or what if the leader simply isn't up to the task and breaks down? In those cases, the entire structure fails because of one person.
- I think people can act nimbly in a consensus mechanism. If for example a building is on fire, we don't have to wait for the whole world to come to a consensus that the fire should be put out. Firemen simply respond as they do now. If it is a gigantic fire, requiring many different emergency response units, then I would think they would be well served by an instant-communication mechanism such as Metascore. There is going to be little disagreement about objectives, but much benefit from the ease of collaboration.
- But I think the original question was more about unforeseen discordant scenarios, where there are two responses people could take, neither of which is very good, but one of which must be chosen quickly. And in those scenarios, I stand by my point that either people will find a way to agree, or they will "come to a consensus" that there really isn't an emergency. — Ed Pastore 15:45, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
- If both people/groups believe that their own strategy is right, and it is an emergency, then they could come to a consensus or they could go their separate ways and try to each follow their own strategy. If both competing strategies require a single resource, then the application of physical force is a likely outcome -- especially if it is the most efficient method to "find a way to agree".
- For example - if you live on the coast and have a 15 minute warning of an incoming tsunami, your family out-votes you and wants to wait it out on the beach - are you going to respect their Metascore derived consensus, or lock the car doors and drive them to the highest ground you can get to?
- I agree that there is nothing inherently weak about a mesh of consensus groups, but it does not create a weakness to state that the one advantage of a leadership structure is the potential ability to reach a decision in the shortest amount of time. In some classes of emergency, not all, that difference will be measured in lives.
- I personally think this discussion is a little moot as I imagine Metagovernment would first be enacted at a policy-level where it enforced accountability over existing leadership structures, evolving and moving down the pyramid over time. As long as accountability is in place, is there a philosophical problem with maintaining some leadership structures where it is found to be applicable, e.g. for emergency services?
- I'll freely admit my bias for accountability rather than control — Richard Franks 21:53, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
- Rather than work from the top-down, we are hoping that Metascore will work from the bottom-up. Namely, our first targets for implementation will be small, non-governmental groups which are currently poorly served by representative democracies. Examples would be condominium associations and social clubs. These provide a nice testing ground for this sort of governance, and we expect that those communities will begin to use the software in ways we cannot imagine. As they start to use and adapt the software, we will then see how we can modify it to better serve their needs... including helping them react to the unexpected.
- Also, we do not preclude the existence of leaders; only of empowered leaders. So in an emergency, people could simply decide to do what their chosen leader tells them to do. The only difference then between our implementation and current ones is that they do not have to do what the leader says. If the leader makes a stupid choice or is unable to make a choice, the whole system does not get paralyzed. Another leader can emerge instantly, or people can simply act as they see fit. — Ed Pastore 14:40, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
- Thanks for the answer - that makes a lot of sense! I see Metascore dealing with 'action' time-dependent issues as a harder problem to solve than the more strategic policy issues - reliability of infrastructure, comfort level of users when relying on a new system in an emergency, etc. I assumed agencies like emergency services would need a top-down directive to use Metascore, but that is incorrect logic - assuming that there is no top-down disincentive - as these agencies tend to have a predefined amount of independence to use the best technology and methods available. While such a top-down disincentive is not unimaginable, it would require an amount of foresight which I don't credit our current Governmental systems with — Richard Franks 17:01, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
On the FAQ page it is suggested that the Metagovernment functioning relies upon, among other things, the scoring system. In the proposed scoring system users can score other users with weights proportional to their own score. This is reminiscent to the Page rank, and like the Page rank it is susceptible to abuse. There is no easy fix to such abuse, as is evident from Google's ongoing battle against the abusers. In fact, many scoring/recommending web-services explicitly state that they keep details of their systems secret, to prevent abuse. How do you resolve this issue?