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Welcome aboard, Benjamin. Just to be clear: this project isn't about government of the internet, but government by means of the internet. We are working to develop a Web 2.0 application which can act as the governance mechanism of any community (and provide a way for those communities to interact and influence each other). That said... we're happy to have your help, and welcome whatever contributions you have to offer. — Ed Pastore 21:50, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
- I'm not sure how I go about talking on this wiki. But here goes... We have a number of small but serious problems on the internet right now: copyrights, security, net-neutrality. I think the only way to really resolve the problems in through an internet government. But putting the current governments online is certainly a good step forward. Have you looked into Robert's Rules of Order for a guide to running a fair meeting, and by extension, government? I don't see anything on the site about protecting the rights of the minority voice, the importance of one man, one vote, or how any of the work the community does is enforced online. Also, people need leaders. Is metagovernment going replace leaders with the community? Because I do not think that will work. Someone will rise up and take the power if no leader is provided for. I know yall are working on the software, but how do the people interact? What happens if the wishes of the people don't correspond with the software? Anyways, sorry if this is the wrong place to respond. I'm still getting a feel for how all this works. --Ben Ochoa
- (It's fine to post on my Talk page as you did, but it is easier for third parties to follow if the conversation is in one place).
- As for minority rights and one-person-one-vote, the idea of open, consensus systems is just a different way of thinking. Our first basic principle is that absolutely anyone may participate. The third is that without consensus, there is no law. Now how we define "consensus" is open to interpretation, but generally we are striving for solutions that never force the will of the majority on the minority. These don't come about by counting votes for-or-against, they require that people work together to find solutions that everyone can live with. That's where the fourth principle "consensus through synthesis" comes in: instead of perpetuating conflict or settling for compromise, the intention of Metascore is to enable people to find solutions that really do work for the vast majority of people.
- It would be a great system if everyone could eventually come to agreement, but I think you will always have a minority that disagrees with what is being done. People have different sets of knowledge and experiences that lead them to different conclusions, and sometimes, agreement may not be possible. What will the government do when we can't achieve consensus but something needs to be done? If you are not voting, then how do you determine what is consensus in the first place?
- This is why we are emphasizing synthesis so much. When there are two sides to an issue, there usually is a synthesis that can bring those two together. In current politics, there is no real incentive to find synthesis. In fact, politicians usually focus on the issues that divide us, because it gives them something to get people to rally around. As an example, look at the "debate" over abortion in the United States. This example is covered here: http://metagovernment.org/pipermail/start_metagovernment.org/2008-April/000084.html
- Consensus may sound like a poor way to get things done, but it has been shown to be far superior, when people are dedicated to the process. The best example I have heard of is when the Quakers disputed the practice slavery. The proposition was put forth by one Quaker that slavery was inconsistent with the Quaker society's beliefs. It took them eighty years to finally decide that they had a consensus, and take a stand against slavery. Eighty years sounds like a horribly unacceptable amount of time, but... they came to that complete consensus among themselves about seventy years before the United States abolished slavery. And as you know, the abolition still did not end the racism and other effects of slavery... while the entire Quaker community was united in its opposition to the practice.
- I really need a better definition of what consensus means before I can offer a good critique of it.
- Absolutely. We still have not entirely pinned this down. There are several ways we can define it, depending on whether or not we use user scoring, and we have not yet decided on one. Instead, we are planning on making the software very flexible, so that we can tweak the definition of consensus to whatever makes sense in the real world.
- As for leaders... we had a debate about this on the list server. I had thought that we needed to be completely free of leaders, but the conclusion we reached is that leaders are fine: it is empowered leaders who go corrupt and start causing all the trouble. So in our proposed system, people can lead communities and get people to follow them, but they still have no power. All the power is vested in the social contract of the community, not in any individual.
- People need to be lead. There is no way around that. My father leads my family. My governor leads my state. You lead this project. George Washington lead a nation. The trick is creating a system that recognizes a leader but also restricts her power to the will of the people. It is a difficult problem and I don't think anyone has it figured out yet.
- That is exactly the solution we have come up with. See here for one example: http://metagovernment.org/pipermail/start_metagovernment.org/2008-April/000153.html This project is very much the solution that allows for powerless leaders. Also, as a point of clarification, I am not really a leader of this project. Certainly not an empowered one: I can't make anyone do anything. We are organized as an adhocracy, and we plan to reorganize under open source governance as soon as we have a working version of Metascore.
- Also, there will be political parties too.
- That too was discussed on the list server. People can form/join parties if they want, but they still have to participate as individuals.
- Once governance is moved to internet-based systems, it will be difficult for any individual to express power in other ways. Individuals can try to use violence against other individuals, but the communities will be resilient to violence because they have no physical presence. And we presume that once people have the freedom to participate in governance as they see fit, they will be reluctant to bow to the power of another individual.
- What about DDOS attacks and viruses/trojans/phishing?
- We are open to suggestions. :) I have been thinking about some solutions... see here: Metascore#Distribution_model. I think if we use the second and third distribution models (community-distributed, with distributed components), we can avoid several net-based attacks, but more thought is certainly needed here. — Ed Pastore 03:32, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
- But in the end, we don't really know how it will work out. Above is some of our thinking, and we are trying to make software which is flexible enough to adapt to the things we have not thought of. — Ed Pastore 22:45, 14 August 2008 (UTC)