Can someone share some insight on the naming decision?
Pick your favorite flavor.. the goal is to nail how democracy should work in the 21st century.
Its more confusing than infuriating. Mainly because the term os makes sense only to people like me, but doesn't match what up with what people like me know it as.
The OS part of the name doesn't help anything. I'm guessing its only there so you could have the name in the URL.
#2 Its a technical term out of place that redefines what an OS does, as a member of the technical community feel a sense of ownership for a term that I routinely use. Its infuriating when you mess with something that is mine.
It worked for the web...
In my opinion, democracy is probably the best we've got. The challenges have to do largely with engaging people in the realities of the process.
Or rather, its past. Ancient Greek democracy wasn't perfect (slavery; not everyone was citizen) but it was much better than our current system of professional politicians and uber-powerful political parties and lobbies.
The small, first struggle will be to implement it as securely as possible - for this you'll likely need to distribute specific hardware. The second and largest struggle would be to actually change constitutions and take power away from the organizations that have hoarded it for decades.
There is a lot of scepticism in these comments. My infosec and analytical side is obviously going to go into full-attack mode when there is something solid to take apart - BUT for the time being I'd like to say a huge "bravo" to both this team and YC for backing them.
I hope you change the world.
 how would it work; why would people care to get involved; execution/implementation issues; fraud; ...
 something between RSA tokens and dedicated mobile voting machines
 probably centuries
Totally agree; finding out what democratic interaction should look like and how it should work for societies in the current hyper-connected paradigm is -at best- something that will take a lot of time.
There is, undoubtedly, a technological challenge to address, but moreover I think the greatest challenge is the cultural one. We're risen to think communites (countries, towns, organisations, etc.) should be managed in one of so many fashions, but we're willing to ask ourselves time and again what other possible ways there are for doing this, and implement on that.
We may not nail it soon, but we'll definitely try as long as we can.
The work on security is very challenging but this MUST be a large open source effort.
Check our code here: github.com/democracyos/app
I believe this would give rise to something like we have today where policiticans collect proxies (votes), however it would be a more ephemeral relationship since people could take their voting rights back if unsatisified or if they felt strongly on an issue. I think this would create a more balanced dynamic then we currently have.
DemocracyOS falls short in this obvious matters and could ad this feature, since delegation is a core feature
It is fieldtested in small northern german communities by their city councils I think.
Look, even America, as a constitutional republic, took the rights away from millions of blacks for a long time. The Constitution at its inception did not save them.
I really believe the rich have scared people about democracy, because really democracy scares them. Don't let it scare you.
Honestly, I don't think they do. Moreso than anything, I think they're hearkening back to when slavery was legal, women couldn't vote, and it was perfectly acceptable to assault gays in nightclubs.
It's only as those minority groups gain acceptance that they start generating sympathy, really, but while gays are more and more getting acceptance in their fight for marriage equality, polygamists are still a lesser known, smaller minority, and their rights are routinely trampled, despite that all the arguments applying to same sex marriage are equally applicable to them.
As it sits, 51% of the democratic party approves of some form of censorship, so it's not too hard to imagine being in a gerrymandered district in which DemocracyOS is prevalent, and losing the ability to freely exercise your first amendment rights.
That said, this problem isn't unique to DemocracyOS, as we've always had people who hate the rights of others, and even managed to pass the 18th amendment as a result.
The biggest problem with direct democracy is in educating people about the Constitution. We have long, embattled conflicts between Constitutional scholars on whether X aligns with the Constitution, and the "will of the people", absent that knowledge, may serve to exacerbate the issue.
In the USA we handle these issues with a representation by region (states) rather than by population. Solutions feel more like post-processing, then data gathering.
In the USA we defend against tyranny of the majority with the constitution. The constitution places strict limits on what the majority can do to the minority through governmental force.
A political system should be a strong constitution that defines the rights of individuals. Something like DemocracyOS should be used to engage the population into ensuring that political actions are in fact constitutional and just.
At the federal level we can change the constitution if we get enough votes. But its hard to achieve such a consensus, as it requires more than a simple super-majority. So it always comes down to thresholds.
But let's say, indeed, majority wants to violate the rights of minority. Stripping other people from voting rights isn't democratic (even if it's voted by everybody), because it violates the basic democratic rule, "every person should get the same power in politics". Democracy is defined by the end result (same access to power), not the procedure (voting). (In fact, democracy allows for tradeoffs where a person gets little more power in exchange for more accountability.)
It's true that even without stripping other voter's rights, minorities can still be persecuted. But it is a cultural issue, which won't be resolved by formal constitutional framework. In fact, historically, it very often were elites (that you may think are the solution) who participated or even organized these persecutions.
For example, in the U.S., there is a large minority of people in prison who are not protected by democracy, because they don't have voting rights. I would appreciate proof of any claim as to how any sort of republican institutions in the U.S. helps these people be protected. I don't see that.
Someone wrote below that the solution could be super-majority vote, like 80% of citizens to agree to change the constitution. I think that's a wrong idea, which doesn't give enough credit to people. This can possibly protect a minority, but it can also delay progress in helping minority. The minority that needs to be overruled in super-majority voting can keep the status quo longer than desired by most, and that's unfair too. We don't know what the future morality will be; it may be different in positive, not negative, fashion compared to today's morality. We could perhaps say, though, that the future society will be more happy with their own morality than ours (because they can compare the two, we cannot); therefore, it should be possible for them not be too conservative and implement it.
Anyway, this debate is always rather academic, because politicians only rarely vote with the majority. (And no, pre-war Germany is not a good example, as I already explained above.)
Nothing about the phrase actually requires the tyranny be remotely permanent, and nothing about the concept of tyranny requires it either. Indeed, it's actually more poignant that the tyranny is both ephemeral and, more importantly, inevitable. This is the real issue. It's easy to comprehend the issue by looking at semi-permanent states , like Marxist class divisions or political polarization, but those are consequences.
When you place something to a vote and fail to achieve consensus, you have a majority whose will is being enacted upon a minority. This is commonly celebrated by moronic catchphrases such as, "the right side of history," but you still have a winner and a loser. And when the ephemeral majority seems to crystallize from the aether into an unmistakable demographic of some kind, you really have to wonder about this "emergent majority" concept.
The fundamental American problem is that it is incapable of trusting its government. (I can't speak to other governments; I don't live under those.) This lack of trust is well-founded, but that doesn't make it any less crippling. I said below that the appropriate counter to the tyrannical majority is a strong executive. The executive is capable of saying, "No," to a popular opinion in a way that the legislature cannot. (Indeed, this is a role Americans have shoved onto the judiciary, which means we can't actually say no until someone files a lawsuit.) The interplay between the legislature and the executive (the vote, the veto, the super-majority overrule, the refusal to enforce, the impeachment) is exactly the solution being proposed.
None of it works without an executive willing to exercise its options. See Obama's refusal to enforce immigration laws, for instance. (For the sake of this "academic debate", let's presume that he could enforce them to the letter if he wanted to.) That is a check against tyranny of the majority. So naturally, well... see for yourself . This isn't meant as an anti-Republican statement; it's just the most recent example I could bring to mind off the top of my head.
The trust part comes back when you ask, "Why doesn't a minority group tyrannized by a majority group just leave?" You know, secede. This comes back to the emergent majority you spoke of: if you trust the majority to, you know, not be dicks about it . To not always be the majority, then secession isn't necessary. You can expect that the issues will change and you'll be in the majority. Of course, what's happened with the polarized political class in America is that you stick around because you figure you can win next time.
This is a problem. It is the exact opposite of what you need to make sure that a majority is an emergent majority. Instead of melting back into an indeterminate goo and forming new majority/minority groups in each vote, you have battle lines being drawn for a budding civil war. And that's as far as I've figured out.
 "State" as in "state of being", not as in "nation-state". My thesaurus powers have failed me.
 Book recommendation: http://www.amazon.com/Talking-Strangers-Anxieties-Citizenshi...
I disagree; if the oppression is ephemeral, then it's nowhere as bad as when it is (semi)permanent. (Maybe an example would help - all the oppressions that come to my mind from history, that were formalized in law, are attempts to permanently subjugate or even eradicate the minority.)
(In fact, I can come up with an example of "ephemeral" oppression - unemployment. It's irony that people who argue that democracy leads to tyranny of majority often fail to see the tyranny of the markets.)
People do have empathy and memory; if you being in the minority is ephemeral, then you will remember it and vote differently. Oppression can only work if people are afraid; if they are not, they can change things and work toward consensus.
And if you look at direct democracy in Switzerland, for instance, you will find that direct democracy (I don't consider representative democracy only one or the best possibility) actually leads to more consensual result - people vote differently on different issues, sometimes they have minority view, mostly they have majority view (as it happens statistically), and because of that, the party or class tribalism you describe from American politics is greatly reduced. So empirically, exact opposite happens than what "tyranny of the majority" crowd tends to think that happens. (Another counterfactual claim is that direct democracy will lead to some torrent of crazy changes - in fact common voters are more conservative and less decisive than politicians.)
> This is a problem. It is the exact opposite of what you need to make sure that a majority is an emergent majority.
I don't understand what is your point here. In direct democracy, the majority is always emergent; it depends on your actual views, not on which party you decide to vote for.
Except that these oppressive acts are law-making: the oppressive act under discussion is the vote. The vote enshrines the law into the most permanent state we have, really. The fact that the emergent majority that enshrines this law is no longer extant is irrelevant: their actions are permanent.
> if you being in the minority is ephemeral, then you will remember it and vote differently.
How is this a good thing? This is the worst reason to change your vote and invalidates the entire point of voting to begin with. "Oh no, I've been oppressed. Clearly I must change myself and conform to the popular opinion next time around." How is this anything but tyranny by majority?
> And if you look at direct democracy in Switzerland, ... because of that, the party or class tribalism you describe from American politics is greatly reduced.
I'm not familiar with the details of Swiss politics, but at a glance at the Wikipedia page, the first thing it says is that it's "half-direct". I cannot make any claims about the consequences of the Swiss system, but my guess is that the effects you describe have nothing to do with direct democracy. They are instead the effect of the lower population (4% of the US; 0.6% of India) and higher homogeneity.
In America, the tribalism has historically been along fairly clear lines visible outside of the polling booth: income, education, race, and so on. This has blurred, but not by much. You can still take a bunch of demographics, pick an issue, and reliably predict the position a given citizen will take.
Your claim is essentially that this isn't the case in Switzerland. That someone with a higher degree of education does not have a higher probability of voting on the progressive side of a given issue, for instance, but rather that demographics fail to predict voting patterns. I cannot dispute this claim because I don't have Swiss voting records at my disposal. But I would suspect that the demographical divisions in Switzerland are much less visible than those in America.
Personally, my conclusion is that, for the United States to more likely attain a "consensual result", it needs a higher degree of homogeneity, not direct democracy.
> In direct democracy, the majority is always emergent; it depends on your actual views, not on which party you decide to vote for.
First, you never used the term "direct democracy" in your initial comment. Second, I said nothing about political parties. It's probably very difficult to understand my point when you aren't really reading what I wrote in good faith.
As far as I can tell, our actual difference of opinion can be demonstrated with this thought experiment. Let's say that you have a population governed by democratic procedure in which a law is proposed 4 times throughout a year. It is the same law, the same text, and no relevant or notable events occur over this period to change opinions. Let's further assume 100% turnout. We'll posit that 70% vote yes and 30% vote no.
My position is that, for any given person in this population, their vote will not change throughout this year: it will remain 70%, 70%, 70%. Your position, if I interpret you correctly, is that the voting pattern will change to 80% yes, 90% yes, and then 100% yes, because the minority will vote differently.
The thought experiment is not intended to be realistic; it's merely intended to make our difference in basic assumptions clear.
I don't understand how is voting oppressive. Bad laws can be changed; what cannot be changed are things like loss of human lives, that's irreversible. You are arguing very abstractly; perhaps more specific example of oppression (ideally from the real world) would help? I would like to see a historic example of law promoted by majority (and if possible, opposed by elites) that had extremely negative consequences for some minority.
> How is this anything but tyranny by majority?
No, you're misunderstanding. It's that majority will change their vote to conform the minority view (if the idea is good, of course), not other way around. Just look at my example - unemployment. Even though unemployed people are in ephemeral minority, unemployment is a big topic for everybody, the majority. Because many people have been unemployed in the past or know someone, who was. So if someone is proposing to help the minority of unemployed, majority will probably vote for it. Neither they are probably going to support harming unemployed people.
> the first thing it says is that it's "half-direct"
The half-direct is more precise term, direct democracy is not quite practical, but it has important advantages to representative democracy. Half-direct democracy is a good compromise between those features.
> Personally, my conclusion is that, for the United States to more likely attain a "consensual result", it needs a higher degree of homogeneity, not direct democracy.
Well, the causality is the other way around - Swiss are homogenous because they have decades of experience in building consensus. But think whatever you want.
> It's probably very difficult to understand my point when you aren't really reading what I wrote in good faith.
The point is, in a real democracy, you don't have to pick from (as little as) two packages of issues that some clever marketers designed. That really means that there is no clear minority and majority - in some issues you may be minority and in some majority. In other words, being in minority is an artifact of the representative political system (and the majority voting or two party system makes it worse).
> As far as I can tell, our actual difference of opinion can be demonstrated with this thought experiment.
You don't have to do thought experiments. There have been quite a lot of cases where Swiss people changed the majority view from conservative to more progressive one. It's a little slower process (may take several years), but it happens. There have been also some regresses (I think some anti-mosque laws and such), but these happen at the same glacial pace, and are no worse than anywhere else.
You know, Switzerland and U.S. (not on federal level, and in all states, unfortunately) both have half-direct democracy, and they have some highest living standards in the world. Is that just a coincidence? (I certainly don't see much oppression going on there, and that's why this "tyranny of the majority" argument always seemed to me as some ivory tower bullshit.)
I'm interested in having this discussion, but you keep changing your position completely with every post. Now I'm at the point where I'm imagining we actually agree with each other, but neither of us seem capable of actually communicating anything useful.
Assuming that we are in agreement, there isn't really any point to our discussion. If we aren't, then we can't get anywhere because I can't even comprehend your position.
From my reading, doesn't this say nothing? "democracy protects minorities as much as democracies could ever protect minorities."
>the majority is emergent
How does "emergence" affect the possibility of tyranny?
>it violates the basic democratic rule, "every person should get the same power in politics"
So maybe the takeaway here is that pure democracy is insufficient? The original point was that "Political systems should protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority."
>Democracy is defined by the end result (same access to power), not the procedure (voting).
Isn't this just semantics?
>It's true that even without stripping other voter's rights, minorities can still be persecuted. But it is a cultural issue, which won't be resolved by formal constitutional framework.
Isn't "stripping other voter's rights" a loaded way to put it? Freedom to vote doesn't necessarily have to mean freedom to persecute--freedoms generally end at the boundary where they begin trampling other freedoms. Also, in which situations "It is a cultural issue"? What does that imply? Does DemocracyOS fix cultural issues?
>In fact, historically, it very often were elites (that you may think are the solution) who participated or even organized these persecutions.
Did the parent suggest a return to oligarchy? Do current elites participate in persecutions?
>For example, in the U.S., there is a large minority of people in prison who are not protected by democracy, because they don't have voting rights.
How will people in prison obtain fair representation under DemocracyOS?
>This can possibly protect a minority, but it can also delay progress in helping minority. The minority that needs to be overruled in super-majority voting can keep the status quo longer than desired by most, and that's unfair too.
So the solution is to never protect minorities in the first place?
>We don't know what the future morality will be; it may be different in positive, not negative, fashion compared to today's morality. We could perhaps say, though, that the future society will be more happy with their own morality than ours (because they can compare the two, we cannot); therefore, it should be possible for them not be too conservative and implement it.
Yes, political systems should enable the implementation of policies. This says nothing about the merits of different political systems.
No, it's similar to pareto optimality. Democracy protects every possible minority equally. It won't give any minority an inch more rights so they could tyrannize the majority.
> How does "emergence" affect the possibility of tyranny?
A lot, because of human empathy. Why would you vote for a tyranny of relatively small group of people? Most people can see that one step ahead and know that they are the next. Also, in more direct democracies, people vote more often and have different views on issues, so they are minority and majority at the same time. This influences their willingness to compromise.
> So maybe the takeaway here is that pure democracy is insufficient?
It is insufficient, but not in the general sense "because of tyranny of the majority". Democracy doesn't try to solve specific cultural issues, it's a decision making mechanism. If your objection is just a general "tyranny of the majority", then I doubt there is anything better (because you have to start somewhere, and democracy gives everyone the same power).
> Isn't this just semantics?
No. There are different methods how to have same access to power. All of them can be considered democratic, although each has advantages and disadvantages. Also, to prevent Russell-style paradoxes, you cannot decide democratically whether or not you want to abandon (or establish) democracy. You can however decide that with a vote.
> Freedom to vote doesn't necessarily have to mean freedom to persecute--freedoms generally end at the boundary where they begin trampling other freedoms.
I think you misunderstand the sentence - I meant that people that are being persecuted can still have voting rights. Although historically, I would say any group with voting rights was being persecuted much less than without.
> Also, in which situations "It is a cultural issue"?
What I mean is that it's not just legal framework that causes oppression, people's beliefs cause oppression. The laws are, and always will be, reflection of those beliefs. If you don't like that someone is being persecuted, you can't just change the law, you have to change the culture.
> Do current elites participate in persecutions?
Depends on who you ask, what your specific persecution you have in mind. But in most cases it's just sitting by idly, whether or not it's participation again depends on your view.
> How will people in prison obtain fair representation under DemocracyOS?
I wasn't addressing DemocracyOS specifically, but in my country (Czech Republic), we have provisions for prisoners to vote if they want to. So in our country they have fairer representation than in the U.S. (at least some states).
> So the solution is to never protect minorities in the first place?
I am not sure what "protections" you have in mind. As I already explained, it's hard to conceive that e.g. Saudi Arabian elites would decide to protect women minority. It's a matter of culture and you cannot rely on any elite (even appointed one) to do that. Society as a whole has to believe that's a good value.
And as far as general protections go, I can't imagine anything better than democracy, which just gives everyone same rights. Any other solution will by definition have to give someone more say, and this person or group will be more fallible and can cause more oppression themselves.
-James Madison 1787
Like Wikipedia: we believe this is an idea that works better in practice than in theory.
Democracy is always a "Work in progress", its never a complete idea because otherwise it would be an absolutist totalitarian ideology. It's the exception to all ideologies.
And adapting it to software is our biggest mission.
Democracy cannot change the culture in the country. It's just a tool for decision making in politics, better than fists. It can lead to culture change, though. Democracy causes people who didn't have power previously to be involved, and different moral view is dispersed in society.
If you would give Saudis the U.S. constitution, it would still take time before citizens would change the culture to consider women peers. The constitution itself doesn't guarantee the outcome either.
That isn't sufficient in and of itself, to be ironic. If the strong executive lacks stringent limits on its power and domain of influence, then it is ironic. But, a strong executive is likely necessary in even a libertarian-styled government, to protect rights by enforcing "legitimate" laws (where "legitimate" is open to interpretation and opinion). But the distinction is that the strong executive in a libertarian-style government has a strictly limited domain over which it exercises power.
Strength and scope are different things, despite their frequent conflation in [American] politics.
Are there individuals with low-income, little to no internet access, don't know what a blockchain or open source is, have hectic work schedules with the addition of raising a family participating on your platform?
From what I can tell this platform is giving more power to those who already have some sense of power. This platform does not alleviate the problem of those in society who do not have any power or say in political processes. It may even be argued this platform may contribute to the problem.
 Those who have the privilege, time, and monetary means of internet access, acquiring/have knowledge of internet technologies, and being a participant.
We come from Argentina, a latinamerican country and we are very aware of the social challenges we face.
But it's not just a technological solution, we ALSO created a Political party that does a lot of offline activism helping society understand the power they have using digital technology.
The Net Party ran for elections in 2013 and got 1.2% of the votes in Buenos Aires, it was an incredible first election for a small party and that led to DemocracyOS being implemented officially by the Congress.
Thanks to that, a lot of bills got attention. For example: Nureses now have better working conditions thanks to the action taken on DemocracyOS for the Congress of Buenos Aires.
Read more about it here: http://democracyos.org/about-us
I get that you're trying to reinvigorate the notion of the political party, but there is an argument to be made that a form of politics which reflects the internet itself would have no parties, and certainly not one party - no universal representation of particularities, since, as you write in the manifesto, the 'peers' are themselves singularities, and by definition singularities cannot be subsumed. (Kant 101.)
> The Net Party ran for elections in 2013 and got 1.2% of the votes in Buenos Aires
How do you justify that most of the votes came from wealthy neighborhoods of the city?
At first sight, it does not seem significant.
My claim was about poor and rich people, and you used progressive and conservatives parties as a proxy indicator, which is not great. In USA, for example, California and New York are two of the richest states and they are progressive, while the poorest tend to be conservative.
In the "comunas" 4, 8 and 9 (Lugano, Mataderos, Soldati, Pompeya, Barracas) the party "UNION PRO" did better than "UNEN" (a.k.a.: "ARI"), and in the 12, 13, 14 (Urquiza, Belgrano, Palermo) their percentages were really close.
If anything, your statement is completely unrelated to my question.
> Actually in Congress, The Workers Party (PO) brought more users to DemocracyOS than ANY other party.
Correlation does not imply causality. One possible explanation is that both DemocracyOS and PO have a stronger impact on young people.
and again: only rich people believe internet is for the rich. In every slum you'll find every single kid with a huge smartphone.
As you came to realize by the end of your rant: the gap is more generational than Socio-economical. That's why this makes sense in the long term.
I think I've exhibit thoughts, tried to look for mathematical proof, quoted people who are smarter than me, wonder about known problems when making decisions, and you consider that a rant?
You have no addressed a single concern I have shared. You don't have to, but your replies are infuriating because you are missing the point every time.
You are just repeating marketing phrases like "every single kid with a huge smartphone". Well, what does that prove? Does it prove that internet has as much penetration in lower income population than it does in high income one? I think not. And if you keep repeating that you are just insulting the young people who live in a slum and do not have smartphone, because you are blaming them for not having one.
> the gap is more generational than Socio-economical
That gap is not related to democracyOS but to technology. You will have a stronger impact on a young generation not because "you are thinking in long term" but because they'll understand it faster.
This comment was mostly a rant. And from now on I'll refuse to answer any comment you write until you want to provide something useful to talk about, or even back your statements.
Sí he estado, no desde que se popularizaron los smartphones, y mientras hablas de experiencias personales no deja de ser estadísticamente insignificante.
Y no, me calenté con tu comentario, antes estaba argumentando, a diferencia de vos que no tuviste un solo arugmento.
source: INDEC. National stats often used by Google too in Argentina (they where leaked to me, but it's public you can look for them).
don't hide in Spanish.
lol; yes, I'm hiding when I'm saying (a) you are using threading wrong (b) my personal experience is statically insignificant (c) I'm trying to have a debate while you have not presented a single argument.
> Stats? 72% of the Homes of Buenos Aires have Internet access. Of those, 88% with broadband access.
> Oh, I forgot: 93% of < 30 year olds access social media at least once a week in Buenos Aires.
Is that Buenos Aires City, or Buenos Aires City and Surrounds, or Buenos Aires Province, or Buenos Aires City and Province?
72% is the average, how is it distribute? we are talking about income inequality here, not about internet access.
Even in the most optimistic case where it is evenly distributed, what are you trying to prove? My criticism was that Partido de la Red got a lot better results on wealthier areas, and I was wondering how do you justify.
Saying that poor people also have internet actually makes your case worse, it means they actively decided that your project does not represent them.
A better argument would have been that access is getting there but they don't have it yet.
You've said "personal experience is statically insignificant"
I agree, that's why I replied 93% of under 30 year olds in Buenos Aires access social media at least once a week.
I mentioned my personal experience because it was obvious how many of these kids access the internet. You see that 93% stat everywhere if you actually cared and waled the streets of the city.
These attacks where the most common ones we had during the campaign. So let me give you an update: the largest organisation that implemented DemocracyOS is a political party from Kenya. Over there 25% of the GDP is already transacted through mobile devices.
I traveled a lot around the world, specially Latin America. And I did notice that civic adoption of technology is way stronger in developing nations that are struggling than in developed ones. Venezuela is an impressive case if you ever get to see what's going on ever there.
So no, I don't bullshit. I've been working on this for many years now.
You proof is irrelevant, and incorrect. I lived the past two years in California. Were does stats also correct two years ago? Or your "never" actually means "recently"?
> These attacks where the most common ones we had during the campaign.
Attacks? Really? I see that Partido de la Red is following Frente para la Victoria speech where you are either 100% with them, or you are the enemy. Am I getting paid be the Clarin Group now as well? I made questions.
> if you actually cared and waled the streets of the city
Ugh, that is an attach, and I don't really like your tone. You are implying that you only care if you are physically there, which is incorrect on every possible level.
You are systematically ignoring the questions I have asked, posting cherry-picked facts that are at most mildly related to the conversation I was trying to have with you.
My original question was: "How do you justify that most of the votes came from wealthy neighborhoods of the city?"
Your answer was repeating that people, even poor people, use internet. Well, cool, that's awesome. Now what do you think about my question for a change?
You've built a system that requires privilege. And you're giving power only to those who have that privilege.
You didn't address the fact there are those who do not have that privilege. Helping people understand the power of digital technology is meaningless if there are those who do not even have the digital technology.
Are you going to buy them the digital technology? Are you going to pay for their internet access? How are you going to provide equal privilege?
Who is your demographic?
It may come as a shock to you, but poor people have cellphones and internet, too.
Approximately 1 billion smartphones are sold every year.
Do the math.
Privilege? Think about a system that has 500 decision makers for a population of 300 million. That certainly requires TONS of more privilege than the idea we are proposing here where citizens can have a direct input NOT once every 2 years, but every week if they want to.
Take your time.
Also, what about traditional ballot stuffing? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_100#Hacking anyone?
I could only trust this if there were attached a mathematical proof of its usability. Otherwise, I kind of doubt it's worth anyone's time.
This is a paper describing an end-to-end verifiable self-enforcing electronic voting system called DRE-i (Direct Recording Electronic with Integrity).
In my opinion this is a superior solution to any other electronic voting system developed to date.
I look forward to seeing more of the implementation. Congrats on the launch, and thanks for working on a difficult problem that we all need to see solved.
However, I've recently seen 'democratic' videos urging for a military dictatorship. Millions of Facebook users shared the message and ~1M people protested last sunday, while trying to kick out our president.
So I wonder if, contradictorily, some might exploit DemocracyOS to install anti-democratic regimes.
Is there a way to ensure such thing won't happen?
Infinitely better than corrupted politicians.
How is that democratic, or even 'democratic'?
A traditional party can ask their supporters to vote for them in the elections, and then ask them to vote for the same laws in this platform. They don't ever need to discuss, or they can discuss and discuss and vote for the official party decision nevertheless. So the party gets double votes, unless the other parties also try to abuse the system. (If everybody abuse the system, the biggest party get double votes.)
In the comments sections of the newspapers is very usual to see very politized users and real or alleged accusations of astroturfing, shills, suckpupets, meatpupets, 50-cents-army, choriplaneros, ...
Also, from our experience with DemocracyOS, users actually participate in stuff they actually care about, and not equally on every sort of issue. So it's interesting to see how larger userbases would unfold with apps like DemocracyOS or similar.
Assuming 3-letter agencies haven't already broken it, they will sooner or later, and now all your users will be susceptible to having their votes manipulated at the whim of US intelligence.
And of course, @DemocracyOS
YC: ask his previous investors and employees what they think, independently and in private.
But I hope and believe this is just a first, experimental step. And I hope that next steps will be informed by the rich tradition of experimentation in "participatory, deliberative democracy". This includes things like citizen assemblies, citizen juries, participatory budgeting, wisdom councils, etc. What these approaches have in common is a blending of citizen participation with informed deliberation, often including a random sampling (of citizens).
As two superb examples of this, I would point to the Citizen's Assembly on Electoral Reform (British Columbia, Canada, 2004) and the Dialogue with the City (Perth, Australia, 2003). Some really useful books: Tao of Democracy (Tom Atlee), Deliberative Democracy Handbook (Gastil & Levine), Deliberative Democracy in America (Ethan Leib).
That said, I think that, as far as revolutionizing elections/politics in any important sense, something far more drastic than this will be required. Finding new ways to debate hot political questions of the day, as a function of what is coming out of the news (any news outlet), is missing the point.
There is a lack of disengagement with politics, and moreover, it is absolutely justified. The manner in which most of the discussions are conducted are nonsensical. There is an abject lack of nuance and thoughtfulness. Discussions are necessarily vague and always conducted with superlative certainty.
Here is a fact: there is not enough information on this page to form a reasoned opinion about the Bank on Student Loan Fairness Act. There probably isn't enough information on 20 pages. Yet that is the script. Learn about a complex issue in 60 seconds, and then decide where you come down on it. It's patent nonsense.
If there is to be a revolution, it will need to deal with the reality that there is a facade between the machinations of governments and corporations and the people, and that facade is the news. The news is our window into vast, vast complexity and the basis for making choices that supposedly affect our local quality of life all the way up to the direction of history. So long as the important decisions are organized in this top-down hierarchy of power, a website isn't going to change much.
No, the most promising ideas about upending hierarchies try to actually redistribute the power from the top. Imagine a politician running for office in the context of some website like this, who, through some formal, public process, granted certain levels of access to online advocates, in the event of a win. For example, someone able to marshal something in the order of 10 votes would be promised one lunch in the first 2 years.
The details are less important than the inversion of power hierarchies that new technologies enable. Until that can be practically harnessed, approaching electoral matters along conventional axes is unlikely to get much traction.
Liquid Feedback was a "liquid democracy" platform developed by the german pirate party. Both the software and the party are now largely dissolved; ironically killed by their over-zealous interpretation of democracy, which resulted in a lack of direction and rabid dilettantism.
But it was a great initiative that we researched 3 years ago when we began.
Personally I always thought the most attractive model for such an endeavor is to store laws in a markup format, and go through the old school route of mailing lists and patches. You'd be making use of highly tested infrastructure and actually require for participants to put a little effort in learning.
But the real challenge is getting TRACTION on a technology like this. It's not just the protocol (which I think it should be based on the Blockchain).. but also the product that makes citizens engaged with political participation.
Here is a reading list if you are interested in the subject. There have been (at least) four conferences on the subject of online deliberation.
http://parliament.sourceforge.net/ftf-paper.pdf Parliament: A Module for Parliamentary Procedure Software
http://www.cs.uu.nl/groups/IS/archive/henry/RobertReport.pdf Prakken, Henry. 1998. Formalizing robert’s rules of order: An experiment in automating mediation of group decision making. Tech. Rep. REP-FIT-1998-12, GMD.
Obviously getting modern tools to shitty politicians is always going to be the focus with things like DemocracyOS, but I'm really excited to see this for deciding stuff on the small communities I'm a part of.
The one weird thing is that they're non-profit, open source. I hope they survive on that model. Is it only donations?
We want to figure a self-sustainable model, donations can only get you that far. The task ahead of us is a big one: we want to build governance for the internet society.
The "lista sabana" is a large list of party-candidates (in 6pt font) headed by the "leader" or "caudillo" name (in 62pt font).
If the "caudillo" has a 40% approval rate, the first 40% of people on the 6pt-font list WILL enter the congress, so the firsts spots on the lists are literally SOLD beforehand, based on the "leader" popularity index. The spots can also be exchanged for "popular support" with labor union leaders (to herd people into political rallies).
So, here the "congressman" have no direct relation to the voters, they've only a direct dependency on the "leader". They do as they're told or else they will not be included in the list on the next elections.
There is no such thing as "constituents" in this system.
That's a reason why DemocracyOS and the "Net Party" are viable here. When representation is completely broken, direct-democracy sounds good.
Here's a quote from a document on Paraguayan system (the same system):
"But what if the elected representatives of the legislature were not voted in directly by the people? Would that discredit the authority of the legislative branch? The actual voting method in Paraguayan politics for a legislator to enter government is to lobby for their name to enter a “lista sabana,” a list of names on a sheet that represents the party candidates. The people then vote for that party list, rather than for the individual. Party leaders can then decide which positions to give to the party faithful. In this way the political class can make deals, play at back room politics to add their name to the list, exchange favors with voters and backers, and conduct business behind closed doors. The Congress can then vote to apportion more funds from the Treasury to fund their election campaigns, increase their salaries and benefits, and buy their votes with political largesse. The system reinforces the worst excesses of political cronyism, including links to crony capitalism. Ultimately it erodes the social trust between the governed and the governors and creates inefficiencies in a country’s economics. Attempts have been made to remove, or “unblock,” the “lista sabana” by allowing voters to choose individual candidates to the legislature, but so far these attempts have failed."
The Partido de la Red results seem to reveal a problem that is obvious at first sight: the underrepresentation of those who need representation the most.
I have doubts about whether direct democracy is a good idea, at all. Summarizing, dividing the burden of decision making is inefficient for the population at large, and it does not guarantee better results.
People behind this project admit that this does not fully solve the problem it is attempting to solve.
Even if I could ignore the previous statement (which of course I can't), I wonder if the advantages of moving from an indirect democracy to a direct democracy are enough to even try to solve the problems. I think the cost of switching is high, and I cannot see any benefit.
In USA the main problem with democracy is the lack of interest of population in government elections. Does micromanaging decisions make this problem better or worse? The question is valid. It could be better if the feeling is that no matter who wins nobody will represent the voter; it could be worse if people do not care about the decisions that have to be make. There are other possible options, of course, but I don't really know if this solves problems or makes it worse.
I wonder how selection bias would affect decision making. People will mostly vote on subjects they feel passionate about, and ignore the others. Which will probably lead to what programmers know as bikeshedding.
Now I would like to highlight the positive of thinking about this problems and attempting a solution. Also following up Congress's debates and actions is something that should happen more often, for example Congressional Dish attempts to do so.
 (Spanish) https://medium.com/@alejandrocrosa/votarias-a-un-partido-que...
 (Spanish) https://catdevmind.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/democracia-direc...
Democracy is always a work in progress. Otherwise it would be a totalitarian concept.
So what we are trying to understand is simply democracy but for the digital age. Using computers and networks, and the power of software. Open source, collaborative free software.
Uh? I think we are in a Representative Democracy and what DemocracyOS proposes is a Direct Democracy. It is not "just democracy" since both Representative and Direct democracies are forms of democracy.