Current affairs have taught us that the rich, and the politicians, are often corrupt by their power, and obscenely selfish. We have learned that representative democracy is corruptible, and therefore will be corrupted.
To survive, we must build a new democracy that is a "flat democracy". It must be so democratic that no one person will have more power than any other person. We can no longer afford to have our important decisions serve corruption.
I offer this specification as an example of such a flat democratic system. I suggest it be built on MeWe.com because this platform already provides discussion facilities. Discussion is the most important element of democracy; it is what discovers ideas, changes minds, and unites groups. Voting, on the other hand, divides groups. Even so, voting is necessary, along with some algorithms specified here, to develop definite group decisions from the group discussion: without a leader and without anyone in the group having more power than anyone else.
The Rules of Order for a MeWe Group
Each member of the MeWe decision-enabled group will be in one of these four catagories:
1. Observers. Observers, the least powerful of the community, cannot participate in the group beyond observing. They can see the members and the members' participation. They cannot post, comment, reply, react, or vote. This is explained below in Dissonant Participants.
2. Participants. This the initial state of all new group members. Participants may post, comment, reply, and react in the group.
3. Voters. Any Participant is a Voter if the Participant has posted, commented, replied, and/or reacted in the group at least once a week for the last 4 weeks; and has registered by paying $.01 via a verified Paypal account. The Paypal account information is collected so that we can be sure that each Voter has only one identity and one vote. Leaders are also Voters, as described next.
4. Leaders. Any Voter who has posted or commented at least twice a week for the last 8 weeks.
Only Leaders can initiate polls.
Only Voters can vote.
All Participants can comment, reply, and react to a poll question.
Voters can change their votes as discussion and vote statistics develop. The ability to change one's votes is crucial to enabling the coalescence of group opinion.
Voter Participation Quota
These rules depend on the Voter's Participation Quota or VPQ.
Voter participation is defined as commenting, replying, reacting, voting and/or re-voting on the poll question in the poll question's post. The VPQ is defined as the number of Voters participating, (not the number of participating actions), divided by the total number of Voters at the time of the calculation. Comments, replies, and reactions from Participants who are not Voters, although welcome, do not count toward the VPQ.
In the rules below, we use two types of VPQ:
* Accumulated VPQ, which is the number of Voters who have participated since the poll's inception, divided by the total number of Voters at the time when the VPQ is calculated.
* Restricted VPQ, which is restricted to a certain time period. If the VPQ must be 20% over the past week, the VPQ is calculated by the number of Voters who have participated in the last week divided by the number of Voters at the time of the calculation.
Voters who have lost their Voter status at the time of the VPQ calculation, for any reason, will not be counted in the VPQ. If they have voted in the poll, their vote will disappear from the system. Their comments, replies, and reactions will remain.
Only polls designed for choosing a person or persons can be Private, but may not be, depending on the author's choice. In Private polls, the votes themselves are not visible to anyone, except each Voter can see and change their own vote. Visible, however, is whether or not each Voter has voted. The poll statistics for a Private poll become public once 10% of the current Voters have voted; the votes themselves are never Public.
All polls designed for anything other than chosing a person or persons are Public, i.e. Voters, votes, and statistics are visible to everyone.
Pinning posts is a social network's process of forcing a particular post to remain at the top of the feed for the group. Many posts can be pinned at the same time.
Polls that have a accumulated a VPQ of 10% become "pinned" for the first time.
The unpinning and repinning rules are different for each poll type and is explained below.
Standing Out Of The Poll
All polls will have a stand-out-of-the-poll (SOOP) option. Voters who vote SOOP are agreeing to agree with whatever decision is decided by the other Voters. Until the voting is closed, explained below, the SOOP Voters, as well as all Voters, can change their vote. The Voters who contribute SOOP votes count toward the Voters' participation quota, as do regular Voters who vote their opinion.
A poll can be taken for curiosity, just to know ourselves better; and polls can be created to make a decision.
To make a decision for the group:
1. The poll, at its inception, must announce itself as a decision-making poll.
2. The poll must be reach the required accumulated 10% VPQ and therefore be pinned.
* Yes/No/SOOP polls:
- Agreement and decision made:
If, after being pinned for 2 or more weeks, and 30% of the current Voters have voted, agreement is reached if 2/3 of the votes, not including the SOOP votes, are Yes votes or 2/3 of the votes, not including the SOOP votes, are No votes. The decision is announced, and the Yes/No/SOOP poll is unpinned.
- No agreement and no decision made:
If, after being pinned for 2 weeks, neither Yes nor No votes reach 2/3 of the votes, not including the SOOP votes, and the VPQ during the last week is less than 10%, the poll is unpinned. No decision is taken. The poll statistics and lack of decision is announced.
* Multiple Choice Polls:
Multiple choice polls must:
1. include a none-of-the-above (NOTA) option as well as a SOOP option.
2. allow a Voter to add new options to the poll. All previous Voters will be notified of new options as they are added.
3. Voters will rank the choices, using 1 for the first choice, 2 for the second choice, etc.
4. after 2 weeks of being pinned, the poll question is "set", meaning that adding new options is not allowed.
- Agreement and Decision Made
If, after at least 2 weeks of being set, and at least 30% of the current Voters voted in the poll, a decision is made according to "Ranked Choice Voting", http://www.fairvote.org/how_rcv_works . The vote statistics and decision are announced and the multiple choice poll is unpinned.
- No Agreement and No Decision Made
If, after at least 2 weeks of being set, if fewer than 30% of the Voters have voted, and the VPQ during the last week is less than 10%, the poll is unpinned. The lack of decision and the vote statistics are announced. No decision is taken.
After being pinned for 2 weeks, a curiosity poll, i.e. a poll that was not initially announced as a decision-making poll, becomes unpinned if the VPQ during the last week is less than 10%. The results of the poll are announced.
A poll will be re-pinned if the VPQ reaches 10% in the last week.
A Participant will be placed in Observer status, thereby causing that Participant to lose the right to participate by:
1. A Yes/No/SOOP poll is created by any Leader to move a Participant into Observation status.
2. Polls for placing a Participant into Observation status follow the same rules as any decision-making Yes/No/SOOP poll, except that there must be 75% agreement for the decision.
The first time a Participant is moved to Observation status, the Observation status lasts for one month.
The second time a Participant is moved to Observation status, the Observation status lasts forever.
Enforcing These Rules
These Rules are to be implemented and enforced by open-source software. The software itself is to be presented as source files in the Files section of the groups, or a link to the source code is to be provided.
Changing These Rules of Order
Proposed changes to the Rules of Order must follow the same rules as any decision-making Yes/No/SOOP poll, except that there must be 51% agreement for the decision to change a point in these rules.
It is the responsibility of the group's administrator(s) to make the required changes to the Rules, and to cause corresponding changes to be made to the underlying software.
These rules of order will be ratified using these Rules of Order.
Marilyn Davis, Ph.D.
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