[CHP] Social Governance

Since one of the natures of a hackerspace is experimentation and exploration I would like to start off a project under the Hive. A simple view of what I want to research is a voting system but more importantly a form of governance for the organization. What I’m really interested in exploring is a type of Direct Democracy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_democracy) as opposed to a more conventional Representation Democracy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representative_democracy). I want to experiment with setting up a voting/governance system that is as transparent to the core members as possible. However I do not want to setup a system that is mob rule where only the uniformed majority win on topics. I would like to experiment with things that use more of weighted scoring or use cascading delegation of votes to determine assent.

Some programs that I’m currently looking at evalutating and experimenting with are:

Votorola - http://zelea.com/project/votorola/
Metagovernment - http://www.metagovernment.org

A great paper on this comes from the Votorola project (http://zelea.com/project/votorola/d/theory.xht) Note paper is a bit long…damn that MIT :wink:

Votorola is the most scalable but Metagovernment is designed for smaller orginizations/clubs. I would ultimate like to use/develop a system that all hackerspaces could use to determine things from group roles to what logo to use. Once I get some test servers setup I will build a page/wiki with our research. If you have a specific interest in this type of research let me know.


I have always leaned toward a constitutional republic myself. A democracy (direct or representative) is certain to alienate the minority, introduce arbitrary ambiguity and slow decision making. Since we haven’t the time nor the apparent inclination to develop a constitution, such a system of governance in unlikely. In lieu of a constitution, Majority Rule is the “Good Ol’ USA” knee-jerk reaction. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majority_Rule http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ochlocracy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyranny_of_the_majority) I think that experimentation and course correction based on empirical data is a good plan. It leaves things open to the possibility of finding a better solution than what may be presently in use.

How do you determine which votes gain more weight than others without
coming across as orwellian?

I mean, not to offend, but if Bob Dobbs gets fifteen votes to my one,
I may be inclined to shoot Bob Dobbs.

No, we “lobby” Bob Dobbs. Make him “an offer he can’t refuse”. :slight_smile:

I think the Votorola project from my previous post would fall more into what you are thinking. Check out the theory paper http://zelea.com/project/votorola/d/theory.xht and see how a hierarchical setup can be defined or evolved.

We could also use mixedink.com for a constitutional document generation system so we can vote on parts of a document but it of course is still a democratic solution.


i am not sure about governments, but in the small context of a hackerspace, i think that results should carry the most weight.

for example, not everyone was on board with hive13 as a name, but now that we have secured a domain name and services running on said domain name, it is a tangible result.

if someone has an item or service or whatever that is maybe not the optimal choice, but is usable and useful, i think that should merit more attention than a “better” choice that is not as immediately available.

with that said, i think that there should also be a means for replacing one set of results with another, better set. that way the group doesn’t have to live with a drill press made from a blender if an actual drill press becomes available.

That’s an interesting concept. A weight based on what is achievable now. Hmmm, I’ll have to think about ways of implementing that. I would like to see a method were anybody can post suggestions as well as polling ideas. Similar to what we did with google moderator. It would be nice to have the option to either restrict or add weight to voters who are major contributors.

I will probably hack out my own solution as well just to play with some concepts. As I get demos up and running I’ll post links.

This is very cool. I’ve always been somewhat interested in these types of ideas, but I haven’t seen these two projects before. I’d definitely like to be involved with experimenting with them, even if we don’t ultimately use them to govern our org.