[EM] Dynamic Opinion Poll in our Wiki

Abd ulRahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Sun Jun 12 18:22:07 PDT 2005

At 07:10 AM 6/11/2005, Jobst Heitzig wrote:
>Abd ulRahman has suggested recently to put up a wiki in which we
>could try to reach consensus about elementary aspects of voting

On the Approval Voting yahoogroups list, I offered to put up an Approval 
wiki if anyone asked me to. Since I was asked, I did, 

Pretty empty at the moment, but at least it is there!

I make the same offer for Election Methods. If asked, I'll do it. By 
default, I'd make it em.beyondpolitics.org, but I'm totally open to 
suggestions for the subdomain. (And if someone wants to buy a domain with a 
better name, that's fine too. They're cheap. Or, as I say below, it could 
simply be the Election Methods wiki.)

My one condition for my offer is that the group *start* with Free 
Association rules and delegable proxy, at least in theory. The two 
provisions are actually both protections that interrelate. A Free 
Association can, among other things, vote to turn itself into anything 
else, and the caucus which wants to go that way may go that way and the 
remaining caucus can continue with the status quo. I'd truly be a hypocrite 
if I claimed to favor democratic organizational methods, and especially 
methods that are designed to promote consensus, and then I prevented a 
consensus from forming and tried to block its implementation, or I even 
tried to block a majority beyond perhaps a little delay to ensure full 
deliberation. So I promise that the *worst* thing I would do is to, with 
notice, stop hosting the wiki and that in that case I'd make the data 
available to any substantial group of members of the organization. And, as 
usual, I use far too many words in advance....

(delegable proxy is not important when an organization is very small. I 
just insist that members be *allowed* to name proxies if they choose and 
that these designations be automatically delegable. In practice, if the 
organization is very small, this will be practically moot.)

>I consider this a nice idea and have as a first step started a wiki
>page on which we could collect essential questions about what
>single-winner election methods should be like, and what opinion the
>individual members of this list have about those questions. It is in
>an easy-to-edit tabular form with rows of possible statements and
>columns for each person. You can indicate your degree of agreement
>to each statement by entering --,-,0,+,++, or ?.
>The page is this: http://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/Essential_Questions

I favor any and all such initiatives, without, as yet, making a personal 
judgement as to the process implemented. We can improve a poor process (if 
it is poor), just as an editor can improve badly-written material; but if 
there is *no* process, nothing of value is likely to be produced.

>It would be nice if many of you could have a look at it and add their
>opinions -- it should be some fun!

I will.

>I started with some 30 questions in several categories which seemed
>important to me, but surely the list will have to be enlarged by you.

That's what wikis are for. If used, they can develop hypertext documents 
that could not be produced by any single individual. They can develop 
consensus and show it, but without some method of actually polling the full 
community, there is no way to prove it, for some members may have stopped 
looking, perhaps disgusted by the messy process along the way.... This is 
why delegable proxy. It is a way for someone interested to decide to stop 
personally following an issue, while still remaining connected and 
reachable through their proxy.

Delegable Proxy is not an election method, though, as has been described 
elsewhere, it can be used as part of one. Rather, it is a method of 
assembling representation and ideas and communicating in *both* directions. 
Delegable Proxy, in theory at least, I hope we know soon from actual 
practice (a number of initiatives are in initial phases as this is 
written), should allow a relatively rapid back-and-forth involving the 
entire community of those who decide to participate. Since participation is 
made so "cheap," there is really no reason *not* to join except complete 
disinterest or a fear that the organizers will pester you. Hopefully, our 
record will show that this latter fear is not merited.

>At the moment, the page is not linked to from other wiki pages since I
>did not quite know where to put that link -- perhaps someone could do

The existing EM wiki may serve for the organizational purpose *if* the 
owners are willing to serve as trustees for it, and are trusted. I don't 
know them but I'm sure there are those here who do. From the appearance of 
things, and if I had to make an immediate decision, I'd trust them.

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