[EM] proxy representation with "dissenting votes"

Jan Kok jan.kok.5y at gmail.com
Thu Mar 2 04:12:16 PST 2006

Hi Abd,

I'm glad to see that you are continuing to develop your ideas about FA/DP.

Unfortunately, I still find these ideas very abstract.  I'm having a
hard time visualizing how they might work in practice.  Maybe I should
just throw out a bunch of questions...  (And maybe you should answer
them on your beyondpolitics.org wiki, to save yourself some time and
to encourage people to participate in the wiki :-)

About FAs:

What sorts of organizations would be be well served by the FA model? 
Are there some sorts of organizations that should NOT use the FA

Does it make sense for an FA to include people from opposite or widely
differing viewpoints on an issue of major concern to the FA?  For
example, would it make sense to have an FA  with pro-choice and
pro-life people in it, to discuss reproductive issues?  What could
such an association accomplish?

Would it make sense to have a Voting Methods FA, with some people
supporting Condorcet, some supporting Approval, some supporting Range,
some supporting IRV?  Would it make sense for Plurality advocates to
participate in the FA as well?

Or does it make more sense to have one FA per voting method?

Does it make sense to have an FA that concerns itself with a multitude
of issues, such as political parties and some church groups do?

Would it make sense for, say, a state political party to organize
itself as an FA?  Would the FA replace the existing party
organization, or would it supplement it?  What would be the benefits
(and drawbacks) of replacing or supplementing a political party
organization with an FA?

You (Abd) seem to promote the idea that the FA is just for discussion,
and that political action should be undertaken by "caucuses" that are
apparently separate entities from the FA.  Isn't that somewhat
awkward, especially if most of the FA is in agreement about the action
to be taken?  Can the caucuses use the same communication channels as
the FA?

Does it make sense for the FA to have no power at all?  For example,
it should have the power to govern itself, set the rules for
conducting meetings, etc., right?

> And I really want to encourage anyone who cares to join with me.
> BeyondPolitics.org, in its conception, is itself an FA/DP...

What would the BP organization _do_?  Would it just be a discussion
group, about how to convert this or that organization to FA/DP?  What
is the benefit of having the BP organization, as separate from EM? 
Would there ever be enough members and volume of discussion that the
proxy or delegable proxy mechanisms would be used?

About DP:

In political or government organizations that deal with many different
issues, wouldn't it make more sense for people to have multiple
proxies to represent them on different issues?  For example, I might
have a hard time finding one proxy who would represent my views on all
the issues that concern me.  I would like to have one proxy who is an
expert in voting methods and supports my favorite method to represent
me regarding voting reform; I'd like another person who specializes in
drug war issues and supports my views to represent me regarding drug
war issues.  And so on.

For communication from the top down, it seems to me that existing
newsletter mechanisms work reasonably well.  For example, I get
newsletters from various legislators and PACs that tell me about
upcoming and past legislation, and how those legislators voted or
intend to vote.  In a DP organization, those communications need to
get passed down in a timely manner, so people can discuss items of
disagreement with their immediate proxies, or switch proxies if they

How does one become a proxy?  How does one rise in the hierarchy of proxies?

- Jan

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