[EM] Implementing Practical Democracy with Votorola

Fred Gohlke fredgohlke at verizon.net
Tue Mar 24 18:13:15 PDT 2009

Good Afternoon, Michael

Thank you for the detailed description.  I had no problem with the 
formatting (I use a 1970's word processor.  It doesn't have proportional 
spacing.)  The displays were very clear.  I also visited the links you 
supplied and have spent some time thinking about the material.  You'll 
understand digesting the concept is a slow process (at least, for me).

I take it the basic idea is that anyone may nominate a person by 
supplying their email address.  Then others, with an interest in the 
choice, show their approval or disapproval by indicating their trust or 
distrust of the person nominated, or enter another person in nomination.

Votorola maintains a running total of the number (and strength, I think) 
of supporters for each candidate.  This provides a dynamic reflection of 
candidates' progress through the electoral process and gives an 
indication of the level of approval and disapproval for each candidate. 
  I'm not sure I understand how one determines the quality of the 
trust/distrust the voters express.  As you mentioned in an earlier post, 
voters can, if they wish, remove their original vote and cast it for a 
different candidate if they feel their interests are better served by 
the change.

One of the pages I reviewed was a summary of information about a voter 
(Voter X).  It looked something like this:


* Toronto  * Register  * Voter  * Elections

* Identity  * Registration  * Votes

          voter-x at zelea.com
          89 X Street, M9X 9X9

Note: [voter-x at zelea.com is a simulated voter, registered by

   [  ] Send mail to this voter.

   [  ] Visit this voter's neighbourhood in the voter list.

Trust Level 0         Doubters 0

Trust, this voter is currently trusted by nobody.

Doubt, this voter is currently doubted by nobody.

   Trust above is from the latest compiled voter list (snap-2009-
   03-21 / readyList-2009-03-21), and excludes subsequent changes.
   Doubt is current, but excludes the signals of unlisted doubters
   (the user excepted).

This voter is trusting nobody.

This voter is doubting nobody.



As mentioned before, I feel it is important for the people who will be 
voting to engage in a detailed discussion of public issues (hence, the 
provision in Practical Democracy for the electoral authority to supply 
triads with summaries of budgets and ordinances).  I'm not sure how that 
would be accomplished with Votorola.  I found no 'statement of position' 
for Voter X, so I'm not clear about how I would decide to trust or doubt 
this voter.  Even though it would not provide the kind of depth 
necessary for sound decisions, would it be a good idea to add a section 
below the voter identification to give a brief recap of the voter's 
positions on issues and people or would that open a can of worms?

The purpose and use of a voter's neighborhood (and the voter list) 
appears to give a recap of the support and opposition the voter has 
attracted.  Am I correct in thinking the trust/doubt values attach when 
Voter X (the one I looked at) votes for someone else?

Votorola could, as shown by your post, record and report the decisions 
of the triads.  It could also, perhaps, provide a mechanism for 
constituents at lower levels to express their views for the guidance of 
those they've selected to represent them.

Fred Gohlke

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