Improvements for site functionality
Proposed Procedure Manual for a Citizen's Online Democracy
0 replies | Posted on March 10, 2016 at 02:57 by user 3
This is super ugly but it goes here until it finds a better place.
This system attempts to replicate the workings of our representative democracy, to build off existing infrastructure and improve upon the underdeveloped aspects. Most notably replacing politicians with citizens, giving the people the power to shape the country they live and pay for, creating a functional direct democracy. This system attempts to handle workings such as: Managing government employees - Researching projects - Building projects - Law Alterations.
A key aspect and perhaps the most controversial aspect of this change is the concept of total transparency. In order to have a system with no authority power structure while maintaining integrity and trust throughout, everything must be open source. In order to have accountability, online user profiles need to match physical identities of citizens.
Every post or proposal is permanent, there is no editing in the system once posted. Every form of activity by users will be logged in a feed on their account, voting, viewing, and posting. No direct links will be made accessible to this activity, this is to discourage favoritism.
All statistics with accompanying sources will also be kept and updated, organized by categories and keywords.
An account will usually come into effect once a citizen reaches the age of maturity, currently 18. They access their account from their own internet connected device.
All accounts will be password protected but once facial recognition or fingerprint technology becomes more widespread this could be an alternative method.
When users post or vote on the system they will be displayed as a number. Other users will need to click on the user number to view the true identity of that user. This adds a level of anonymity, removing immediate judgment in observing who has posted.
These are the main purpose of the forum. Every new topic that's started is a proposal for a change, there are no "General Discussions". A user that submits a new topic is known as the "Author" of that proposal. Every topic is an idea hoping to solve a particular problem. Some ideas may require many proposals to occur to fully realize an idea, these can be linked together by matching corresponding codes.
Every new proposal completes a standard template, filling out sections, achieving familiarity for ease of use. Proposals that attempt to manipulate the form may be reported and a posting penalty may follow.
Creating a new Proposal
Each proposal needs to be submitted to a specific feed. The feeds range from regional to global in scale, dependent on the desired reach of the proposal. This also determines which users will be able to vote on the proposal. A (max 140 character) explanation of what the proposal hopes to accomplish will define the goal to be filled out. This goal will be what's listed in the selected feed page with the other proposals.
Regional localities will generally not be able to create a law in conflict with a larger scale law, except under special permission by that group, following approval by the users at the regional level. These exceptions to the law are meant to be largely experimental proposals to test new ideas before proposing them on a larger scale.
Conditions for Activation on Proposals
Authors have the ability to add conditions when creating their proposal, these may speed up or delay the process of activating a proposal.
Should there be a need to rush a proposal, the author can post it under an emergency banner. Abuse of this banner may result in a serious infraction penalty. Alternatively, there could be a need to freeze a proposal until an accompanying proposal passes a general vote as well. Codes can be generated in the proposal, indicating another proposal with the inputted code needs to pass before this proposal is officially activated.
Authors have the ability to block any proposal that inputs the code from their proposal but does not represent the correct change.
Writing the Preamble for Proposals
After the feed selection and the goal are stated, the author may add a preamble to the proposal. The preamble is meant to expand on the stated goal. This is also where a matching code may go to indicate association to the other proposal.
Upon submission, the preamble is followed by a list of user comments, addressing the core concept of the proposal. The top three replies will be listed, with others accessible.
Answering the F.A.Q's for Proposals
Following the preamble, the frequently asked questions section. These are the same questions in every proposal, they are the specifics, prompts meant to reveal the full proposal.
Each question has space for a 140 character answer, with a place for an expanding explanation, should it be necessary.
The frequently asked questions always are:
Each point can be discussed independently and each question title will be accompanied by the two most popular replies afterward.
Official Templates and Contracts
Preset forms (spreadsheets and other graphics) will be available to every user who wishes to create a proposal that involves financial dealings or other legal contracts. This affords protection and legitimacy.
Upon completion of the proposal, the system will verify that all necessary fields have been filled. The system will then automatically associate the proposal to a list of keywords. This will allow any user to search the proposal by entering a correct keyword. The system will also directly tag any past or current proposals, laws, and links that appear to have similarities to the proposal. The author will then have the option to address each tagged article stating (in 140 characters) why this link does or does not matter to their proposal. The tagged article's along with responses will show up at the end of the proposal, a discussion may occur on each tagged article afterward.
Discussion on Proposals
This system operates as a fully threaded forum, meaning any post may start its own chain of replies. Discussion throughout the forum is focused on the proposals, their merits, and faults. Every post is an attempted enhancement to the proposal, criticism should be paired with a suggestion of improvement, keeping the discussion constructive and moving. Because of the F.A.Q section no post in question form is allowed on this forum.
Posts should be paired with academic references whenever possible. All writings should attempt to avoid overly technical terms.
Again, there are no editing of posts within the system. This ensures continuity to a debate.
Propping a Post or Proposal (a.k.a. An Upvote)
Every post or proposal made on the forum has the ability to be propped once by each user. A prop represents agreement with a particular post, replacing unnecessary congratulatory text. A prop helps determine the rank of each post or proposal, every post is ranked with others of its kind in a list form feed using the ranking order formula found at the end of this document.
Adding Amendments to Proposals
Authors may alter their original proposals by adopting other users posts which have acquired significant support from users.
This adding is done in hopes to make the proposal more widely accepted by the user base, increasing the chances that the proposal will pass a general vote. Because each post is a type of suggestion, the added post will overrule whatever portion it was referring to in the original proposal. Adopting leaves creative control up to the author but also gives the incentive to include options that may be a compromise to them.
When a user post is adopted by the author it will be displayed directly below either the preamble or an implication, depending on the section it's responding to.
When a proposal is ready to go to the voting stage paid system employees will rework the relevant discussion into an easily read report for voters. These reports include all heavily propped posts, official paperwork to implement the change upon passing the general vote and any connecting proposals.
A number of redrafting employees are assigned, at random, for each proposal. Each employee needs to submit within a given time period. Each redrafted proposal will be able to be propped by the original author along with any user who had their post adopted, these users will prop all redrafts they feel accurately include their point. The props will be revealed after the given time period and the redraft with the most props is made the official document, which then moves to the voting stage. All other versions and original discussion thread will remain intact for reference to voters who wish to review. Users that did not prop the winning document will have a section in which to voice their displeasure for the selected version.
Voting on Redrafted Proposals
This section provides information on how the public voting procedure is carried out after an official redraft has been selected. Advertising for proposals is illegal, so is buying or selling votes, these are punishable crimes.
Each proposal should begin with a random small grouping of citizens, a percentage of the overall population eligible to vote, this grouping will need to vote in majority favor to get the proposal to the next level of voters. Each level should have a voting period no longer than two weeks. The increasing population size of voters continues until it includes an entire region that the proposal will affect. This spreads the amount of proposals out the public should be reasonably expected to read. Every user that votes will be able to leave a remark on why they voted the way they did. These votes will be revealed at the end of every voting period.
For now, every proposal requires 71% Yes vote to Pass. As participation increases some proposals should require a different percentage of Yes votes to pass. A simple majority is fine for staff hiring proposals. A 61% Yes vote is required to approve a research proposal. A 71% Yes vote is required for any government proposal. An 81% Yes vote is required for any site change proposal.
Following the end of all voting periods, if the proposal was agreed upon by the required majority, a predefined period of adaptation will commence before the policy comes into effect. This allows an opportunity for judicial challenge and for people to adapt to the coming changes.
The databases will be updated immediately and shall remain in an “upcoming” status until the policy is officially implemented. The employees of every department that are affected by the proposal are responsible for making sure it's implemented correctly. Failure to do so will be regarded as a neglect of duty.
The System Workings
This section deals with resources outside the proposal decision-making mechanisms.
Access Points in Society
Spaces will be established throughout neighborhoods, utilizing the public library and school computer rooms, at first, to act as access points to the system. These spaces will be used in order to create or change account settings, such as passwords. The rooms will be staffed with officials that supervise and assist new users in operating the platform. The rooms will also serve as points where maintenance on the system can happen by the employed security experts. The rooms will be under constant live video streaming, any maintenance will be announced and logged. A 24 hour period will be given before new versions of the system are activated for users to check and test the changes.
Databases within the System
There will be various accessible databases for users.
One such database will contain the open source code of the system. Past versions of the system will be stored as well.
Another database will contain all existing laws by region. Users will be able to easily navigate the laws currently in effect, with the option to click on each element and view the entire legislation's history.
Another database will hold all system employees contracts, their duties, and salaries. Employees may be reported by users here for failure to uphold responsibilities. This is done to alert the human resource official of the department that there may be an issue.
Another database will feature all departments records, budgetary spending, policies, templates, along with current and past projects completed.
Another database will feature independent proposals that have been passed, serving as a platform to monitor the activity and track the progress of their developments.
A final database will exist for all the failed proposals.
Departments will be created by the users and anyone can join them. Upon creating a department, users will set the purpose and goals of the department. Any departments a user joins will be displayed as additional feeds. Each time a department gets called on by a proposal they can attempt to produce a result. They work out the finer details and publish them to the main forum afterward.
Departments are required to publish developments in their department and the public will maintain an ability to alter any aspect of the department through proposals. Departments may not use any assigned budget on their own unless granted permission.
An annual budget will be determined by users of the system each year. The process will involve displaying all departments and a breakdown of last year's budget. Each department will have a slider that will be able to be adjusted by each user. Each slider will start at last year's decided allotted budget, then dependent on how much the department saved or spent in excesses the previous year will determine the user's ability to set this year's budget. Each department is only capable of moving 10% assigned budget in either direction from last year. A proposal may be made before the start of the process granting an exception to this rule. An average of all input from users will determine how much capital each department will have to work with throughout the year.
Should the respective funds for a department be depleted before the end of the year, a request may be made on additional proposals with the knowledge that these costs will be automatically added to next year's budget to keep the books balanced.
Taxes will be collected in order to fund the system, much as they are now.
Infractions on the Forum and the Judicial Process
User posts or proposals that violate a rule of the system may be reported and could result in a time penalty from posting for that user.
These violations will be flagged by users who believe there's been an infraction. The particular type of infraction will be selected from a list. A significant amount of the same type of report will prompt an automatic hearing to determine if the user attached to the post will serve time. A jury with no prior connection to the proposal will be randomly assigned to determine if the reports are valid. This can be seen as the equivalent to jury duty in our current system, failure to show up for jury duty may result in a penalty in its own right. Once all jury members have been informed, a discussion will occur to determine the validity of the reports. A general vote is then cast and a simple majority will decide the verdict.
Should the post be found guilty, the post will be locked from any discussion and the user will begin serving their time penalty. Should the post be found innocent, the discussion will be allowed to continue, the post will need to gain a fresh batch of reports to go back to a trail.
Repeated violations from the same user will result in an increasing time penalty for each subsequent infraction until finally a full ban from posting will be issued. Though the ability to post may be removed, an individual can never lose their right to vote.
Breaking any of these principles will be considered an infraction:
Failure of System
In cases of system failure, emergency funds are to be released to a group of individuals tasked to restore the system. All actions will be put on hold. All previous laws that were in effect shall continue to operate by way of archived versions. Payments will continue to be sent through alternate means until the system is back up.
Proposals can add contracts to complete their proposed change, these can be construction, research, general hiring, etc. Any form of work that needs to be done may have a contract that clarifies who's to do the work. Contracts are generally for a paid position, in these cases, companies may bid on the job, these company accounts will be publicly visible and connected to the finance operation of the company. Author will need to adopt a posted bid in order for the contract to go into effect. The proposal will then have to pass the general vote in order for funds to be released.
Other Adjustable Options
These are some theories on how to improve the overall functioning of the system, aiming to create the greatest outcome while maintaining the order of proceedings.
Current Ranking Order of Posts and Proposals in Feeds
All posts in the system start with a score of zero, the highest
The initial setting of this is -1 point every 10 seconds. This drop time, however, is extended by users propping the post. Each prop adds a total of one second to the time between losing a point. Therefore, a post with 4 props total will now only lose a point every 14 seconds.
This creates a natural order and balance to posts, as an older
If however, a reply is made to a post, that post takes on the
All these numbers are of course adjustable dependent on the
Areas of Expertise for Users in Discussion
An option that may prove useful is to give users independent
A year after the day of your account creation you get added drop time limit for any post you make for that day. Your posts have more value on this day only. This creates a level of randomness to the forum order, giving additional power to the potential disenfranchised.
Auto-Match Proxy Voting
The system should include a feature which allows users to take a personality test to determine a few basic characteristics that are generally a good indication of similarity in voting patterns. After a proposal goes to the voting stage users have some time to cast their vote. Every user that did not vote will then be matched with their 5 closest representatives of the survey that did vote and the majority vote of those 5 will be the assigned vote. There will then be another period of time for anyone who wants to change their vote after reviewing their match. This enables for the greatest representation of the population which inhibits authoritarians and the likes from acquiring power.
Blocking Proposals from Moving to Redraft Stage
Should a post in a proposal more than double the amount of props the proposal has received, a hold may be placed preventing the proposal from going to a voting stage. At this point either the proposal would need to break the prop differential naturally or adopt the doubling-post, agreeing to have it included in the redraft.
Hiding Prop Totals on Proposals and Posts
There's an argument made for conformity, that once a post is revealed to be liked by users it increases the likelihood that everyone will follow the example and also prop the post. This is not a giant problem in this system as creating mass agreement might actually be necessary for proposals to gain any traction. This phenomenon can also be largely addressed through awareness of this reaction, which this section serves to do. For that reason, it is currently not included in the system.
Determining Area Range of Users for Proposals
In this scenario, every individual has their own individual localities. Their regional locality would be the closest 70 thousand users to them, their state locality would be the closest 7 million users, and so on. In this sense, there are no real boundaries just levels of localities that every user is part of and get to vote in.
Taxes would then be divided into the different levels of localities, with the larger population levels getting more capital to work with. As proposals pass within a user's locality their total capital on the year would go down. Each user starts with the same capital for each level but the total spent is dependent on the proposals that are passed in the user's area.
Preventative Measures in Case of Tampering to System
Multiple versions of the system should exist that mimic all
Voting in Managers for Departments
In the event the forum get's huge and there's simply too many proposals for users to realistically be expected to read (Even with limits on proposal creation) departments may have to create managers. The users determine the overall goals of each department and vote on the candidates. Once selected the manager would be exclusively responsible for making proposals for that department, based on the wishes of the people. New managers may be chosen if they are not up to the standards of the public.
— this message has no replies —