PROPOSAL - Community Wide Voting / Referendums - People's Participation is the Essence of Good Governance!

in #growth-ideas3 years ago (edited)

Introduction

Last week I proposed an idea how we - as the community - could define what is right or wrong behaviour (post here). This post resulted in a wide range of reactions; Good discussions in the comment section; And generation of new posts by others (eg this post here) with further discussions.

In Summary my Proposal was to Establish:

  • Community-Wide Voting
    • on Hard Rules (implemented by technology on and around the Steem blockchain)
    • on Soft Rules (implemented by community policing and execution)
  • an associated Voting Method and System with a different voting implementation to the voting method we have for reward allocation and witnesses
  • a 'Committee' with 100% Transparency to the Community and 100% Controlled by the Community - this committee could 'lead' and/or enable the execution arm for hard as well as soft rules

I realise we have quite diverse ideas how a 'de-centralised' community shall be implemented:

  • from individuals who believe in absolute 100% freedom and choice without any (semi-) centralised control to individuals who believe (semi-)centralised control is a requirement
  • from individuals who don't believe in any form of democracy, to individuals who believe in democracy
  • from individuals who are absolutely ok with anything that anybody does and in essence do not regard anything as abuse, to individuals who are very strong minded what abuse is and shall be minimised
  • from individuals who are against concentration of power in any form, to individuals who are ok with how power is currently distributed with eg Steemit Inc and the top witnesses having the ability to control what will go into the hard rules and what not

Seeing such diverse opinions in our community, it'll be very hard to find common ground, and define ways that most of us can agree to in order to keep as many of us connected to our community to jointly pave the path for a bright future. But, I'll continue to try to find the common ground!

Community-Wide Voting

One of the elements I addressed in my previous post, I like to explore further with you. This topic is Community-Wide Voting.

Community-Wide Voting is an instrument that allows the entire community to have direct influence.

In political systems, community-wide voting is called nationwide referendums. Some countries - such as The Netherlands - use the referendum as an instrument for the ruling parties to base their decisions on, these referendums are for advise only. Some other countries - such as Switzerland - use the referendum to determine what the ruling parties shall implement, the results of these referendums are to be followed at all times, ie the government is bound to the outcome of the referendum.

I would like to ask you, your opinion on the following reasons why community-wide voting could be something that will help us to stay a community for a ling time to come, and maybe even become a happier community.

My suggestion is to implement community-wide voting for - at least - the following topics:

  • Steemit/Steem Hard Rules: features that are enabled and disabled on the Steem blockchain and the 'centralised' service(s) around it (Steemit, eSteem, Buys.org, ChainBB and other front-end applications to the Steem blockchain) - currently Steemit Inc and the top witnesses decide this for us: mostly with (some) communication with a part of the community, but for sure not with all of us and not always in a way all of us can understand the implications of a proposed change; furthermore I never seen reporting on why a certain decision is taken, and how many in the community would support such decision
  • Steemit/Steem Soft Rules: cultural elements that are not possible to implement by technology - examples: some have the opinion self voting (in balance or not) is abuse but self voting cannot be prevented by technology, since individuals can have multiple accounts and as long as we have anonymity implemented, we simple cannot prevent self voting since individuals may have multiple accounts or strike deals with others - some others might think all the self curation 3rd party services are abuse, but we have no way to prevent them by technology

The implementation of community-wide voting could include:

  • Anybody in the community is allowed to vote
  • Anybody is allowed to start a community voting process - ask their question - ask the community to vote for some idea, change or whatever
  • Vote Weight is independent from Money, ie from Steem Power/Steem/SBD some individual or account owns; the Vote Weight could be set equal for all accounts
  • Voters are - somehow - incentivised in order to maximise the participation level to the referendum
  • Minimum percentage of the community is required to vote to legitimise the referendum; such percentage could for instance be 75%
  • Minimum percentage other than 50%+1 is required to legitimise the outcome of the vote; this could for instance be 66% as implemented by many governments when it effects the basic laws of the society
  • Accounts for which we know they are driven/owned by the same individuals could be blacklisted for voting - In practise such rule will be partially a hard rule and partially a soft rule

I'm sure I may have missed some important elements required for a basic community-wide voting mechanism and/or the approach I'm taking for an as-fair-as-possible voting mechanism may not be as fair as it can be.

Any suggestions you may have, please share them. As with my previous post, I like this post to contribute to extensive debates and sharing of the different opinions you may have.

Initial Referendum

In the comment section I implemented a very rudimentary voting system, with a two basic questions about community-wide voting:

  • Do you like the community to have more direct control?: yes/no
  • Do you like direct control implemented through referendums?: yes/no.

The idea of this - mini - referendum is for you to vote for both questions 'yes' or 'no'.

  • Any comments you may have, please address them in a separate comment under the post or to some other comment, but please keep the two referendum questions treads clean; This allows a quicker analyses of the results.
  • It would also be great of the referendum questions can stay on top of all comments, so please do not upvote any of the comments made directly to the post. I upvoted the two referendum questions with my full power to give it a boost to stay in top.

You can expect from me I'll take whatever outcome this has, forward in my discussions with community members on Steemit, Steemit.Chat and Discord, as well as in my discussions I have with some group of people who intent to build a new blogging interface to the Steem blockchain, as well as to others I'm talking with who intent to create a new blockchain and services on top of it.

I'm looking very much forward to your participation, your votes, your comments, your ideas, your suggestions, your concerns and what not, with regards to the topic of this post 'community-wide referendums' and 'voting for community important hard and soft rules'.


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Do you like the community to have more direct control?

Do you like direct control implemented through referendums?

YES

NO

I would hope the Steemit team would take feedback on what features the users want, but a referendum may be too blunt for that. Some of these changes have subtleties. We know how some public referenda can go (e.g. Brexit). We elect the witnesses to decide on some aspects.

As for the 'soft' rules we have already established some conventions, e.g. use of certain tags. Those can be enforced using flagging, but then I know some people hate that. I think it has uses to reduce abuse/spam.

Whatever some may want the whales have the real power here.

Certainly, referendums have their drawbacks, but most of the implementation done in the field are straight forward with 50%+1 is the winning outcome, and generally no good explanations of the consequences (resulting in no clarity what vote is the right vote for the voter) and no real incentives to vote (resulting in low participation levels). I personally believe referendums can be implemented differently, in a way they have more meaning, some suggestions I presented in the post itself.

Some of these changes have subtleties. We know how some public referenda can go (e.g. Brexit).

You may be right on the referendum to be too blunt.

We elect the witnesses to decide on some aspects.

Personally I find too little individuals involved in the decision making. And these may also be a more or less one sided. Witnesses are generally Engineers. Talking with many engineers in my life, I know they generally think technically, what is possible, what is not, what takes a lot of time to develop, what not. Social and other non technical aspects may not be taken into account enough.

Soft rules: correct we have some defined and for the enforcement we have the flag. But, not that many uses the flag. Flags causes counter flags. And in some cases causes wars as we've seen in the past. Personally I think the flag as currently implemented and used is by far from effective.

Whatever some may want the whales have the real power here.

This is a true statement, but the question is "are you/we ok with that?". I personally would like to see changes.

Flag wars can be an issue, but I don't see an easy solution to that. Steemit was designed to be moderated by users with those who have invested the most money/time having the most power. In general I think it works well, but there will always be those trying to abuse the system for personal gain or out of malice. I'd rather not have too many restrictions here as the freedom aspect is a real attraction. Those with the power should try to make it welcoming to newbies

A solution to individual flagging, could be group flagging with trusted group members. Such group could get delegated SP. Then anyone who want to attack such group, countering a flag, is much less effective + non of the individuals have to use the flag and get counter flagged for those activities.

We have way too little amount of powerful members to be able to cope with everything on the platform. I also engaged with some of the whales who really like to give their SP in delegation when some good initiative is started to identify abuse and flag that, these whales will not do this themselves, or can only do a little themselves. We already experience we have to little individuals trying to safeguard Steemit and when Steemit grows this problem becomes even bigger.

It's possible to create dedicated moderation accounts that are delegated SP by a number of people. If those accounts have no posts then they cannot be flagged and if enough people delegate to them then it may be impractical to flag all those back.

Some will say 'who put you in charge', but that's not really how Steemit works. The users decide for themselves. I would hope that SP will get spread over more users in time. We have well over 100 with over 100k SP now, but the Steemit account still has far too much SP. That could be delegated to those who can be trusted to use it wisely. It's up to the team to decide who they are.

We're still in the early days and conventions are still being established. I expect Steemit will be a different place in a few years assuming it can get through the tricky times.

It's possible to create dedicated moderation accounts that are delegated SP by a number of people. If those accounts have no posts then they cannot be flagged and if enough people delegate to them then it may be impractical to flag all those back.

I certainly like such model! And such model may work best in my honest opinion.

aha! there is synchronicity in the timing of your post here -i just posted on a somewhat related topic.
upvoted and followed!

Interesting post you made. I'm wondering what you think of the two questions in the comment section. Looking forward to your votes on them.

Democracy is a good thing.

I tend to believe the same. Quite a few Steemit members think otherwise though, and really like to engage with those who believe in lesser democratic models. I hope I can learn from them.