Liquid Democracy with Google Votes

so this talk is liquid democracy with Google votes and I'm going to talk about liquid democracy and I'm going to talk about Google votes then I'm going to be talking about the design decisions and UX we use to for Google votes as well as going into the algorithms for delegated voting that backs it all so in terms of democracy for the for the scope of this talk we're talking about democratic decision-making there's other aspects of democracy such as individual liberties or freedom of the press other institutions like this here we're focusing on the decision-making aspects you've got a group of people and they have a bunch of issues or decisions and somehow you want to aggravate not aggravate but aggragate democracy has has that that effect as well but you want to aggregate individual choices into group decisions kind of the options we have right now are direct democracy and representative democracy dimeric direct democracy is kind of like perfect utopia you know it's great it's everybody votes for everything you have control you have transparency accountability that's fair doesn't scale does not scale at all there's no way that everybody has the time and expertise to really vote on everything that affects them at every level so we typically scale by using a representative democracy system and and here again we're talking about groups of all different levels this could be city state national governments this could be the you know the chess club at your high school or it could be a PTA or a volunteer organization you you elect some representatives to who have the time and the expertise to to vote for you now this this leads to a lot of problems which is kind of the typical things we people usually complain about politics and that you know it's not transparent or accountable and that you end up with this focus on on the candidates these these people who become this focus of you know their representative they have this extra power people start carrying about things like you know does your representative have good hair and that matters you also get and as opposed to focusing on the issues which which do matter he also get distortions from the election cycle itself because elections take a lot of overhead and you get so again you get silly things like oh we can't make this happen it's an election year it's that's purely an artifact so liquid democracy is a design to approach the shortcomings of both approaches and take the best the best of both direct and representative democracy so in liquid democracy or delegative proxy is kind of the the term you'll see in the literature people can delegate their votes to others and you can you can delegate it anytime there's no there's no elections you just use a tool to set who your delegates are and anybody can be a delegate so your your delegates are often people you trust and you know or that people you know they know and delegation is is transitive and that if I allocate one person they can delegate to others and my vote can flow through this an entire tired delegation graph now you never have to do what your delegate says unlike representative democracy where you know you kind of sell the farm when you dealt when you elect someone to be a representative for example this is character in orange with the cell phone he's delegated his vote to the right but then for issue one you can see he's got a long arrow and he's chosen to override his delegated vote and and vote directly so it kind of creates kind of a meritocracy for example that the woman in green you can see a lot of people have delegated her she's kind of analogous to a representative and that she's gathered quite a bit of power but still all these people can vote individually if they want so liquid democracy the earliest paper I could find was written in 1969 by James Miller and it's quite a good paper it's only six pages but it's kind of lays out the whole foundation of delegated voting and defines the term delegate proxy even kind of talks about computer voting which is pretty good for its time I mentioned I'll mention two other papers and there's a number of others I have a kind of reading list compiled that go slash Google votes if you want to to find out more another paper is this but by James Greene Armitage which is you know voluntary delegation as the basis of a future political system this is just a really good overview of delegation and has a lot of background for different approaches that have been taken up up till there it's a real good introduction to the concept then also another paper I mentioned just because this is the paper that seemed to have the most details on like how would you actually build such a system and it has this concept of hierarchical forums which is kind of similar to the concept of tags Google votes tags which I'll introduce there are several implementations out there liquid democracy the most famous is liquid feedback which is used by the pirate party this is the pirate party was founded by the founders of the Pirate Bay who are you know not big fans of copyright to say the least and but the pirate parties have spread across Europe and their biggest success has been in in Germany where they've won seats in in the parliament and at various times in liquid feedback is kind of these issues and there are very distinct phases like you you kind of create a new issue then there's a discussion phase where people talk about it and then you freeze it and then people vote on the results it's kind of a full life cycle thing there's there's also some other products out there adhocracy also used in in germany it's kind of been used by some local local groups to talk to their citizens I don't know if it's really taken off as well as they'd like but it's kind of got a similarly kind of a wicky-wicky like feel to it I also ran across a product called net conference plus I couldn't even find I mean it's all about mentions in literature but I couldn't even find any screenshots much less anything actually running on this guy but I found a cool little book there's this Swedish group called demo X or democracy experiment that managed to get a seat on the suburb of Stockholm and in their City Council and they ran their platform was that whatever people would vote for on the online tool that's what they would vote you know directly as represented and they did this for a couple years and you know it was you know they had some success so it's kind of interesting okay so Google votes so this is mixing liquid democracy and a social network there's this concept that a lot of the reason liquid democracy hasn't taken off is it requires a lot of infrastructure to do it and that hasn't been available you know until now we're now we've got this type of infrastructure to actually automate these type of things count votes have better identity and such now given that I'm an engineer at Google and I work for social you could probably guess which social network I had in mind to to implement this on so the analogy I kind of think of is a an electric network so an electric network you got a bunch of wires and you know electric devices kind of plug together and an electric what network an electric wire can flow either information or power and if you're a USB cord you do both but social networks similar you've got these links and edges between people mostly they're used for flowing information so the proposal here is to implement a liquid democracy system and flow power through your social network and this is binding decision making Authority so my you know this Google you you write code so I'm like okay let's let's let's build it so two and a half years ago I started building a a delegate of proxy back-end and I've been working with workplace services doing running votes across Google Google since then so my goal here is to build kind of a live active delegation Network internally within Google within Google internal Google Plus and then kind of use that to get support to build this stuff natively as public product which I'll talk about more at the end this is just a bit about Google votes at this point we've been running it for two years 11,000 Googlers have cast votes using Google votes about seventy-five thousand votes for example the Kirkland Halloween costume contest hangouts t-shirt as was chosen with Google votes as well as the name of the troll cafe in Seattle also some products with a Google store and named a few buildings but by far the biggest one has been the September Mountain View micro kitchen fair and this is a product this is a event where about 8200 Googlers attended and we got 4,600 Googlers to vote based on this this event this is just all you can you got to see the picture in the in the corner in the upper right corner there it's you know they fill the whole football field for full of vendors and and then all the vendors kind of have little posters and QR codes and say hey vote for me and there are 25 categories of food so based on this vote this is that vote is actually what defines the 2014 Mountain View micro kitchen lineup so all the choices in the micro kitchens are based on on that on that vote so that's kind of all right that's our biggest success so far terms of delegation usage we've actually some ways gotten more than we expected because the big thing with building a liquid democracy system is having a liquid democracy system a decision-making tool and using it by yourself is silly you need people and you need groups is a very strong Network effect so we're like okay how do we get over this hump and get people to actually vote enough to make delegation meaningful and that's why we partnered with workplace services and have mostly been focusing on the basic voting experience making the UI polished and and making it you know easy to vote so you can see my my talk last week which was all about on the voting mechanics and the voting algorithms and you know again you can go to go slash Google votes and find links to that talk it's about a thirty five minute video still we had delegation implemented we didn't really advertise it but some people figured it out and in fact nine users out of 4,600 they started sending around delegation ads which I showed and they managed to get the nine of them managed to control 2900 votes out of 62,000 so we got 0.2% of the users controlling 4.7 percent of the vote which is like a twenty four times multiplier and and we weren't even trying really like the most successful delegate was an engineer in Mountain View who sent a email to the vegans mailing list saying hey I'm gonna represent you for for vegan food options you don't want to bother voting all these 25 things give me your delegation and you managed to get 15 voting power okay so now I'll talk a little about design decisions so as I mentioned a lot of the literature doesn't really drill down into how do you actually implement a liquid democracy system so you know he just kind of tried stuff and saw what work so here's the decisions decisions we made so first we've got the notion that there are that are issued obviously there's people and there's issues that's kind of obvious but we would with this concept of tags that issues have a tag for example the lunch issue is tagged food and delegation flows via tags so this woman sherry she delegated her food voting power to Lynn and he voted on the lunch and thus he had two votes for that for that day vote because the delegation she did not delegate her IT tag to Lynn so when Lynn voted on tablet purchasing he only had his own vote another thing is that power flow is all or nothing because you get this whole graph effect now there was a paper written by let's see I think his name was Palo Baldy and believed 2000 to 2009 and he described a whole system of flowing power through a liquid democracy network where it kind of had this exponential damp off and your our split and float as it as it went deeper into the graph I wasn't real keen on that idea I like the idea that people have to make decisions you know we want to encourage people to be decisive you got it so you do as you rank your delegates you have to choose that yes I want I trust Lin more than I trust this other this other care this other guy for food voting and then Lin gets a hundred percent of the vote if he votes if you didn't vote then the other guy would get nine percent of the vote so another thing that does is it makes the system more understandable if I look and see what happened with my vote it's very strange to explain to a lay user that twenty-seven point two three percent of your vote when this direction thirteen point four five percent one in this direction like what does that mean if I say you delegated to this person who delegated to that person and they voted on that you're like oh that means something that's an accountability chain if I didn't like the vote I know who to talk to so I like this all or nothing approach another one is that issues can be restricted to groups for example the hangouts t-shirt vote we restricted to RTC all then we also found out that there are a few like buzz sre and a couple of people who weren't an RTC all who wanted to vote so we ended up adding like buzz s re and Inc con server and there a couple other people are hangouts related and they voted on the t-shirt so obviously people who aren't in the group are not allowed to to vote on group restricted issues but there's this subtlety that you don't want power flowing across group boundaries like for example you can see that sherry the woman on the less left has delegated her vote to somebody outside the group and if we didn't have that restriction her delegated vote would have bounced back into the group again to somebody who could vote and that would mean that that person had like three votes which would include the person who's not in the group so we cut anything that crosses a boundary another thing is that for simplicity in the UI we only include a single tag per issue the backend engine includes multiple tagging and after we get to the point where we get some more even more more delegation user usage then we'll start seeing if it makes sense to expose that functionality in the talk on the algorithms at the end I will assume multiple tagging the more general case another thing is this whole notion of privacy transparency there's something I call the golden rule guten Google votes which I'll just read if I give you my vote I can see what you do with it it's this notion that delegation and visibility are complements so you see this kind of little example here where a delegated their food vote to be which means that B has to give visibility on their food votes to a it kind of reverses the arrows so in this case the minimum visibility that's acceptable in this graph is for is for a to be able to see that be voted on the team lunch but it is not necessarily the case that a can see whether it be voted on tablet purchasing because they didn't delegate to be for for IT and I'll note that the golden rule is only defines the minimum acceptable visibility it doesn't actually give the visibility policy for example the everybody can see everything visibility policy is in fact compliant with the golden rule so for Google votes we pretty much just employ it and implement link level visibility in the sense that if you can get the link to somebody's user page you can see all their votes which is why on every single Google votes page you'll see a little butter bar that says hey your votes may be visible to all accounts you know take it with a grain of salt but typically we only share that link when people have a delegation relationship and again that that's also kind of in the things we'll be doing more of as we need it if we need to implement that tighter okay so let's get into the specific UX experience of delegation again I'm not going to go into the whole mechanics of voting please just watch the video for my last talk if here you're want to hear about that I'm going to talk all about the UX that's specific to the delegation our first observation is that delegation is hard to explain in the abstract people are kind of like okay what what good is that but if you show him an example people like oh yeah obviously okay because people are kind of familiar with representative democracy and proxies and you know people voting for them so examples are good instruction manuals are bad of course that's just a general UI design principle and always another thing is that the delegator and the delegate have different perspectives but often somebody is both a delegator and a delegate at the same time so you kind of have to make the UI friendly for work for both both those roles and you can't use separate screens another things we look at the difference between what delegator and delegates want is we say we want this accountability which is kind of this we want well if you delegate your vote to someone you want to make sure they they do the right thing with it and you want to see what's going on otherwise you get there bad things a representative democracy where people get your vote and they do whatever they want with it but you also want to keep the process from being too too obtrusive because otherwise you start getting too close to direct democracy where you have to do something for every vote and then that doesn't scale in general the delegator well there's kind of this beauty of liquid democracy in that it benefits both the delegate and the delegate are the the delegator benefits because they know you know they don't have time and expertise to vote and they get someone who they trust to do it for them and generally they want to find people who they can trust to do delegate to the delegate benefits from liquid democracy because they get more power and thus more influence over over the world so there were kind of two approaches we could take we could say do we want to start with the delegate experience or with the delegate or experience we decided to go with the delegate experience in terms of making it easy to gain entry into the system because voting power is kind of a gamma fication aspect to it it's kind of fun to acquire voting power and we figured that would be an easier entry point than the the delegate one the delegate entry point would be doing things kind of like here are suggested delegates or ei I see you voted in this this way this way and this way maybe you're interested in this person who votes in similar ways and we're also planning to go in that direction but we went with the delegate experience first so here's how a delegate kind of gets introduced to delegation so they just voted and after they voted they have the regular share button which allows them to do share and Google+ and to the conversations and and Google votes has a nice discussion aggregation feature where as you're voting you can scroll down and see all the Google+ posts in one place that's kind of the regular share but it also has this advertise yourself button and it's thing kind of gives a little teaser that hey you can get more than one voting power who doesn't want more power so you click that and you basically make a delegation at a little political ad on G+ and you got to fill it out and tell people why they should trust you with their with their food vote okay so we send it and then a potential delegate sees this ad and okay well I'll bite click click on it and from that they can see they can see the delegates voting record and they can from there click on some of the issues the delegate voted on and see hey do I want to trust this person with my food vote or not so okay so they do they delegate and now we go back to the delegates view so they're there they're looking at an issue and they have some power here one thing to note is that you're gonna have different power on different issues even if they have the same tags because if people voted directly you don't get their their delegated vote and it also you depends on the entire graph topology to see how much power you get so at the bottom of every issue there's a little voting power button and if you click that it'll tell you exactly what your voting power is and who delegated to you in this case Vijay just gave us his is delegated vote so he's included in the list of delegates we call this coverage which I'll come back to and we get to algorithms another thing is this notion of accountability in that what happens is we say app if you vote in someone's name you have to tell them that you voted in their name and we do that with by sending them a Google+ post so right before we delegate to send that notification we ask the delegate we give them a choice because there's actually a privacy issue for the delegate here which is that maybe I don't want to tell people what I voted maybe I just want to vote and you know because other people delegated to me I don't necessarily want to share this specific vote so there's always the option of casting a personal vote which will only give you one point of voting power but it won't send notifications to anybody else or you can accept voting power and then it'll send notifications a subtle thing here is comes with purely an implementation detail but with the OAuth flow we got a lot of flack early on with Google votes because it required all kinds of scary Oh auth permissions because we're making Google+ posts on your behalf to do that it's an app engine app you get a lot of scary-looking dialogues so people didn't like that we got a few cute memes about that one but so we restricted it to where we're only going to ask you for Olaf permissions at this point so up till now people can vote be regular voters do everything up until this point until they click accept elevations on an issue at which point we'll trigger them through the auth flow and ask for a permission to post on Google+ so here's like an ad that I serve our notification I'd sent so as a delegate I see I see this stroke in my stream I see the little mr. mr. jingles notification thing and I can see oh someone voted on my behalf and if I choose to you know the good thing is I don't have to just accept it I can say oh I don't really like coconut juice and I can click on it and I can override their vote so here's here's my view of a vote that's been a delegated vote and you can see that the selections are all in yellow and it says who you indirectly voted to and you can just choose to select vote like usual and and override it also at the bottom you'll note there's it this is a Google votes link which brings which always brings you to your your profile page so as a delegate I can I can see what's been done in my name and you can see some of these things have votes that say like solid choices via and nia-malika with a link where I can also see the person I delegated to I can undelete from this page by removing them another thing is that this page has to work for the delegate as well as the delegate or so this page will also show if people are delegating to you and show you and show you all the votes that you've cast okay so now that's let's talk about how do you actually implement all of this stuff the algorithms behind it there's three fundamental algorithms behind Google votes tally coverage and power now tally is you know basically who won and including all the indirect votes that's all like in this case you know you see mineral water one but mineral water actually got some delegated or indirect votes coverage that's kind of your profile page it's it's what has been done in my name so it includes all your direct votes and your indirect votes then power is a very it's a per issue thing which is how much voting power would I have if I voted on this this issue it's kind of the oddball one tallien coverage we can compute together and with power we have to do a few funny things and we actually just get an estimate of power but again the two dialogues here we showed is that that we need power for is so you can see that your voting power on an issue if you you click the link at the bottom and also so that you can send a delegation notifications to the right people when you put it on there but you're half so here's kind of the object model I've been physically using this the same diagram notation but I'm just formalizing it here users are circles issues are rectangles the set of tags for an issue is next to the issue just right next to it a delegation is an open arrow and its annotated with the tag if there are more than one outgoing delegations from a node it also includes this number n which says whether it's that person's first second or third delegate choice and then votes are solid arrows for example purposes we're just gonna look at yes/no voting as mentioned in the previous talk you can do Google votes also supports multiple choice voting with single selection which is called simple plurality it's supports multiple choice voting with multiple selection which is called approval voting it supports ranked voting where you can drag drag vote votes and kind of make an ordering as well as range or score voting where you kind of have a five-star options for everything made and you can you can try this out you go to go slash Coogler votes and you it'll show you how to actually run things but regardless of the type of voting the flow is always the same so we can just assume that it's a yes/no vote and each of the yes/no votes is annotated with a plus or a minus indicating what type of vote it was just as an implementation note we store the votes on the user object and as people are voting that you don't get so much right contention because everybody's just writing to their own object with one exception and that's issues have a closing time at which point they won't accept any more votes and that tout the first tally that's created after the closing time is the final tally the thing that actually says did this thing pass who was the winner so after an issue closes the tally stored on the issue becomes the authoritative object not the votes stored on the user in fact if the user gets wiped out or deleted from the database you don't want to start changing changing the past votes the issue has to have this keep the same result so also introduced the syntax of vote paths so we have ABC plus 1 means a delegates to be delegates to see who votes YES on issue 1 I'll note that switching paths or switching tags on a path is allowed a can delegate to be via one tag B can delegate to C via different tag and yet still a has voted on issue one now kind of my logic there you could make arguments in either side for this but the way I think about it is that if you delegate to someone you're trusting them you're saying I trust this person to do whatever it is they do to make this decision now maybe they're flipping a coin you don't know you're trusting them with your vote maybe they're asking other people maybe they're doing research maybe they're experts on this on the subject matter but we're saying I said yes I trust you yes I trust you with this issue from then on to black box so based on that I said yeah they can choose to delegate according to a different tag as long as that issue has both the tags on it cycles are important because what we do is we allow cycles in your delegate graph I can delegate to someone they can delegate to me we can delegate however you want and it's all resolved on a per issue basis so for example an issue two here you can see that C voted on to be delegates to see you voted on to a delegates to be delegates to see who voted on – but like Ezra and this is alcohol kind of you got to see the algorithms all this kind of prefix thing where you grow the paths backwards but as soon as we try to create a path see ABC – it goes on you know you basically you know fails an assertion in the code even you know you you can't make a path that has the same node in it twice with a cycle and it works out fine because you'll notice that for example issue one also gets all three of these people delegating to it but they're they're different it's a different ordering than for example if both B and C voted on the same thing then depending on the delegation relationship different they might get different sets of delegates if if C were to vote on one if C were to vote on one then you would have yeah you'd get be getting a vote and then a delegates to B gets a vote so which is kind of what you'd expect so then as I mentioned before delegations are ordered which resolves you know this kind of multiple paths problem actually I think all odd some Q at the end but but please please keep your questions I am interested okay so let's take an example and I'll show how the tally and coverage algorithm work you know we've got this this this whole graph here and we want to say did issue one or dis you to pass and how did these people vote well let's let's find out so the first phase is we start with the issues and we call the kind of level zero is we take all the direct votes for so for issue one we take all the direct paths to it and it's same for issue two and then we just do breadth-first search going backwards important thing is that as we're growing these paths were not allowing cycles and also we're checking that the paths all respect the the tags so for example you know you can't do FD be a because F is delegating to Devia gamma and or FD be a one and when one is not labeled labeled gamma so you go back you backtrack and you get all of the all the possible paths for all issues the next stage is you you make a bunch of user issue pairs you you gather up it's kind of like making a matrix so that for each pair you have all the paths that go between that user and that issue this is kind of like a reduced step in a MapReduce then after that for each set of pairs you grab the best pair this is where we're getting rid of duplicate votes I may have different two paths to the vote through two different ways but I only get one vote now some comparisons are easy like in Rossi you see see voted directly on issue one and see also delegated to a who voted on issue one direct vote always beats an indirect vote so that's that's a clear winner there in this particular table there's only one comparison that's that's not trivial and that's Fe C 1 versus FA 1 and which case you actually have to look at the the delegation graph and see that F ranked e above a in their their delegation ordering so we could have used this very long obnoxious syntax that would have all these number signs in it but that just gets too early okay then after we have all the best pairs we accumulate by rows and columns so for issue 1 we add up all the yes note votes and no votes and it passes yes saint ratio to coverage we add everything in the other direction and we get for say user c they can see that they voted on both issue 1 and issue 2 as well as knowing exactly how they voted through these delegated people okay that gives you tally and coverage at the same time now power power is a weird one because power is saying how much power would I have if I voted I haven't actually voted on this thing so the information is all so now we're all at request time like tallying coverage we did all in the background with background jobs and we can do long graph algorithms there so I am a so as soon as a is looking at issue 10 you know we don't actually have an edge in the graph between a and issue 10 that's the tricky part so what we do is we pre compute something called potential for all users and then we use that to to make an estimate that is fast enough for request time now what a potential object looks like is that for every user we say what is their potential for incoming votes from that tag so for example user a is beta potential you can see that see delegates to a.f delegates to a so that gives them some potential and we also do this kind of breadth-first search backtracking to compute potential objects to give for example that F could delegate to e could delegate to seek could give a a vote on anything labeled B then it requests time we apply the potential so let's say a is thinking about voting on issue 10 another thing that's tricky is that in the background for for each user we don't know exactly who's voted on what issue because again in the background we don't know that there's a connection between this user and this issue so at request time we dig up the potential for all of issue tens tags note that we ignore the gamma potential because issue 10 is only tagged alpha and beta so we dig up the potential and then we look up all the users in the potential and we see if they still exist if they voted make sure there's they're in a group they are you're allowed to be in and we filter them note that you can't have a path that has invalid user anywhere in the path like like FECA because c voted which means that c already grabbed that vote so FEC and he already gave their votes to C so you know they're gone you can't use FEC a or ECA all that's left is B a and F a and we say your potential estimate is 3 from those two users and and yourself so this estimate has has some problems I mean it's kind of good enough in practice for people to get a an idea of do you know do I have a lot of power on this issue and it's worth me putting up a lot of effort because you know hundred people are delegating to me or do I not have any power on this issue it's it's pretty good but there's some edge cases it doesn't cover like it doesn't cover the switching tags thing because we're doing potential per tag so if it switches tags you're out of luck so so DBA actually is a valid vote a but since DBA is a tag switch from beta to alpha it isn't included in the estimate and also this whole kind of global best path Singh doesn't get covered so F actually gave their vote to C because they went through FEC a along the right side of the graph but a thinks that F is in its potential so but the the algorithms that really matter the most tally and coverage they do get it right there exact algorithms so the vote gets counted correctly and at the end at the end or you want to say what did I vote on what happened that is also uh accurate okay and I'll conclude with just a thanks to the extended Google votes team my co-lead in this is Greg Wolfe in San Francisco and the third main programmer is Leo Lopez in in Brazil who especially did a lot of the UI work right before the micro kitchen fair and then our workplace services point of contact Courtney Nelson who's been working with us for the last two years who's just talked a lot of customers and worked with groups to actually set up votes coordinate the timing of things and follow up on a lot of things she's been invaluable as well as other members of Roos who recorded coordinated events and other 20% core contributors who contributed either a code or UX design so um so thank you very much and I'll take any questions now okay actually I'll I'll pass the mic around for this so we can get on the recording so um yeah it's on so it you've got some really great examples of how this has worked on kind of one-off votes but we see from game theory that strategies and outcomes change pretty significantly once you iterate a scenario do you have any thoughts on how you would dog food deaths in kind of an iterate did multi vote with the same delegates in the same group sort of thing yeah that's been our kind of big goal is to get iterative voting and we're aiming for that with the food thing for though so as with the micro kitchen stuff in terms of being able to vote on the product and then as they have little tweaks for each micro kitchen to say oh hey here's a new product do you guys want to vote on this and then you get the same group of people delegating and continuously voting that's our our primary entry point to get into that space thanks couple couple quick questions is there a way you could see all of your consolidated votes that you've cast either personally or delegated yes just going to go /g votes that's this the profile page and in the bottom of any voting page is a link that just says Google votes you click there and that gives your whole thing so that's also the whole coverage thing in the coverage algorithm generates generates that view ok another quick question um is there a way you as a delegate tool to see abandonment people had their overrode your vote or abandon you not explicitly right now I mean you can the only thing you'd really be able to see is that if you look at the issues voting power at one point and it's later on it goes down then you'll know that people have either voted directly or delegated away from you you can also look at your user page and see how many delegates you haven't obviously if that's going down people are bending you we don't have metrics on it or like graphs or something so when someone creates an issue they could conceivably deliberately add tags that are not appropriate or deliberately omit tags that would be appropriate do you have an idea of to what extent this system can be game that way yes I've thought about this the whole kind of taxonomy problem in some ways the our current solution or current approach is you tagged it once at issue creation time and that would people look at the issue they can they can see if it if it's not tagged quite right we don't have direct protection against that one concept which I want to would like to build is something I call the no vote which is not implemented right now which is the idea for somebody to say it's not a I don't I it's not I'm voting no on a yes/no vote it's a I don't think this thing is worth voting on that I vote on this thing and it basically buries my vote because what happens is let's say I have a lot of delegated power behind me somebody else also has some delegated power but I'm I'm more trusted and I look at this issue and I say this is garbage you know they're using misleading terminology maybe they're playing games with the tags they've purposely excluded the options to take options that all just happen to be favorable to them yeah what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna say this vote should be buried or this issue should be buried because if I don't do that and then what happens is everybody who delegates to me all their votes go nowhere as opposed to what would happen is if I just ignore it like I do in a regular democracy system all those votes that that I would people have trusted me they've gone they go to someone else who's maybe less reputable or less thinking about other problems of the issue it's kind of one one thing I want to put there another thing is in like a public product there's this whole notion of how do you introduce an issue and find that it's trustworthy and I'm leaning towards an idea of kind of like a quorum or like let's say you have a group and you're doing a fully distributed thing you typical rule might be anybody can create an issue but the issue needs at least 60% of the group to have voted directly or indirectly in order for it to pass so then because otherwise people can just introduce issues have to people vote on it and it passes or is that me right so in this case also a no vote would kind of keep the issue from getting it's it's it's quorum and it would just be lost those are my thoughts in that direction you mentioned that once there's a tally it's authoritative and users can even be deleted after that point is there an audit trail once there's the tally even if users go away yeah when we have the full voting record including the indirect votes when the vote was cast we don't keep changed votes so if you delete your vote or if you change your vote before the thing closes that that's gone but the final the full paths are are kept with the self as a record of that deleted users as well right I know other questions just a technical question how do you handle conflicting tags like if an issue is tagged with alpha and beta and I've delegated alpha D to you know this person invaded of that person how are those prioritized is that ah so one case one thing I talked about the prioritization of tags and kind of those old number signs though those prioritizations are for the entire let me just go back and grab one of the crab kind of and one of the nodes here like like like something kind of like kind of like this but imagine that instead of both of them being you know one of them's food the other one is budget and the lunch is so expensive that you actually is tagged both food and budget because you got a vote on how much money you gonna spend for lunch in this case the way I resolved that is I use a per-user a global ordering so you actually did this number one number two thing is actually saying for all the it's actually per user not per delegation tag so yeah and it also kind of makes the UI a little simpler in the sense that rather than looking at all my delegations I look at a list of users and they say which of these people do you trust more and I got to say I always trust this person more than I trust this person and you're later on if we really really wanted to get fancy you could make the numbers per per tag but I wouldn't envision launching something with like that anytime soon any other questions okay well thank you fall for your time thanks for attending

14 thoughts on “Liquid Democracy with Google Votes

  • "The Pirate Party was founded by the founders of the Pirate Bay"…. No. This is simply not true. Stop lying.

  • People are still on this ridiculous view that Athenian 'direct democracy' dose not scale because they wrongly think EVERYONE voted on everything, that was not how it was done, they RANDOMLY SELECT a legislative body of the normal size we would have today, all citizens were eligible and just needed to self nominating by putting their name in the hat.

    That WILL SCALE TO ANY SIZE and it is called Sortition.

  • Yeah, trust google on this. After all they never manipulated search results to help electing Hillary Clinton.

  • Nice try guys but my edemocracy site is way better. Let me know if you want to see the beta. Thanks.

  • would people really trust google to run something like this?
    if goggle is dictating what information people can access they will completely own the game. given that google is really about gaining the maximum amount of power and money this is very scary to me.

  • imho liquid democracy == facebook without the cats.
    structurally it is doing a mindmap or a decision tree of individuals and groups

  • how do you avoid the problems of pressure or trolling on pivotal delegates as happens in representative democracy? 
    can you select/view delegates by their perspective?
    if so this is useful for people who want to delegate but poses a risk re trolling/pressure?

    i like the idea of having suggestions rather than just a vote?
    it is better to vote for a perspective than a person?

    if you do vote for a perspective you can get a lot of votes on an agreed aspect and different forks of votes on aspects of the issue which are contended and therefore needs more work/negotiation/change?

    eg the polls you have where you vote for an existing choice or add one.
    you could have trees of perspectives where something is agreed in broad principle with a few different perspectives on subissues?

    eg in Australia at the moment there will be a vote whether to recognise Aboriginal people in the constitution. I think most will vote yes. Good. But I think that the way the change has been written it could remove Aboriginal land rights in the process. It would be good to be able to vote conditional yes that land rights are not broken.

  • Not sure what that means, the ideas are very attractive to me for the reasons presented. In Australia we have compulsory voting and the problems mentioned of representational democracy, and it isn't going well with the latest generations of voters. A couple of new approaches like Vote Compass and lobbies of the social media type, that should be better. I suspect we are following USA practices of taking out their powerlessness and bitterness as online Trolls, but not voting – because we feel misrepresented. Not suspecting evil would be good.

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